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.
Allergic to sesame seeds! I feel for her. Not that I eat sesame seeds all that often, but there’s nothing like a good tahini/lemon dressing. It’s hard to find oil-free dressings that are satisfying, excited to try this one out.
A note on hemp seeds (I learned the hard way)–they do better if stored in a glass jar in the fridge. I went on a long trip this summer & came home to find my hemp seeds (that were stored in a glass jar in my cupboard) had worms! I was sad to dump a bunch of (pricey) seeds.
“It’s not always easy cranking out an endless supple of recipes”
Isn’t that the truth! But you do it so well. I often wonder if in 10 or 15 years what us food bloggers will do, after every recipe that could ever be concocted has been done, written about, & photographed :)
I am in love with this dressing idea!!! Well, and the salad. Can’t wait to buy some squash!
I can’t wait to try this! I love making my own dressing, so much tastier than store bought…thanks!
I became obsessed with Delicata squash last year, eating it daily!! So I grew it in my organic garden this year so I have plenty to experiment with – thanks for this delicious recipe, I’ll try it out this week :)
Ahhh so jealous…enjoy it!
Ooh yes I love delicata squash! And I totally agree with you on the dressing – I always take photos of my salads without it on first, because it just looks super messy afterwards! These photos are so gorgeous Ange! I recently made a creamy ginger dressing with chickpeas as the base (the link is bit.ly/19tfnE2 if you want to check it out), which I thought was pretty darn good but I really like the hemp idea! I might have to try that one next. have a wonderful Monday!
This dressing sounds amazing! I will definitely get some hemp seeds soon and give it a try. I am always on the search for a good way to make my office lunch salads more filling and add some nutritional value to them.
You know what, I’ve never made delicata squash! That, plus a big jar of hemp seeds in my pantry, means this needs to happen soon.
Wow…you never cease to amaze me! This looks awesome!
This sounds amazing for any salad! I actually just posted a fall harvest superfood salad that this would be perfect on this! Will try this for sure :)
I used this as m dipping sauce for your buffalo cauliflower bites!! Delicious!! Thanks to both you ladies for the awesome recipes.
I have to try this!!
thanks so much for this delicious sounding dressing … such simple ingredients, will be preparing this today for a big lunch salad! I really appreciate your beautiful space !
Now, I’ve definitely seen those squashes at the Farmer’s Market. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it (you said we’ll be seeing more). Gotta find some hulled hemp now…???
I never heard of delicata squash! Now I half to go and find one, that thing is huge! I love how you created a nut free dressing it must have been a challenge but it looks oh so good..
hah it’s actually very small (but the picture makes it look huge, I know!).
I keep seeing these squash at the farmers market and I dont know what to do with them. They look really cool though! Now I can finally get some :)
I think I screwed up the lemon tahini dressing (too much nutritional yeast maybe?), so I may give this dressing type another shot. Fingers crossed!
LOVE ME SOME DELICATA. I’m so ready to transition into amazing, warm, fall delights :-)
LOVE WHEN I HAVE ALL THE INGREDIENTS! so excited to try this angela thanks!!
Has anyone calculated calories for this yet? Can not wait to try this! Always looking for veg friendly ways to bump up the protein.
This is exciting. I can’t wait to try this one! I LOVE it when you have oil free recipes!!! Yay!
We have hundreds of pounds of delicata squash at our farm right now. They are overlapping with the last of our tomatoes and lettuce. Cannot wait to make this salad. I am super intrigued by the dressing.
This dressing is awesome!! Thanks!!
Love the idea of a sesame-free dressing!
Here’s a question that has stumped me forever- I’d love to make a rich, creamy vegan sauce for pasta or veggies that I can share with my mom, but she’s allergic to all nuts, all seeds, soy, coconut, and avocado- I’m all out of ideas for something that would add richness to a sauce! And, unfortunately, I can’t digest cauliflower (which was my other thought). Any ideas here?
If you blend olive oil and honey (if you eat honey) together, they will emulsify and froth up. I would definitely start out with an olive oil or equivalent base, and balance it with, vinegar and/or citrus. For some reason I thought of roasted and skinned red peppers which can blend to an almost silky consistency and would probably made a really delicious dressing. Also well-cooked beans, especially chickpeas, can add to the creaminess factor. I haven’t tried most of these, I’m just sharing ideas! There are many various food allergies within my family as well. Good luck!
Those are great ideas, C!
I would also suggest blending butternut squash – I have a butternut squash “mac and cheese” sauce that is great served warm over roasted veggies. Also, check my 5 ingredient cheese sauce too. I’ll keep thinking…
Try the recipe at the end of this WSJ article! Vegan carbonara…swoon.
A vegan pesto is my pasta topping of choice. I blend any combination of basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, olive oil, garlic and salt that I happen to have on hand. You mention above that she’s allergic to seeds, but does this apply to vegetable seeds too, such as squash or pumpkin? I use raw pumpkin seeds in pesto all the time. And you can also dry seeds from butternut or other squash, grind them to a powder, and use it to thicken sauces.
Salads just don’t photograph very well with lots of dressing – oh you are so right about that! Seriously a tiny tiny bit of oil or dressing is all they need. Any more, they look like a gloppy mess. But like you, I prefer to eat them when they are the later :)
And I love roasting delicata as opposed to say butternut b.c you don’t have to peel them and they’re softer and less of a hazard to hack into! Pinned!
I am SO with you on the squash, I love it!! Also, who would have thought, hemp seeds!?
Wow! That looks face-plantable. :) I’ve eaten that squash before and LOVED it, but never knew the name or what it actually looked like in the store so thank you for sharing and enlightening me!! Since I’m new-ish to the vegan way of life, I haven’t yet experimented with hemp. I’ll have to get off my duff and get some next time I’m at the store. :)
this looks so delish! i’ve been using nutritional yeast more & i really like the flavor that it gives certain things. i bet it works well in this dressing!
This dressing sounds divine, I can’t wait to try it! I must also know where you got that gorgeous plate!
Thanks, it’s from Anthro :)
Scrummy! I’m fairly new to hemp seeds but love them. They’re great for blending into smoothies and sauces as they’re so creamy but don’t need soaking like cashews.
What is it about roasted squash that is so darn good. I think I could probably eat a whole squash in one sitting like that!
I love delicata and hemp seed dressing. So creamy and delicious :)
This looks sooo good! Now to find hemp seeds in New Zealand… They’re not allowed to be sold as a food for humans here, and so people sell them as “Food Grade Animal Feed” which cracks me up slightly, but also makes me a bit concerned about the restrictions we have… Anyway, looks like a killer recipe!
Hemp seed dressing– love! I can’t wait to try it! I have a client with many food allergies (but she can have hemp seeds) and I’ve been looking for a creamy, non-soy dressing.
I had no idea hemp seeds could be made into a creamy dressing – this looks delicious! I just tried delicata squash for the first time last year and I really liked it too. The again, I haven’t met a winter squash I don’t like. ;)
mmm sounds good! I would have thought maybe a bean or an avocado base? hemp seeds are a great idea though. And I’ve never had delicata squash either! I don’t know why…I should definitely get some!
Looks yum! I love the salad recipes you have been posting lately :)
I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your site and everything on it! I can’t get enough of your recipes and give your website to everyone! Everything I’ve tried is EXCELLENT, easy and so nourishing. Your story, approach, authenticity and variety is amazing. And as a fellow photography enthusiast, your pictures of food are to die for! It’s such a joy to see what you come up with and how you share it. I’m in the business of having people feel Sextacular (R) being their sexiest selves – right now, exactly as they are in a healthy way. Food is a big topic and I give your site to everyone! Thank you for what you do! Spectacular!!!!
Do you think the dressing would turn out without a high speed blender? Would lve a Vitamix one day, but it’s not in the cards anytime soon.
+1!!!…NO Vitamix or Blentec budget capabilities at present…Could one possibly use a stick immersion blender…or a food processor?…LOVE my hemp seeds!!!
I soaked the 1/2 cup hemp seeds in 1/2 cup boiling water first- then it eventually blended creamy in my regular blender.
Thanks so much for this! I have a bag of hemp seeds that needs using up, so this is the perfect recipe! The dressing would also spice up my work lunches :)
Also thanks to the commenter who recommended that hemp seeds be stored in the fridge!
Sounds amazing – can’t wait to try it. I’d been having some problems with salad dressings because of how many of the ingredients I can’t have. Gotta get some of the ingredients that go in this first – Amazon here I come – but it sounds like it is exactly what I’m looking for!
I never get tired of hemp dressings and this one looks simply delicious, thanks!
Oh my – that is genuis! Must try :-)
Hi Angela – thank you so much for this dressing idea. I can’t wait to try it! How about another challenge? I had a sunflower seed hemp crusted pizza (no dairy, of course!) at a raw foods cafe’ in Austin, TX not too long ago. I was skeptical, but it was so good! Any ideas on an at home version? Thanks again – your recipes are the best!
I hadn’t ever tried a delicata squash but after seeing this post, I snagged one at the farmers market! I had this for dinner today and it was so yummy! Not to mention how easy delicata is to prep vs butternut (which I love but HATE cutting and peeling…i swear I’m gonna lose a finger one of these days…)
Angela, I’ve been prepping this salad for tomorrow. My dressing is good but turned out a tad bitter. Could it be the garlic or the nutritional yeast? It’s also my first time to try out hemp seeds.
Thanks! And I can’t wait to order your book.
Thank you so much for your amazing recipes. You have no idea how you have helped me with a complete dietary change. Your pictures and recipes helped me see and taste that vegan is doable and enjoyable. I cannot eat wheat also and your recipes have been phenomenal. I am so excited to make soups again with this Fall weather starting. Your carrot soup is a staple in our home. Thank you again for all your hard work to make these recipes so yummy.
I do have a question? Your delicata squash salad bowl is beautiful. I am looking for that bowl and cannot find it. Would you be able to tell me where to get that please?
Got some mixed greens and delicata in my CSA basket this morning so I made this for diner. I also added some roasted beets. Delicious! I looove delicata.
Best dressing I have ever tasted!! In love! So happy I found this recipe :)
Hi Gwen, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! :) Thanks for letting me know.
I love your website and that you are local to where I live and work! I am allergic to nutritional yeast and it is in a lot of your recipes. Any ideas for a replacement? Thanks :)
First of all, delicata squash is my new FAVORITE!!!!!!!! The flavor is really unbeatable and I love being able to eat the skin. (Added benefit=no getting my knife stuck in The middle of it while trying to cut it, like some other squashes….ahem, spaghetti squash, I’m lookin at you!)
Second of all, this hemp dressing is also my new FAVORITE….creamy and delicious, it’s a nice break from all the tahini based dressings I usually make. Thank you for sharing, as always!!!!:-D
This dressing is AMAZING. I made it yesterday and I’ve been eating it over greens with roasted beets – the creamy garlickiness is soooooo amazing with the sweetness of the beets. Thanks so much for sharing, this has definitely been added to my go-to quick meals!
I’m putting together a printable list of oil-free salad dressings. This dressing came recommended by one of my readers. I was wondering if you would be okay with my including just the dressing portion of this recipe on the list, of course with credit to you. Thanks!
Just made this for my lunches this week and I must say this is a winner! Love the dressing and the delicate squash is delish.
Hey there! Really loving this website here in the UK!!! Quick question about the dressing – can I also use hemp seed that are still in there shell? I bought them like that and am not sure how to ‘unhull’ them….. Cheers from Scotland :-)
Hey Victoria, I don’t know how to unhull them either and I definitely wouldn’t use them unhulled in this dressing! Might be able to find out how on Google? Good luck