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6 of my favorite oil-free salad dressings

I try to eat leafy greens every day. It’s easy for me when I have a good dressing, slightly painful if I don’t. When I don’t want to make a dressing, I often get my greens in via green smoothie. Ideally, however, I make fresh salad dressing every few days. Here are a few of my favorite.

I’m including this Maple Balsamic one first because it doesn’t require a blender, and it’s one I often turn to when I want something fast. It’s really yummy on a fall salad with pears, apples, and nuts, or any salad with fruit in it. If you want to avoid maple syrup, you can make this Walnut Balsamic dressing from Dr. Fuhrman that is also really yummy, and will increase the absorption of nutrients in the greens because of the fat from the walnuts. It’s just that…you’ll have to get a blender out for that one.


Maple Balsamic Salad Dressing

Super fast and so yummy on a green salad with pears or apples and pecans!

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP balsalmic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Stir together and enjoy on a crisp green salad with fruits and nuts.


This one is so good! I recommend the whole Cobb Salad recipe but you can put this on straight greens and call it done!

Red Wine Vinaigrette

I think of this as the 2-tablespoon dressing, because most ingredients are called for in two tablespoons.

Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce or similar alternative
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-3 TBSP water
  1. Blend all together, adding water one tablespoon at a time until it's as thin as you want.


Creamy Italian Dressing

I often use this on pasta salad, but it's good on any salad!

Servings: 1 cup
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1/2 cup cashews, sunflower seeds, or blanched almonds (without skins)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp each oregano, basil, thyme)
  1. Blend in a high-speed blender until very smooth. Delicious on a green salad or pasta salad.

Caesar Salad Dressing
Prep Time
10 mins

Creamy, tangy Casear dressing without any dairy or oil.

Course: Salad
Keyword: caesar salad, oil-free, vegan, wfpb
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (or more of the nuts/seeds you're using)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 small clove raw garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  1. If don't have a good blender, soak the cashews in hot water for about 1 hour first.

  2. Blend all ingredients together in a small bullet or blender. Taste and add more lemon juice for tanginess, salt, pepper, garlic as desired. No alterations are necessarily needed, just personal preference.

  3. Delicious tossed with any greens, even thinly-sliced kale.

    To make a caesar salad, toss together chopped romaine lettuce, crispy chickpeas or sunflower seeds, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and the Caesar dressing.

  4. Best enjoyed immediately, or keep in fridge up to 3 days.


Cilantro Lime Dressing
Prep Time
5 mins

This is similar to Cafe Rio or Costa Vida's tomatillo dressing. So good on rice and bean bowls with romaine lettuce!

Servings: 6 personal salads
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium clove of garlic
  • 1 juice of a lime
  • a few dashes jalepeno tabasco or spoonful of salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  1. Blend all together until smooth. Add a little more water to thin as desired.

Recipe Notes

For nut-free, replace cashews AND water with 3/4 cup silken tofu, plain dairy-free yogurt, or vegan mayonnaise. 



Vegan Spicy Mayo

Whole-food ingredients make this incredible sauce that pairs well with "sushi bowls" or other bowls, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

Servings: 4 bowls
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sriracha sauce
  1. Blend all together in a high speed blender until very smooth.

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