Five DIY Dressings from our Test Kitchen
#1 Creamy Sesame Dressing
Combine in a blender: ½ cup tahini, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. With the blender running on medium speed, slowly pour in ⅓ cup warm water. Makes about 1 cup. Dress it up: Creamy Sesame Dressing is an excellent addition to a hearty, main dish salad. Try baby kale or a peppery mix that includes baby mustard greens and arugula, then top with sliced radishes, shredded carrots, mandarin orange segments, toasted almonds, and pan-fried tofu. It’s not just for salad: This dressing is also perfect for a soba noodle bowl, used as a dipping sauce with spring rolls, or poured inside the hollow of a halved avocado.
#2 Vegan Ranch Dressing
Combine in a blender: ⅓ cup Vegenaise®, ⅓ cup vegan sour cream, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Blend until smooth and transfer to a small bowl. Stir in: 2 tablespoons each chopped dill, chives, and parsley. Taste and add more salt or vinegar if desired. Makes about ¾ cup. Dress it up: Vegan Ranch Dressing is thick and hearty, so it deserves a robust salad to go with it. Try a simple chopped salad—sturdy greens like romaine and cabbage, chopped cucumber and tomato, chunks of avocado, roasted chickpeas, and red onion slices. It’s not just for salad: This is the dressing for a veggie platter—set out baby carrots, cauliflower florets, bell pepper strips, and celery sticks as an after school snack for your kids, then watch a mountain of veggies disappear after being dunked in this utterly delicious, completely plant-based dressing.
#3 Vegan Caesar Dressing
Combine in a blender: ¼ cup cashews that have soaked for 1 hour in warm water then drained, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon capers with brine. With the blender running, add 1 tablespoon water. Makes about ⅔ cup. Dress it up: If you thought being vegan meant giving up salty, delicious caesar salad, think again! For a new-school variation on the classic caesar, halve romaine hearts and grill briefly over a hot fire or in a hot grill pan just long enough to bring out those mighty grill marks. Then serve with toasted croutons and Vegan Caesar Dressing. If you like, top with your favorite vegan parmesan or sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s not just for salad: The next time you roast a batch of veggies, toss them with a few tablespoons of Vegan Caesar Dressing. Roasted broccoli is especially great with this zingy addition.
#4 Thai Coconut Dressing
Combine in a blender: ½ cup canned coconut milk (use the thicker coconut cream that rises to the top of the can), 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 serrano or Thai chili, stemmed and seeded, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 garlic clove, and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Taste and add more salt if needed. Makes about ¾ cup. Dress it up: Thai salads are all about intense flavors and lots of texture. Cut tempeh into strips, toss with a little of the coconut dressing, and roast until browned. Toss the tempeh with tons of fresh herbs (in particular mint, cilantro, and chives), chopped peanuts, grapefruit segments, chopped cucumber, and grated carrot. Drizzle with Thai Coconut Dressing just before serving. It’s not just for salad: This dressing also makes a killer condiment for a rice noodle bowl or as the sauce for a simple vegetable curry. The next time you grill tofu or tempeh, opt for this sauce instead of the usual peanut dipping sauce.
#5 Green Goddess Dressing
Combine in a blender: ½ cup plain non-dairy yogurt, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, packed ¼ cup each parsley, chives, and cilantro, 1 garlic clove, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Taste and add more salt if needed. Makes about 1 cup. Dress it up: Green Goddess Dressing is creamy but still light enough for more delicate greens like butter lettuce. You can also combine shredded Italian kale, shredded radicchio, and baby arugula for more color and texture. It’s not just for salad: This dressing is ideal as a drizzle for veggie-stuffed pitas or as a sub for vegan mayo on your next grilled sandwich. For a colorful, flavorful side dish, roast whole baby carrots and serve topped with a drizzle of Green Goddess Dressing.
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