22 Oil Free Vegan Salad Dressings for Your Next Epic Lunch

by Alena
Dec 18, 2017

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glass of oil free vegan pesto standing on a wooden chopping board next to some basil, white beans and garlic

Easing your way into a plant-based lifestyle, you probably increased the amount of leafy greens and other vegetables in your diet. A nice big bowl of colorful, nutritious goodness can offer you tons of benefits – but there’s also a culprit. Most vegans make the mistake of drowning their greens in good old olive oil, thinking they could lose weight or become healthier that way.

In reality, though, oil is a highly processed food and consists of 100% fat, leaving very little to no room for micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. At the same time, it adds a lot of “empty” calories to your meals, damages your arteries and ends up as body fat on your hips. So why not try an oil free vegan salad dressing instead?

It took us a while to cut out all oils we were eating after we had already transitioned to a vegan diet. Oil can sneak up on us in unlikely places (tomato sauce, anyone?) and it seems like every salad dressing requires a good amount of this liquid fat. But if you really want to get healthy, fit, slim while preventing diseases, you need to become a little more creative. That’s how we came up with a bunch of our favorite oil-free vegan salad dressings that make many of our meals even more delicious!

Read More: Is Oil Good for You? 6 Facts to Know Before Making a Choice

When introducing the concept of cutting out free oils in one’s diet, most people struggle with finding nice salad dressing ideas. That’s how we came up with this article. Please keep in mind that we’re only talking about not using olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or flax seed oil – you can still have healthy whole plant-based fats in your salad!

The following dressings are based on nuts, tahini, tofu, avocado or even beans – all of which offer a lot more healthy benefits and nutrients than just plain vegetable oil. Read on and get inspired!

1. Creamy Dill Dressing

Tofu is the perfect basis for any creamy no-oil vegan dressing. By using spices and vinegar, it won’t taste very much like soy at all!


  • 1 12.3-ounce package firm silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • ½ tsp dried dill weed
  • ¼ tsp salt

Full Recipe: Healthy Eating For Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer (Amazon Link)

2. Oriental Dressing

This dressing is very light and works well with shredded carrot and cabbage. You could also use tamari instead of soy sauce here to make it gluten-free.


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ tsp minced fresh ginger

Full Recipe: The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook (Amazon Link)

3. Strawberry Sage Dressing

The combination might sound strange in the beginning but if you happen to have sage on hand, you definitely need to try it! That being said, you could also skip or replace this ingredient and just prepare the rest of this creamy goodness.

Creamy Strawberry Sage Dressing


  • 1 5 ounce container of plain plant-based yogurt
  • 2 large sage leaves
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 2 large strawberries
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

Full Recipe: Veganosity

4. Tofu Island Dressing

Another creamy favorite! The added ketchup and pickle relish might seem counterintuitive at first but it will give this dressing a nice little twist.


  • 1 12.3- ounce package firm silken tofu
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • several twists fresh ground pepper

Full Recipe: Dr. McDougall

5. Cheesy Pesto Sauce

You wouldn’t believe it but this pesto is actually really low in fat. The base are white beans which means this is high in plant-based protein and fiber instead of nutrient-devoid oil. Together with the garlic and nutritional yeast, you will get a healthy vegan cheeze sauce. It works great with pasta or just thin it out to have it as a dressing.

Vegan Bean Pesto In Jar with Ingredients


  • 1 cup cannellini beans, cooked (260g)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (42g)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach (30g)
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Full Recipe: on our blog

6. Roasted Red Peppers Dressing

The bell pepper along with the herbs and balsamic give this dressing a nice Mediterranean flavor. It’s perfect for any summer salad. Try it over millet some time, too!


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup white wine or cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp sugar

Full Recipe: Fat Free Vegan

7. Balsamic Vinaigrette

This might be one of the easiest dressings around. You probably have almost all ingredients at home already, so try it over your next salad!


  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp stone-ground mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed

Full Recipe: Healthy Eating For Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer (Amazon Link)

8. High-Protein Chickpea Orange Dressing

If you’re looking to increase the amount of plant protein in your diet, try this delicious dressing made with both chickpeas and tahini. It’s similar to hummus, though the added orange gives it a nice and fruity twist.

chickpea orange dressing


  • 1 can (400-425g) chickpeas including the brine
  • ½ cup (120ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Full Recipe: Win-Win Food

9. Raspberry Vinaigrette

Another fruity dressing perfect for spring or summer! It’s very light and rather subtle, giving you the chance of tasting all the wonderful foods in your salad. This is a very unusual oil free vegan salad dressing, but why not give it a try?


  • 1 heaping cup of fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • a dash of salt and pepper

Full Recipe: My Plant-Based Family

10. Avocado Dressing

Okay, who doesn’t love avocado? This easy dressing option is incredibly creamy and fresh, making it a perfect addition to your spinach, kale, tomato and chickpea salad. Try it on anything you want to make!

Oil Free Vegan Salad Dressings


  • 1 avocado – pitted and peeled
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ tsp of chili powder
  • Pepper to taste

Full Recipe: Veganosity

11. Creamy Maple Mustard Dressing

This simple dressing is such a crowd pleaser as it combines healthy fats from the tahini with protein-rich and fiber-rich beans into a sweet and savory toping for any epic salad. The nutritional yeast gives it a unique flavor and as soon as you try it, you’ll want to put it on everything!


  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp stone-ground or Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 to 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp 100% pure maple syrup

Full Recipe: Forks Over Knives Cookbook (Amazon Link)

12. Thousand Island Dressing

Here’s an easy way to include even more veggies into your diet! This dressing uses cauliflower and tomatoes as a base, adds dates as a natural sweetener and spices it up with garlic and lemon. Definitely something different here!

thousand island dressing


  • 3-4 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ clove of garlic (optional)
  • 5-6 pitted medjool dates
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp finely diced celery
  • 1 tbsp finely diced red onion

Full Recipe: Feasting On Fruit

13. Gingery Vinaigrette

Another light dressing version is this low-fat and exotic recipe. The flavors mix wonderfully with a hint of Asian cuisine, some sweetness and a fruity touch. We love it over mixed greens with toasted sesame and grated carrot!


  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Full Recipe: Fat Free Vegan

14. Raw Ranch Dressing

If you’re fine with adding more nuts into your diet, this creamy dairy-free ranch dressing is definitely a must-try! Using mainly raw ingredients, it’s very clean and highly nutritious. You will probably find yourself wanting to dip tons of raw veggies into this goodness!

Raw Ranch Dressing


  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp snipped chives
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

Full Recipe: Veggie Inspired

15. Creamy Beany Italian Dressing

Another bean-based dressing that tastes pretty similar to an Italian or Ranch dressing. We love that it’s very simple and still works its magic on your greens. Definitly a staple recipe for us.


  • 1.5 cup cooked white beans
  • ½ cup (to 1 cup) water
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Full Recipe: My Plant-Based Family

16. Curried-Almond Dressing

Are you up for some more unusual flavors in your salad? Try this curry-infused almond-based dressing using spicy ginger, garlic, mustard, and vinegar. It’s definitely one of a kind and will blow away any guests you’ll have over for dinner!


  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 2.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 very small clove garlic
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1⁄8 tsp (or more) curry powder

Full Recipe: Plant-Powered Kitchen

17. Blueberry Basil Dressing

Perfect for summer, this light blueberry-lemon dressing is thrown together in a matter of minutes and offers a fruity and sweet hint to bathe your greens in. We love that it’s high in antioxidants and the added basil is definitely an awesome twist.

blueberry basil dressing


  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup of basil leaves
  • Lemon juice from one large lemon
  • 1 tsp of sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • ½ tsp of ground sea salt
  • ¼ tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp of ground onion powder

Full Recipe: Veganosity

18. Creamy Cilantro-Garlic Dressing

Tofu is awesome in so many ways! This 5-ingredient dressing is super easy to make and deliciously creamy. Definitely another staple for us, even those who aren’t into veggies very much will want to eat more of them using this dressing.


  • 1 12.3 oz package silken tofu
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro

Full Recipe: The Starch Solution (Amazon Link)

19. Fruity Yogurt Dressing

Now, for a lighter dressing after holiday indulgences, this recipe uses non-dairy yogurt (such as almond, coconut or soy) as a base. We love that there are so many options these days! Try to make sure there’s not a whole lot of sugar added and simply mix it in with the rest of the ingredients.


  • 3 tbsp plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin

Full Recipe: McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook (Amazon Link)

20. Tahini Garlic Dressing

This version is definitely on the richer side of things! We prefer using this tahini dressing on our buddha bowls or other cooked vegetable dishes as it works wonderfully with broccoli, potatoes, pumpkin and legumes. It will win over any dairy lover’s heart!

oil free vegan salad dressing with tahini


  • ½ cup of tahini
  • 5 roasted cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • ½ tsp of finely ground sea salt

Full Recipe: Veganosity

21. Sweet Magical Vinaigrette

Yes, you read that right: this dressing uses applesauce as a base. Sounds weird? Try it first. Definitely a nice twist with the added balsamic vinegar, mustard, cinnamon and cumin. Are you up for the challenge?


  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp mild miso
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Full Recipe: Plant-Powered Kitchen

22. Black Bean Dressing

Finally, another dressing idea using our favorite legume, black beans, as a base. It has more of a Mexican-style flavor and mouthfeel which makes it perfect as a topping for rice or corn salads! We like that it offers a whole new world of deliciousness to veggie dishes.


  • ⅓ cup black beans
  • 3 to 4 tbsp non dairy milk
  • 1 tsp or more ground cumin
  • ½ tsp or more chipotle pepper ground or flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder or flakes
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (optional)
  • ½ tsp or more salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno
  • 1 to 3 tbsp lime juice to taste

Full Recipe: Vegan Richa

Have you been trying some of these oil-free vegan salad dressings? Which ones did you like the most and do you know of any other recipes you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

woman in grey vegan shirt with her hands on her hips looking to the left and smiling
Alena Schowalter has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work – currently, she studies for her Vegan Nutritionist Diploma. Alena enjoys ethical discussions around veganism, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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13 thoughts on “22 Oil Free Vegan Salad Dressings for Your Next Epic Lunch”

  1. I’m always on the hunt for oil-free salad dressing inspiration but they are so hard to find! This list will keep me going for a while ;) Thank you guys!!

    • Thanks so much for checking in! Hope you’ll find a new favorite or two on this list here :)
      Wishing you a beautiful weekend and hope to talk soon x

  2. Wow, these all sound so awesome! And many sound like they are so quick to make. Don’t know which ones to start with :) Before salad dressings always seemed like an extra hassle and I just stuck to good old vinegar and oil, but so many here look doable!

  3. Hi Alena, thanks for creating this article! I’m new to oil-free dressings and was wondering if you have to blend all recipes above? I assume so but wasn’t sure :)

    • Hi there Nina,
      happy you like the article! Some of the dressings you just have to whisk or mix with a spoon, other require blending – really depends on the ingredients and texture you’d like to achieve :) For example, legumes need to be dealt with some electrical help pretty much always!
      Best wishes

  4. This is by far the best collection of plant-based dressings I’ve come across on the internet or anywhere else, and I’ve been looking for a long time.

    Thank you so much for compiling these for your readers. Dressings are critical to success on a plant-based diet and now I’m feeling great about moving ahead this summer.

    You’re a sweetheart to have done it!


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