A blog reader recently challenged me to create a nut-free, creamy salad dressing. You know I love a good challenge and I’m always happy when you give me recipe ideas and let me know what you are struggling with. It’s not always easy cranking out an endless supple of recipes, so I always appreciate any inspiration and guidance I can get. I first asked Julie if she has tried my beloved (nut-free) Lemon tahini dressing. The only problem is, she is allergic to sesame seeds as well, so that dressing was not an option.
I was totally stumped for ideas, until I spotted my bag of hulled hemp seeds…
Yes, hemp seeds turn wonderfully creamy when blended. This could just work!
Of course, hulled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) are nutritional powerhouses. Packed with omega 3 fatty acids, many say hemp seeds contain the perfect omega 3-6-9 fatty acid balance for the body, reducing inflammation and giving the skin, hair, and nails a gorgeous glow. They are also high in protein, and a complete protein to boot. This salad dressing has roughly 2.5 grams of protein per tablespoon, so it’s an easy way to boost the protein in your salad without much effort! Who knew salad dressing could be high in protein?
Making this dressing is also a total breeze. Just toss water, hulled hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, sea salt, lemon juice, and garlic into a blender and blend away. Thanks to the creamy, healthy fats that hemp seeds provide, there’s no need for a lick of oil in this dressing. I kept the ingredients very simple, but feel free to experiment with other herbs and seasonings if you want to doctor it up.
PS- You’ll be seeing much more of this Delicata squash. It’s my absolute favourite squash and I’ve been eating it like a crazy person lately.
PPS – I put about 3 times this much salad dressing on after photographing. Salads just don’t photograph very well with lots of dressing, but that’s how I usually eat them! Now you know. :)
Ultra Creamy Hemp Salad Dressing + Salad Recipe
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp dressing
I kept the flavours in this dressing simple to allow the earthy, distinct flavour of hemp seed to take centre stage. This dressing reminds me of a cross between a mild Caesar dressing and a Ranch dressing, although not quite as strong. Feel free to play around with the ingredients. I'm sure fresh herbs or other seasonings would be nice to experiment with too. The dressing appears quite thin after blending, but rest assured it thickens up quite a bit once chilled in the fridge. I've also included the directions for making this salad too. It was a great combo of flavours! The Delicata squash is not to be left out.
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
for the salad:
- shredded carrot
- roasted delicata squash
- petita/pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- hulled hemp seeds, for garnish
- For the dressing: Add all dressing ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. The dressing will appear thin at first, but it thickens up after being chilled in the fridge.
- For roasting the squash: Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. There is no need to peel the skin off the squash, as it's thin and edible. Slice the stem off the squash and then slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard (or clean and roast for the salad). Slice each half into small, 1/2-inch half-moons. Lay flat on baking sheet and drizzle with oil (I love using coconut oil), salt, and pepper. Toss to coat both sides. Roast for around 25-35 minutes, flipping squash half way through baking. Squash should be fork tender and lightly golden when ready.
- To assemble the salad: Add a generous amount of lettuce into a large bowl or platter. Top with squash, shredded carrot, tomato, pepita seeds, hulled hemp seeds, and the dressing.
- Dressing will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for at least a week, probably longer.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
I hope you enjoy this nut-free take on a creamy salad dressing! As always, let me know what you think if you try it out.
Everything about this was delicious. I included it in my post this morning:
Hi Angela – this hemp dressing looks amazing and so creamy – it’s definitely on my to-try list:) thank you for the inspiration!
I am in LOVE with your lemon tahini dressing. It is by far (and hands down), my favourite dressing of all time. But a gal does like to switch it up sometimes and this sounds so fun! I’m excited to try it out =)
Tried this recipe this week, ate it for a week and didn’t get sick of it at all! I love the dressing, has a lil tang and so much better than store bought dressing. Amazing salad, delicata squash has become my favorite squash. It is absolutely delicious roasted! =)
I LOVE this dressing! I make a batch and keep it in a jar in the fridge. It is YUMMY!!
I received a delicata squash in my CSA basket this week and decided to give this recipe a try since I had all the ingredients on hand…..boy, was it a winner!! Delicious mix of flavors!! I will definitely make this one over and over again! Thank you!!
I love this dish. Spent the morning roasting my beautiful delicata squash–my first experience with these–and they’re delicious. Made my dressing and put everything away til lunch. Ooooh. What a treat! Love the combo of sweet-ish squash with the lemony-cheesiness (nutritional yeast) of the dressing. Thanks Angela.
I’m having this dressing on my breakfast salad right now and it’s awesome!!!! I love how easy it is to throw together, that makes it even awesomer! Thank you!
Any ideas for some good herbs to add to this? Thanks.
a little bit of fresh dill might play off the flavours nicely?
I made this dressing over the weekend and really like the flavor but it’s very runny. It did not thicken up at all. Any hints on how to make it a bit thicker?
I really love the taste of the dressing but it seems a bit “runny”. What should the constancy be? Is there a way to thicken it a bit?
I have made this dressing today. It’s the best ever! So garlicky and creamy. I love it.
You have officially saved my life. I was so bored of salads…not anymore!!!
I LOVE this dressing! I added freeze dried dill and it was almost like Ranch dressing. I am going to play with adding dried garlic instead of fresh to get it a little closer to Ranch. I am also going to try to thicken it a little to use as a veggie dip. So good!
Oh my. This dressing is A-mazing!!!
Angela, my dear, you are a genius. So simple and yet so delicious. I actually came here looking for an Asian-inspired dressing and came across this. Definitely a keeper. Thank you.
Hi Angela! This dressing is delicious but, like a previous commenter noted, it is bitter. I don’t know why, but wonder if other fans have actually tried it and noticed this too? I can’t imagine its the hemp seeds because I throw those babies on everything…any advice you have is welcome!
If you add a date that will help with any bitterness.
I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! This was this first time I had ever made dressing by myself, and it turned out great :) My only alterations were that I swapped the garlic for ginger, and didn’t add and salt. I also made this in my mini food processor rather than a blender!
I just made this… I don’t know if I’m going crazy here, but it sort of tastes like one of the beef burgers my mom used to make. I mean, I haven’t eaten meat in years, but I feel like I just but a blended up burger on my salad! Not complaining though. This dressing goes awesome with the apples in my salad, very good!
IN-CRE-DI-BLE! I just omit the nutritional yeast, and it was amazing! Really happy I made a double batch right away! Thank you so much for sharing!
There was two delicata squashes waiting for me in the cold room for a few weeks. I was lacking inspiration on how to prepare them. Then I found your recipe. I cook mostly Indian and Middle-Eastern styles, and I am used to foods with herbs and spices that are full of flavors. Considering the ingredients in the recipe, I expected the dressing to be bland. But as it was a new recipe, I stuck to it and I am glad I did (except for the more generous garlic portion). It is soooo tasty! Hempseeds are not cheap to buy, but given their nutritional value and fantastic taste, are still worth buying. One hour after eatin my wonderful colorful salad, I still have the good taste of the salad dressing in my mouth. My teenage daughter loved it too. From now on, my delicata squashes will not sit in the cold room any longer. Thank you!
My husband and I are in LOVE with this dressing! The salad looks great but I haven”t seen this kind of squash lately. I will be looking for it though. I add dill to the dressing and a little extra garlic because I adore garlic. I just received my Vitamix blender and am going to make this in it tonight. I also just purchased your cookbook and am loving what I see. I just had to have a Vitamix after reading your recipes!
Thank you for providing so many nut free options! My boyfriends allergic and it’s incredibly difficuly to fimd vegan nut free recipes! We’ve just been eating junk food, not any more, :0)
I bought hemp seeds last week and just made dressing with it! The flavors mix so well together. I can’t describe it.. all I can do is keep eating! <3
Taken me months to try this out. This dressing is exceptional. I think I will be adapting some of my other dressing recipes with the hemp seed and water combination. Thank you so much!
I loveee this recipe!!! It’s become a staple in my kitchen and sometimes I add a little extra hemp seeds and use it as a veggie dip. Soo delish!! Thank you for this!!!
Thanks a lot for the Creamy Hemp Seed dressing, Angela! Two thumbs up! We had it over a version of your Big Salad since I didn’t have those dressing ingredients on hand. Even my French-chef-trained husband liked it, which was a feat in itself. Actually, I had a third trimester brain fog and forgot to add the nutritional yeast, which was why I made it (trying out nutritional yeast recipes for galactalogues after the birth), LOL. It was creamy and zesty. My toddlers said ‘mama, ça pique!’ so it was probably too zesty for them. I am pouring the rest into an ice cube tray to see how it defrosts (it’s an audition for a postpartum freezer meal).
Hi Angela, love your recipes. Where I live I can’t seem to find any nutritional yeast, only brewer’s yeast. Do you think I could sub? Does it still have the nutrient profile of nutritional yeast? I want to make both this dressing and your mac n cheeze so am hoping they sub…
I LOVE this dressing, the taste is perfect, the consistency, I love that it has protein and omegas, and best of all I love how easy it is. Thank you so much for this! How long would you say this is good in the fridge for?!
You are awesome Angela. I made a kale, chick pea, squash salad today with the hemp dressing. It was seriuosly delish. I am totally into having a mainly plant based diet based on your recipes.
OMG!! I haven’t made the salad yet but I have made the dressing a few times and it’s always SO DELICIOUS! It’s my go to dressing and I use it as a dip for vegan nuggets, veggies, or oven-fried oyster mushrooms. Perfection!
Since I can’t use oil at all, would the delicate burn if I didn’t coat it? Any suggestions for what to baste it with in this situation? Thanks so much!
The salad dressing is amazing, tastes like a creamy ranch. But I’ll probably use some other nut or seed since hemp is $20/lb a bit too expensive fro me to use often
This dressing is so good, it brought a tear to my eye.
Just made this. So delish! And so easy to make!
I never thought to use hemp seeds for dressing. It’s awesome. Oil free and so creamy. I love it!
Hey Christine, So happy to hear that you love it so much! I had forgotten about this dressing but now I’m thinking I need to make this soon. :)
I’m so grateful for your wonderful recipes, you have helped me tackle my MS from the inside out x
Thank you Meg! That means so much to me to hear.
I’m sorry to have to say but this was not good, it was an awful grey colour and resembled sand in water, I used a vitamix, then transferred to a small container on a ninja and then back in the vitamix, but no change.
Love this recipe! I add in some Frank’s RedHot sauce and it tastes amazing.