Creamy, delicious, and totally dairy-free! This vegan ranch dressing is made from cashews. Dip your veggies, drizzle it on a salad, or spread it on a sandwich…or just put it on everything!
Back when I was in my late teens/early twenties, I ate many meals at Perkins that consisted solely of a bread bowl (sans salad) and ranch dressing. Oh, and these meals were usually consumed at 1am, because eating junk food at chain restaurants in the middle of the night was just was just a cool thing to do during that era of my life.
Even though I’d never dream of making a meal of a bread bowl and creamy salad dressing these days, I definitely miss some aspects of that meal. Ranch dressing + bread is tasty!
Maybe I could have a version that actually includes salad. And bread, but not a whole bowl’s worth. And dairy-free ranch. I can totally do this!
I actually get quite a few requests for ranch dressing, so I guess I’m not the only one who feels this way. And while I do have an older, lighter version of silken tofu ranch on the site (which I love) tofu just doesn’t cut it when it comes to recreating the richness of dairy-based ranch dressing.
Know what does though? Cashews!
Raw cashews are capable of blending up to be super rich and creamy, and unlike other nuts, they have a pretty neutral flavor. That nutty, slightly sweet flavor you probably associate with cashews? It comes out when they’re roasted.
You’ll probably need to soak your cashews in water for 4 to 8 hours before you blend them up. I say “probably” because if you’ve got a high-powered blending device (like a Vitamix) you might be able to skip the soak.
How to Make Vegan Ranch Dressing
Once your cashews are finished soaking, drain the water and give them a good rinse. Transfer them to a blending device. A food processor works best, and the smaller, the better. Add a small amount of water and blend the cashews to a smooth paste.
Next, add some more water and blend again until creamy.
Finally, add your flavorings. You’ll need some lemon juice to balance out that little bit of sweetness in the cashews. Garlic, onion, parsley, chives and black pepper give your dressing that classic ranch flavor, and salt enhances those flavors. Pulse your blending device until the herbs are finely chopped and your ingredients are well mixed.
Be sure to taste test! Is your dressing a tad too sweet? Add some more lemon juice. Is the ranchy flavor not quite intense enough? Add more herbs. Are the flavors present but not quite developed enough? It probably needs salt.
From here, you can thin your dressing with some additional water if you like. I like to keep it on the thick side if I’m using it as a dip, and I like it thinner if I’m dressing a salad with it.
And serve! Dip some veggies, dress a salad, or even drizzle your ranch over chili.
FAQ & Tips for Making Perfect Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Did you forget to soak your cashews? Boil your them in water for 20 minutes. They won’t blend up quite as smooth though.
- Do you always forget to soak your cashews? I do too! That’s why I keep a stash of soaked cashews in the freezer. Soak them in batches (I do 1 cup batches), then drain and rinse them, put them into freezer containers and cover with fresh water and freeze. When you’re ready to use them, thaw on the counter, in the microwave, or in a saucepan, and proceed with your recipe.
- This dressing will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. If you don’t think you’ll use it all in that time, freeze some!
- The dressing may separate a bit during storage. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about! Just stir it back together before using.
- If you’re using a large blending device, consider doubling the batch size. I’ve managed to make a single batch in an 11 cup food processor, but there was a bordering-on-ridiculous amount of stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
Creamy, delicious, and totally dairy-free! This vegan ranch dressing is made from cashews. Dip your veggies, drizzle it on a salad, or spread it on a sandwich...or just put it on everything!
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the cashews and 1/4 cup of water into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade.
Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup of water and blend again until smooth and creamy.
Add the lemon juice, parsley, chives, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Pulse the food processor until the herbs are finely chopped and everything is well-mixed.
Taste test and adjust any seasonings as needed.
Serve immediately, store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.