I had to break my streak of naming recipes “creamy”, but this smooth balsamic dressing is just that. I repeat, we aren’t talking about some light and not really exciting vinaigrette that you grudgingly drizzle over a sad lunch salad. We’re talking about a so-creamy-you-ALMOST-can’t-drizzle-it balsamic with a perfect, magical hint of flavor and sweetness. Let’s run down a list of its many other positive qualities:
- Can be made WAY ahead. We’re not using fresh garlic or citrus, so this dressing keeps for weeks.
- Perfect to make in a huge batch, so when you’re meal prepping lunches, you don’t have to make new dressing every week.
- Totally oil free! Uses tahini to add thickness and balance out the pop of the vinegar and mustard.
- Completely plant-based/vegan
- For its ultra creaminess, is NOT high in calories/fat, because the base is vinegar, NOT oil.
- Pairs with lots of salad combos (not just Italian-ish like I used to assume!)
- No whisk or blender required: I shake mine up right in the mason jar I’ll use to store it.
Honestly, that kind of covers it. I’ve been making this dressing for weeks now, and while I have other delicious vegan sauces sitting in my freezer (chipotle aioli! roasted red pepper tahini!), ALL I want is this balsamic dressing!
You might be asking, so why is tahini any better than oil? Aren’t they both equally fatty and bad? What is all this fuss about oil free? That could be a long conversation, but I choose tahini over oil because it still includes the entire food: the sesame seed. In making tahini, nothing big (or nothing at all, hopefully) gets removed. However, when you think about making olive oil, MOST of the whole food gets left behind.
My family and I are not totally oil free, but we’re making a big effort to reduce our oil consumption, getting our healthy fats from sources closer to their whole food form, and also reducing the massive amount of fat that was previously in our diets from cooking so many things in liberal amounts of oil or making oil-laden vinaigrettes to top most of our salads.
Like I mentioned above, my favorite part is that this balsamic dressing is totally packed with flavor, yet you can enjoy it LIBERALLY on salads. For a huge salad, I use almost a quarter cup of dressing! You can rest assured you’re not coating your salad in heavily processed fat from oils, and even the ratio of tahini to non-fat ingredients is super low. For me, the amount of maple is just perfect to add another layer of complexity to your typical balsamic dressing, but you can adjust it to taste if you like it even sweeter or are trying to reduce sugar from any sources. The great thing about the balsamic is that is has sweetness all on its own!
So go try this dressing as salad season begins (ummm, did it ever end?) and let me know if it doesn’t make your salad-eating-enthusiasm multiply exponentially!
Oil-Free Vegan Balsamic Dressing
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Yield: 2 1/2 C 1x
Batch prep this smooth, creamy balsamic dressing and keep it in the fridge for WEEKS, thanks to lots of flavorful fridge and pantry staples.
- 1 C balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/3 C tahini
- 3/4 C dijon or stoneground mustard (I use a mix of both)
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Shake, whisk, or blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy (even shaking will yield a super creamy dressing).
- Enjoy on salads, bowls, or with raw veggies!
- Keeps 3 weeks in the fridge (possibly longer, I just haven’t tested it)
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Category: Condiment
- Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
- Calories: 57
- Sugar: 4.6 g
- Fat: 2.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 5.5 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
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