This creamy and milky vegan ranch dressing is exactly what you want in a dairy-free ranch, and it happens to be oil-free and made with sunflower seeds instead of cashews! It's SO easy, perfectly savory, tangy, and has just the right amount of herb flavor.
This vegan ranch is whole-food plant-based (WFPB) and free from nuts, oil, gluten, and soy (depending on your milk choice).
This recipe was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for photos and content. It's truly one of our favorite salad dressings, and I hope you love it, too!
The BEST Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe
I know "best" is a bold statement, but seriously, in my 11 years as a vegan this is the best vegan ranch I've tasted yet!
Everyone loves ranch dressing because it's so versatile. Creamy, milky, mildly herbaceous, garlicky, and just salty enough to make you (and maybe even your kids) actually want to eat veggies.
For those of us who prefer our salad dressings on the healthier side, store-bought vegan ranch really isn't an option. Those are loaded with oil and honestly aren't even very tasty.
But that's okay! Because once you realize how easy it is to make healthy vegan ranch dressing at home, you'll wonder why you ever thought about buying the bottled stuff.
RELATED: if you're okay with nuts, be sure to try this oil-free copycat version of Bitchin' Sauce! It's SO good, kind of like ranch without the herbs.
Recently I've become interested in developing more allergy-friendly recipes. So after working on my Vegan Pimento Cheese and Pimento Macaroni Salad, both of which were originally made with cashews, I decided to explore seed-based creamy sauces and dressings. And I'm so glad I did! Raw sunflower seeds work like a dream here.
There's no weird taste from tofu, and without cashews, which can sometimes taste too sweet, it's totally, 100% savory. Just as ranch should be!
I suppose I hesitated to experiment with raw sunflower seeds because I thought their naturally nutty flavor might be overpowering. Thankfully I was wrong!
You can usually find raw sunflower seeds in the bulk bins at most grocery stores. And they're very affordable, like less than three dollars a pound kind of affordable!
With that amount of seeds, you can make 6 or 7 batches of this oil-free dressing. Take that, cashews!
- raw sunflower seeds - check the bulk bins at your grocery store for the best price.
- non-dairy milk - choose an unsweetened milk that is also unflavored; I like box soy milk for this one. Traditional ranch is often made with buttermilk, but as we vegans know, soy milk plus vinegar creates an easy vegan buttermilk.
- lemon juice and white vinegar - these combine to create the perfect amount of tangy acidity.
- herbs - dry or fresh; try a combination of dill, chives and parsley.
How to Make Vegan Ranch
For this vegan ranch dressing, a high-speed blender will give you the creamiest results. But if you don't mind a bit of texture, a regular blender works, too.
This recipe is a breeze to make. The process looks like this:
- Pour boiling water over the raw sunflower seeds and let them soak for about an hour. Drain and rinse. This step is optional if using a high-speed blender.
- Blend all ingredients except the herbs until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add the herbs (fresh or dried), and either stir them into the dressing or pulse the blender once or twice.
- Pour the dressing into a lidded jar, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors mingle.
You don't have to do that last step if you really want to use the dressing right away, but it does taste better after it sits.
The flavors of the herbs spread throughout the creamy base, and if you go with fresh garlic instead of dried, the raw garlic bite becomes more mellow.
Tips for Adjusting the Consistency
See the photo above? That was a different batch on a different day, with less water for a thicker, dip consistency.
Whether you plan to drizzle your vegan ranch dressing on salads, use it as a spread for sandwiches or as a dip for raw veggies and vegan wings, the consistency is totally up to you. Isn't that one of the greatest things about homemade salad dressings?!
Use the lesser amount of water listed in the recipe for a thick dip and the full 5 tablespoons for a thinner salad dressing.
How to Store Homemade Vegan Ranch
Store the dressing in a lidded jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freezing is not recommended.
If the dressing separates, simply give it a shake or stir before using.
Ways to Use It
- potatoes - use it instead of yogurt in these vegan mashed potatoes, plus baked, french fries, and potato salad
- regular green and kale salads
- pizza and pasta
- dip for veggie trays
- spread for sandwiches and veggie burgers
- sauce for grain bowls and roasted/steamed veggies
I hope you LOVE this Allergy-Friendly Vegan Ranch Dressing as much as we do! If you give it a try be sure to leave a comment below, and let us know your favorite foods to pair with ranch.
You can also tag me in a photo on instagram with @myquietkitchen. I always love to see what you're making!
More Nut-Free Vegan Recipes
Vegan Ranch Dressing (No Mayo or Cashews!)
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ⅔ cup plain, unsweetened soy milk - or other unflavored non-dairy milk
- 3 to 5 tablespoons water - use less water for a dip or more water for pourable consistency
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar - Can sub apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder OR 1 small clove fresh garlic, peeled
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
- pinch of black pepper
Herbs - add after blending:
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped dried chives - or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley - or 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon dried dill - or ½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- If using a high-speed blender, no need to soak the seeds. If using a standard blender you may want to soak them in hot water for about an hour. Then drain and rinse under cold water.
- To a blender add the seeds, milk, 3 tablespoons of water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic, onion powder, mustard powder, and black pepper. Gradually increase to high speed, and blend until completely smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Taste and adjust salt, acid, and/or water amount as desired. Keep in mind, the dressing will thicken in the refrigerator - you can always add water later if needed.
- Add the herbs and stir to incorporate. Pour dressing into a jar or container, cover, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The flavors mingle and improve as it sits.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.