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. :)
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.