This vegan Thousand Island Oil-Free Dressing is creamy, flavorful and much healthier than store-bought varieties. Now you can have that classic dressing without all the unnecessary ingredients.
Thousand Island Dressing is my all-time favorite dressing. It’s rich, creamy, tangy, sweet & spicy. It goes well on almost any salad, sandwiches, fries and it even makes a great dip. It’s so easy to make at home, so I created this vegan Thousand Island Oil-Free Dressing.
Back in the day, I wouldn’t even think twice about buying the popular store-bought brands, but over the years, I started to learn what was in that bottle of “goodness”. Even before going vegan, I started to pay attention to nutrition labels on bottled dressing and I was horrified. Take a look at the ingredients for this well-known brand:
INGREDIENTS: SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, SUGAR, SOUR PICKLE RELISH [CUCUMBERS, VINEGAR, SALT, WATER, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, ALUMINUM SULFATE, TURMERIC (COLOR)], DISTILLED VINEGAR, TOMATO PASTE, SALT. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: EGG YOLK, PROPYLENE GLYCOL ALGINATE, SPICES, ONION POWDER, XANTHAN GUM, NATURAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY).
Horrifying, isn’t it? I couldn’t believe that they seriously had propylene glycol in there. Well, this sparked me to start making my own. I learned how easy it was, because it’s primarily just made up of condiments.
Typically, Thousand Island Dressing is made with ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, spices and sometimes egg. Back then, I did use egg in my homemade version, but after going vegan, I realized it never needed it. So I just began using the typical condiments and spices without the cruelty. Easy-peasy!
After a while, I wasn’t happy with just dumping condiments on my salad anymore. I wanted to keep the classic flavors of Thousand Island Dressing, but make it more nutritious.
Instead of mayo, I used cashews and almond milk for the creamy, rich texture we all love. They will also provide some protein, vitamins & minerals to the mix. Instead of ketchup, I used sun-dried tomatoes for that tangy tomato-y flavor. You’ll also get a dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, Iron and more. Sounds like a nice exchange, huh?
I really love sweet relish in this dressing, so I used an organic store-bought variety. It just adds a nice zing and sweetness that I can’t seem to replicate.
To complete this batch of loveliness, I added fresh lemon juice, a dash of pure maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, dill, sea salt & fresh ground pepper. I made this dressing oil-free because it doesn’t really need it. However, feel free to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the mix, if preferred.
Once you make this homemade version of Vegan Thousand Island Oil-Free Dressing, you’ll probably never buy store-bought again. You’ll be saving money and loads of unnecessary ingredients. Plus, this dressing only takes about 15 minutes to make, so you’ll be saving lots of time.
*Note: This doesn’t include the time for soaking the cashews, which is about 2-4 hours (or overnight). Soaking them creates a creamy & smooth consistency in many recipes. I just put them in water and pop them in the fridge overnight to make it a breeze the next day. If you have a high-powered blender, you could skip the soaking all together and the dressing will still be creamy. Personally, I still like to soak them, because it releases more nutrients and make the cashews more digestible. If you don’t have a high-powered blender and you forgot to soak the cashews, don’t fret, just boil some water, pour over cashews and cover for 20-30 minutes.
So, are you ready to bring this vegan Thousand Island Oil-Free Dressing into your home? I promise you won’t regret it. It has all the classic flavors we love, but with a much healthier twist. Let’s do this!
- 1/3 cup raw cashews , soaked in water 2-4 hours (*See note)
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to rehydrate)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any plant-based milk) (*See note)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (or preferred salt), more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Fresh ground pepper , to taste
- 1/4 cup sweet relish
Rinse cashews and discard soak water. Place in blender.
Drain soaked sun-dried tomatoes and place in blender.
Add almond milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, spices, salt & pepper. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Scrape down sides as needed. Taste for seasoning and add as needed.
Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the sweet relish. Serve immediately or store in fridge for 5-7 days. Enjoy!
*Cashews: I put them in water and pop them in the fridge overnight to make it a breeze the next day. If you have a high-powered blender, you could skip the soaking all together and the dressing will still be creamy. Personally, I still like to soak them, because it releases more nutrients and make the cashews more digestible. If you don't have a high-powered blender and you forgot to soak the cashews, don't fret, just boil some water, pour over cashews and cover for 20-30 minutes.
*If you don't have unsweetened almond milk (or other varieties) you can use filtered water instead. The dressing will be slightly thinner, but still creamy and delicious.
*Prep time doesn't include the soaking time for the cashews.
If you are interested in more heathy recipes, you might like this Avocado, Black Bean & Corn Salad w/ Cilantro-Lime Dressing. It’s hearty, healthy and oh-so delicious!
If you make this Thousand Island Dressing, or one of my other recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me, Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs.
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