Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing

Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing

Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing. A delicious, homemade Creamy Italian Dressing that is vegan, raw, dairy-free, oil-free and soy-free! So good you will never need storebought again! Made with cashews, red wine vinegar and Italian dried herbs and ready in 5 minutes!

I don't eat salads very often, I'm more of a rice, beans and potato eater. However, I DO love salads when I do eat them and I love to load them up and drizzle on some amazing, creamy and bold-flavored dressing all over it. Most salad dressings are so loaded with oil, it's rather gross. This Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing will not have you missing the oil one bit.

This dressing was a reader request for her son who loves Italian dressing, but of course, consuming the oil versions are unhealthy. This one is not only oil-free, but it's made from healthy ingredients and all plant-based, as well as raw. Using raw cashews gives it the creamy factor and red wine vinegar and lemon juice give it that signature tart flavor. I added mustard powder, Italian dried seasoning, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, salt and just a small touch of syrup to help balance out the acidity. The result is a creamy, deeply-flavored and amazing.

It only takes 5 minutes to make too...just blend the raw cashews with the Italian herbs, spices, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, syrup, water and salt/pepper and boom, done. While it sure is delicious straight out of the blender, the true flavor is best after it has chilled and settled in the fridge for a bit. It reaches it's optimum flavor that way and thickens even more. It couldn't be easier either, just 8 ingredients (+ s&p and water)!

I hope you all love this Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing! Be sure to leave me feedback below after you make it and if you take a pic, I'd love to see it on Instagram or Facebook! Tag me #thevegan8 on Instagram, so I don't miss your pics!


Vegan Oil-Free Creamy Italian Dressing

Yields About 1 cup

A delicious, homemade Creamy Italian Dressing that is vegan, raw, dairy-free, oil-free and soy-free! So good you will never need storebought again! Made with cashews, red wine vinegar and Italian dried herbs and ready in 5 minutes!

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (112 g) raw, unsalted cashews (While I prefer the flavor with all cashews, for a lower fat version, you can sub half white beans and half cashews, but I would not recommend all beans or it really does change the taste/texture)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave (use 2 teaspoons for less acidic flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry yellow mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tbsp (+ 1/4 teaspoon to add after blending) dried Italian seasoning blend without salt or red pepper (I use McCormick brand)
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. If you do not have a high powered blender, then you will need to soak your cashews for 8-12 hours, the longer the better. Drain and rinse, then proceed with the recipe. They may not get 100% smooth in a regular blender and I find blending in a food processor (if you don't have a Vitamix/Blendtec) gets things smoother than a standard blender.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until completely smooth and creamy. I found the flavor to be perfect, but if you want more tart, then add a bit more lemon or red wine vinegar. Keep in mind, that the flavor reaches it's true taste after chilling, as well as thickens even more. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon Italian dried herbs.
  3. Chill in the fridge a minimum of an hour and then enjoy! When is sits overnight in the fridge, it will thicken up to the consistency of a dip, you can leave as is or add just a tiny bit of water to thin.
6.8

If you make this recipe, please do not repost it in full on your site, please link to me instead giving proper credit. I work very hard to create my recipes and share them for free, so please be respectful and link properly. If you are inspired by this recipe, again, please give proper credit and do not simply post it on your site.


49 Comments

  1. Can I use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine? Also, why the raw cashews? Why not roasted cashews?

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Joan! Balsamic vinegar has a different taste than red wine vinegar and red wine vinegar is the classic flavor that is in classic Italian dressing, so it’s going to taste different. I can only vouch for the recipe above, you can try balsamic if you want, but I have no idea if it will still taste good. Raw cashews are suggested because roasted have a very strong flavor and will impart a cashew flavor to the dressing, which I personally don’t like. I always use raw for this reason.

  2. Easy, flavorful, and I can pour it on heavy because it’s actually healthy–woohoo!! That’s the best part about homemade, only-good-stuff dressings in my opinion, you don’t have to be skimpy with it. Sweetness, tang, and mustard are the 3 musts in just about any salad dressing for me, and this has covered it all. Plus it’s so dang creamy! And I love the pop purple cabbage, it makes the whole bowl ten times prettier and more fun 🙂 It’s the little things…the little purple things lol 😀 Love it Brandi!

  3. I’m all about salads in the summer but I get lazy about making dressing (usually just splash on red wine vinegar and liquid aminos), but this sounds so yummy! I think I can handle the few minutes prep :-).

  4. This is such a fantastic recipe! I use mustard in most every dressing I make, and I love how you used cashews in this dresssing recipe. Plus, the touch of pecans in the salad is awesome, they’re a favorite in this house too! 🙂

  5. This is such a fantastic recipe! I use mustard in most every dressing I make, and I love how you used cashews in this dressing recipe. Plus, the touch of pecans in the salad is awesome, they’re a favorite in this house too! 🙂

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Heather, that is so kind of you!

  6. Thanks for the recipe and the beautiful presentation of the salad. I had gotten off of my salad for lunch kick. This will get me back on track!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      SO glad to help Cheryl, and thank you for such a kind comment!!

  7. My mom STILL buys gross bottles dressings…kills me every time :/ She just doesn’t understand how delicious you can make homemade (and totally customized) dressings is!

  8. I loooooove Italian dressing!! Especially creamy ones and this one sounds amazing!! We’ve been living on lots of salads so I’m excited to try this dressing – just need to pick up some red wine vinegar. Your salad here is beautiful – love how you loaded it with all sorts of yummy veggies AND pecans…my kind of meal! Colorful, fresh, and simple! Love it ❤️

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much my friend! Oh yes, those pecans were so happy swimming in that dressing and so was my mouth, haha!! I hope you love it!!

  9. Hi, Brandi. I’d like to request that you consider focusing some of your brilliance on creamy dressings and sauces that use nuts or seeds with better omega 6:3 ratio.

    While tahini and cashews are dreamy in the extreme, they can get the body WAY out of balance in terms of (inflammatory) omega-6s versus (anti-inflammatory) omega-3s.

    For those who are interested, I’ll quote some numbers … Ideally, we’re looking for a ratio in the range of 4:1 to 1:1 (roughly the same amount of omega-6 as omega-3). I consider foods with ratios above that to be recreational at best … and I prefer to consume them once or twice per MONTH (not per week or per day!).
    __________________

    OMEGA-6:3 RATIO FOR COMMON NUTS AND SEEDS

    A. These have extremely poor ratios:

    51:1 = pistachios
    57:1 = sesame seeds/tahini
    89:1 = hazelnuts
    118:1 = cashews
    188:1 = pumpkin seeds
    305:1 = pine nuts
    349:1 = sunflower seeds
    933:1 = brazilnuts
    2028:1 = almonds (GACK!)

    B. These three are better, but not great:

    7:1 = macadamia nuts
    17:1 = black walnuts
    21:1 = pecans

    C. Here are the nuts & seeds with health-promoting 6:3 ratios:
    1:4 = flaxseeds
    1:3 = chia seeds
    3:1 = hemp seeds
    4:1 = walnuts
    (And for reference, avocados are 15:1 …)

    So at a minimum, I’d love to see you include substitution suggestions if any of your recipes DO happen to work okay with any of the four above. And ideally I’d love to see recipes actually BUILT around them.

    Thanks for considering this … you R-O-C-K!

    L A U R I E M A S T E R S
    Freelance Editor | Precision Revision
    “I turn what you wrote into what you meant!”
    Laurie@GreenSongPress.org | http://www.GreenSongPress.org

    (Editor for Forks Over Knives, Cathy Fisher, Cherie Soria, Doug Graham, Alicia Ojeda, and many other amazing vegan chefs/authors 🙂

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Laurie, thanks for sharing! Yes, I’m very aware of the omega 6-3 ratios. I eat walnuts, chia and flaxseed and am fully aware of their better benefits. But, taste is also extremely important in replicating classics, such as this Italian dressing. I don’t use processed tofu or things like that to make things creamy, but rather use nuts or seeds and there is no other nut that gives the best result in replicating classic flavors than cashews. I wish walnuts did, but they have a very strong taste, and of course chia and flax don’t taste very good at all, so they won’t work in a lot of things. I also believe in a balance as well. I’m not eating cashews every single day, but if I want something to taste good and it still be a whole food, I will use what I feel produces the best tasting recipe, otherwise it’s not going to be very successful. I will see what I can do though in the future, thanks!

  10. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I like to make a salad using tomato, onion and cucumber. I have always liked creamy italian dressing with it. However I can’t find one without loads of oil. I’m really excited for this one. How long do you think it will last in the fridge?

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Jacqui! I hope you love this, so far it’s been a big hit. It should last a week! It will get thicker as it sits, but you can just stir it around well or add a pinch of water to thin it if desired. It is great as a dip too.

  11. My son has been begging me for an italian dressing that’s healthy. As we all know, they are mostly oil and I knew if anyone could do it it’s Brandi. This really has that rich oily tongue feel Italian dressing has with the depth of flavor and it has NO oil. My son tasted it before it went into the frig and lit up like a Christmas tree. Thank you so much. You’ve changed our eating life more than you will ever know and will single handed turn my son into eating salads with this superb dressing.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Yay! That makes me so happy that he loved this dressing so much Estee! Thank you so much for sending in that request! Wonderful news!! Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  12. OOH MY GAWWWWWWWWD!!!!!!……BRANDI!!!!!……YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE!!!!……You have sent me and my family OUT OF THIS WORLD with yet ANOTHER spectacularly SCRUMPTIOUS recipe!!!…….I absolutely LOVE creamy Italian dressings, but HONEST (and I am NOT just being NICE & saying “nicey-nicey” things here!!!), darlin’, THIS is the VERY FIRST ONE (in my ENTIRE LIFE!!!) that I have COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FALLEN MAAAADLY IN LOVE WITH……and at “FIRST BITE” too….NO KIDDING!!! (And I didn’t even wait an hour or more to taste it and fall in love as I have…..I tasted it STRAIGHT out of the Vitamix….I can hardly WAIT to see how it could be possible that it could taste even BETTER after the flavors blend, by tomorrow (if I can wait that long to taste it again…..DOUBTFUL!!!…hahaha!!)…………….Oh you SWEEEET THAAAAANG!!!!!!!!!……If you weren’t already married, I would ask you to marry me!!!! …….WILL YOU MARRY ME, YOU ADORABLE LITTLE KITCHEN ANGEL???….(Just kidding!!…..don’t get all scared now, and tell your HUSBAND not to worry either, cuz by now, after all my crrraaazy comments to you over the last few months, you MUST KNOW that I am just a crazy ol’ FOODIE and in reality am only married to FOOOOOOD!!!!! (DELICIOUS food, both my own and a select few OTHER creative (healthier) food artists like YOURSELF, as long as the food is HEALTHY and/or, at the very least, much healthy-ER!!!……Anyway, Brandi, you KNOW I could just go ON and ON and ON and ON (ad infinitum…hahaha!), but I’ll wrap it up (for now anyway!), and just say, BRANDI!!!!…..DEAR, SWEET, WONDERFUL BRANDI!!!!!……YOU ARE A DADBLAMED GENIUS!!!!!!!!…….THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU…..I can hardly wait to have our salad for supper tomorrow night!!!!……………Love and gratitude FOREVER (well, or as long as you keep cookin’…..hahaha……..Daryl (a.k.a., “motor mouth”!)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Ok Daryl, I absolutely died laughing at your comment! You go down in history as the longest commenter ever on my blog, LOL!! I’m so very happy to hear you loved this dressing so much, yay! I got your email and will respond to it this weekend, thank you again!

  13. Brandi this is a scrumptious looking salad dressing! I love using cashews as a base for dressings and sauces, too and also use it for my vegan cheese sauce and more things. Always impressed with the results. I bet the addition of mustard and maples makes this dressing a perfect flavor punch of sweet and savory. I’ll take a big bowl, please! 🙂

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Florian! You are so kind!

  14. Jo

    In the process of making the dressing….how long will this keep in the fridge?
    Thanks for all your work.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Jo! This should last a week, after that the cashews start to get kind of stinky.

      • Jo

        Thank you so much for the quick response. This dressing was delicious not only as salad dressing but also used the leftovers to make a chickpea salad (chickpeas, celery, sliced black olives, red onion and a leftover chopped baked potato!) It really went the distance. 😊
        Always refer people to your site and my husband also looks forward to your updates and that is really saying something!

        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

          So happy you loved it Jo, thank you for the feedback! Sounds wonderful on sandwiches, that is a great idea!

  15. Amy

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better looking salad. This is gorgeous! I can’t wait to try it!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      You are so sweet Amy, thank you so much for that compliment! Let me know when you try it!

  16. Tastes AWESOME!! You are my favorite blogger!!!! Everything I’ve made from you had been perfect!!!
    Keep it coming!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Aww thank you so much Maryanne! That means so much to me and I’m so happy to hear you are loving the recipes so much, including this dressing!

  17. OMG!!! I devoured a huge salad with this delicious dressing tonight!!!!! Sooooooooo good!! I snacked on it with some raw veggies while I was waiting for our veggie burgers to finish cooking (for the big salad)…I just couldn’t get enough! ❤️ You totally nailed the flavor – I love how tangy it is and it’s so perfectly creamy. I did add a second teaspoon of maple syrup and it wasn’t overly sweet, but totally balanced it out. I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!! Awesome recipe, my friend!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Yay!!! I’m so very happy you made and loved it Mandy! Thank you so much for making it and leaving feedback!! We’ve been inhaling it over here, haha! Thanks my friend!!

  18. Hi! I’m a vegan athlete 🙂
    Can follow me on instagram: @_alex_marques_

  19. I’m a huge salad eater plus a bit in my balsamico, salt & pepper rut so I really appreciate this recipe! I love that it’s cashew based and the mustard powder sounds very interesting!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Lucie! The mustard powder really gives it a great depth of flavor!

  20. Wonderful recipe as always, Brandi! I only had rice wine vinegar, balsamic and ACV in the house when I spotted this recipe, so I opted to use the balsamic, and it was deeeeeeeeeeeelicious! I’m going to pick up some red wine vinegar next time I go shopping, just to try the recipe in its original format, but I was pleased with the results even with the variation.

    I loved how thick it was pulling it out of the fridge…. the second time I ate it, I just chopped up fresh veggies and used it as a dip. Nice and creamy and satisfying.

    Thank you again, Brandi! Next on my agenda is that stew you just posted haha. I’m a Vegan8 stalker, I swear.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Wonderful Caroline! I’m so happy to hear it still turned out delicious with your subs, that is great! Thank you for the feedback. And I love stalkers (JK!) so stalk away, haha! 🙂

  21. Being new to eating vegan, I was wondering if you could give any suggestions on where to find the cheapest raw cashews. Thanks!

  22. I also wanted to say thank you so much for this site!!! This year I was diagnosed with RA and am totally changing my diet. These recipes are going to be sooo helpful!

  23. Absolutely the BEST Italian dressing ever!!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Madeline! I’m so happy to hear you feel that way, thank you for the feedback!

  24. This is so fabulous and just what I’ve been looking for! I am plant based and am now limiting oils. Looking into oils you see that they are too processed to add nutritional value and really only add to the waistline. It can be hard to find good oil free salad dressing, so thank you for sharing! I love your recipes.

  25. This is delicious! Thank you for working on it and giving it to us.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this Sherry, thank you for the feedback!

  26. Love at first bite!!!!!!! I have been looking for Vegan oil free dressing and this is it! I made this and used my Health Master blender by Montel Williams and it worked great! OHMYGOODNESS the flavor is great, the texture is amazing….thank you for taking time to post these perfect recipes!!!!

  27. OK. This dressing is absolutely positively THE BEST EVER!!!! It’s my everyday, for real. I use rice vinegar instead of red, 1 clove garlic instead of powder, a splash of dijon mustard instead of powder, and 1/2 tbsp of the Italian seasoning. I also add fresh herbs when I have them on hand. LOVE !!!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      So glad you love it Alexia! Thank you so much! I use cloves often too! I don’t notice any difference flavor wise, but the fresh definitely has more benefits!

  28. “Yields 1” – is that 1 Cup?

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Mary, just fixed it, yes it’s about 1 cup!

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