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Vegan Ranch Dressing (Cashew, No-Soak)

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Creamy and loaded with fresh onion and garlic flavor, this vegan ranch dressing tastes shockingly similar to the real thing. Made with raw but unsoaked cashews, it comes together in seconds, and after a brief chill in the fridge, it’s ready for all of your veggie dipping and salad needs!

My friend Gena Hamshaw, who writes the blog The Full Helping, introduced me to the wonders of cashew cream several years ago. She was visiting for the weekend, and one night, while I prepared our chickpea taco bowls for dinner, she soaked a few cups of cashews in water. Just before serving, she drained them, and then blitzed them in a blender with water, salt, and fresh lemon juice.
In seconds, the nuts transformed into a silky smooth, bright white emulsion, which we then drizzled over our bowls. There was neither sour cream nor cheese on the table that evening, and I didn’t miss either, the cashew cream lending all the tang, richness, and creaminess the dairy would have provided.
Gena describes cashew cream as a “secret weapon” recipe she wishes she could share with anyone “who’s nervous about giving up dairy,” and as I spooned more of the cashew cream over my chickpeas as I ate, I understood why: nothing about it tasted like a sacrifice.
Although I am not vegan, I continue to make cashew cream and other cashew-based dressings because I so enjoy their flavor and texture. Earlier this month I used Gena’s base recipe for cashew cream and adapted it into a ranch dressing by adding garlic, tons of chives, and a small amount of olive oil.
Creamy, tangy, and loaded with allium flavor, it tastes astonishingly similar to the real thing, and it is such a treat to have on hand for raw veggies, simple salads, and — dare I say it — to serve alongside pizza. I hope you’ll agree.
Vegan Ranch Dressing, Step by Step
First, gather your ingredients:

Place all of the ingredients, except for the chives, in a high-speed blender. I’m using a Vitamix.

Blend at high speed for 1 minute.

Add the chives and blend for another 10 seconds.

Transfer to a storage jar and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remove from the fridge, thin with water if necessary, then use as you please: as a dip for veggies or drizzled all over your favorite greens.


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Adapted from The Full Helping’s all-purpose cashew cream recipe. 

Salt: If you are using Morton Kosher salt or fine sea salt, use 3/4 teaspoon (or the same amount by weight.
I have only ever used a high speed blender, which makes an especially creamy dressing without having to soak the cashews. If you do not have a Vitamix or other powerful blender, consider soaking the cashews in water for at least 2 hours before making the dressing.

1 cup (135 g) raw cashews
3/4 cup (176 g) ice water, plus more as needed
1½ (5 g) teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, see notes above
1/4 cup (65 g) fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons (28 g) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 cup (20 g) chives
Flaky sea salt, optional, to taste

In a high-speed blender combine the cashews, ice water, salt, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and maple syrup. Blend at low speed for 10 seconds, then turn the blender to its highest setting and blend for another 50 seconds.
The mixture should be completely smooth. Taste. And adjust with a pinch of flaky sea salt if necessary. Add the chives, and blend on low for another 10 seconds.
The mixture will be slightly warm due to the intensity of the blending, and because of this, it’s difficult to accurately evaluate the flavor. Because of this, I recommend transferring it to a storage vessel and transferring it to the fridge for at least 2 hours before using. In this time, the ranch flavors will intensify and the dressing will thicken — you may want to thin the dressing with another tablespoon of water to make it a more pourable consistency before using. You may also want to add a pinch more kosher salt or flaky sea salt to taste. 

Prep Time: 20 minutesCategory: DressingMethod: blenderCuisine: American

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