Yummy Vegan Dressing


I should probably point out that I do not earn money from this blog, and so this endorsement is my actual opinion and does not include a mercenary bias. I got the idea for this salad/side dressing from Cafe Yumm! which has locations in Oregon and Washington, but not elsewhere. It’s a thick, pungent sauce for jazzing up salads & beans & rice & quinoa & suchlike. Cafe Yumm! sells the sauce in large bottles so you can make versions of their ‘bowls’ at home, but since they don’t appear to sell the sauce online at the moment, if you don’t happen to live in either of those states, you’ll have to make your own!

This sauce is strongly flavored! The dominant flavors are lemon juice, thyme, nutritional yeast, and probably more lemon juice. The original appears to be almost an emulsion made with oil, which does make it taste gorgeous, but without the oil, this stuff looks like health food, so that’s what I aimed for, to start off with, until my youngest convinced me to try it with oil, and it really is better that way. The sauce is also not smooth, so you may want to only partially blend the chickpeas/garbanzo beans. However, I should point out that this doesn’t seem to have much punch if it’s turned into mayonnaise by blending the oil into the other ingredients, and the texture isn’t right, so I very briefly stir in the oil at the end.

I don’t know how long this sauce would last, but I’ve managed to keep a bowl of it in the fridge for a week without anything untoward happening.

One last point, make sure your oil is neutral flavored. I made the mistake of using olive oil once, and ended up pouring the whole lot away as it tasted far too strong.

1/2 cup almonds (or almond flour)
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) lemon juice
1/2 cup water or plain unsweetened, plain, soy milk
1 tsp dried thyme (I’m sure fresh thyme would be even better)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 – 1 cup (1/2 can) cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1/2 cup neutral flavored oil

Put the almonds in the blender with the water/milk, lemon juice, thyme, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt, and process until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

Add the chickpeas/garbanzo beans, and process until almost smooth.

Add the oil and process only long enough to combine (about 5 seconds on lowest setting, if that).

Chill before serving to thicken.


Orange Salad or Dipping Vinegar

A lot of my salad recipes call for Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar as sold by Trader Joe’s. Unfortunately, much of the world is deprived of my favorite store, so I decided to mix up a more accessible alternative. I asked daughter #1 to taste test the two side by side (to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself that the mixture tasted great), and her reaction was “Wow!”

Orange Salad VinegarThe mixture is thicker than regular vinegar, but this is not a disadvantage when making salad dressings. The orange flavor is quite pronounced and fresher than the original, but the clean cutting properties of the vinegar are preserved. Although I figured this as an alternative to vinegar for salad dressings, it would work really well as a dip for bread cubes, too, much as you get balsamic vinegar and olive oil in fancy Italian restaurants … though you’d have to double or triple the recipe!

Makes about 2-3 tbsp of ‘vinegar’.

1 medium size orange, juiced
1 tbsp white salad vinegar (such as white balsamic)

Thick, reduced orange juice.

Thick, reduced, orange juice.

Boil up the orange juice in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes until reduced to about 2 tbsp in volume and thick enough to leave a trail when the spatula is dragged through it.

Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the white salad vinegar. Use within a day or two in salad dressings and such like.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Making the most of the vestiges of the summer, I wanted to get at least one more salad related blog written before hotter dishes are required. Traditional Caesar salad contains both cheese and anchovies, neither of which I will eat. This version is slightly cheesy, and very garlicky. It is not for the faint of heart nor for delicately flavored salads …. by which I mean, I like it just served with crispy lettuce leaves (Romaine or cos) to dip in it, and both girls gave me the thumbs up, when I gave it to them on baked potato. If you are a lover of garlic as I am, you can use large cloves of garlic; if you have to be sociable the day after, try smaller cloves …. and if you want to drizzle the dressing over shredded lettuce and cubes of fried GF bread, slacken the dressing off with a tablespoon of rice milk first.

Ceasar Salad

1/2 cup mild flavored mayonnaise (Soy Vegan Mayonnaise is good)
1/4 tsp mild, light colored miso
1 tsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground seaweed

Stir all ingredients together with a non-metal utensil, and use immediately.

Slightly Sweetened Vinaigrette for Bean Salads

This is the standard salad dressing in our household. I sometimes adjust it with 1/2 tsp honey mustard, but since we haven’t got fed-up with it, I’ve not bothered to change it. These days, I tend to double up the quantities and make it in my small blender (Magic Bullet), and then store the unused amount in the fridge for the next day.

The Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar I use comes from Trader Joes, but if you can’t get hold of it, then white balsamic vinegar mixed with a good squeeze of orange juice will do instead.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar with a fork (or in a small blender) until emulsified.
Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
That’s it!

This vinaigrette is great for bean salads as the beans seem to benefit from the sweet lift.