One of the first foods that come to mind when most people think of vegans and plant-based eating is a salad. Healthy greens, tomatoes, a bit of black pepper, and your favorite dressing… It sounds like the perfect plant-based meal, right?
There’s just one small problem – most salad dressing isn’t vegan!
Even though salads are often touted as vegan-friendly meals, a closer look at the ingredients in most salad dressings will quickly reveal that they’re not as plant-based as they may seem. For example, ranch and caesar dressing both contain dairy.
Thankfully, there are lots of delicious vegan salad dressing brands on the market. From vegan blue to cheese to flavorful vinaigrette, I’m about to show you the best vegan salad dressing brands that money can buy!
- Creamy ranch flavor (100% dairy-free)
- Sour dairy-free blue cheese
- Juicy, vinaigrette-style dressing with lime juice, avocado, and red pepper
Are All Salad Dressings Vegan?
Not all salad dressings are made equal. Although there are plenty of accidentally vegan dressings you can buy at the store, there are just as many non-vegan dressings that contain animal products.
When it comes to store-bought salad dressing, vinaigrette is usually your safest bet, whereas most creamy dressings are known for containing eggs or dairy.
Common Non-Vegan Ingredients In Salad Dressing
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common non-vegan ingredients in salad dressing, so you know what to look out for while shopping:
|Non-Vegan Ingredients In Salad Dressing||Why They’re Used|
|Dairy||Buttermilk, cream, casein, and whey are the most common dairy ingredients in non-vegan salad dressing. They’re used to create a thick, creamy texture and that signature sour aftertaste. Some dressings, such as parmesan or blue cheese dressings also contain real cheese.|
|Eggs||Eggs are another common ingredient used in salad dressing. Eggs act as an emulsifier and keep the dressing homogeneous.|
|Honey||Honey is often used in vinaigrette and sweet-tasting dressings. Unfortunately, since honey is inhumanely harvested from bee colonies, it’s not a vegan sweetener.|
|Palm Oil||While plant-based, palm oil is generally considered non-vegan because of the destructive industry behind it.|
Is Italian Vinaigrette Vegan?
Yes! Italian vinaigrette is a basic dressing that’s made from vegetable oil, vinegar, lemon juice, water, sugar, peppers, and herbs.
While cheaper brands of Italian vinaigrette may use palm oil and refined white sugar, most high-quality brands use sunflower oil and unrefined cane sugar, both of which are vegan-friendly.
Beware, though, some brands of Italian vinaigrette may contain added parmesan cheese!
If you’re feeling a bit creative, you can also make your own homemade vegan Italian vinaigrette, using simple ingredients:
Is Ranch Dressing Vegan?
Traditionally, ranch dressing is not vegan, as it contains dairy and sometimes eggs. That being said, there are plenty of great-tasting vegan ranch alternatives. Keep reading below to find out my favorite vegan ranch dressing!
Vegan Salad Dressing: Store-Bought Options
If you’re in a rush and need to buy a quick vegan-friendly dressing from the grocery store, these are some of the best “accidentally vegan” salad dressing options:
- Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Dressing
- Newman’s Own Classic Oil & Vinegar
- Skinnygirl Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette & Marinade
- Annie’s Red Wine & Olive Oil Dressing
- Hidden Valley Plant-Powered Vegan Ranch
The 4 Best Vegan Salad Dressing Brands You Need To Try 2023
Now that you guys have a better idea of what sets vegan dressing apart from your typical non-vegan dressing, it’s time to show you some of my favorites. So, without further ado, these are some of the best vegan salad dressing brands that you’ve got to try!
1) Only Plant-Based Vegan Ranch Dressing (link)
- Flavor: Creamy ranch flavor (100% dairy-free)
Only Plant-Based Vegan Ranch Dressing is, by far, my favorite vegan ranch. Personally, I’ve never been one to put ranch on top of a green salad.
However, I love dipping carrots, french fries, broccoli, and celery in this vegan ranch alternative. It’s a great way to make your veggies more filling and I love the slightly sour kick!
Only Plant-Based Ranch is made with mostly all-natural ingredients too, so you don’t have to worry about a bunch of artificial chemicals.
The main ingredients are rapeseed oil, water, white wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, starch, lemon juice, onion powder, chives, buttermilk flavoring (vegan), and black pepper.
The starch gives the dressing a thick, creamy texture that you’d expect from a traditional ranch. The added buttermilk flavoring is 100% vegan and gives the ranch a dairy-like flavor that makes it taste just like the buttermilk ranch you used to eat before going vegan.
Only Plant-Based also offers a wide range of other vegan-friendly toppings and sauces, such as Vegan Chipotle Mayo, Vegan Mayo, and Vegan Sour Cream! Whether you’re looking for a simple dipping sauce or a delicious salad dressing, I definitely recommend this company.
The only downside is that their products are a little bit more expensive than most non-vegan dressings.
What I Like About It:
- Delicious vegan buttermilk flavor.
- Thick, creamy texture that makes it feel like real ranch.
- Made with mostly natural ingredients.
- The brand offers a wide range of delicious non-dairy creams and dressings.
- It doesn’t have quite as much flavor as a dairy-based ranch.
2) Daiya Blue Cheeze Vegan Salad Dressing (link)
- Flavor: Sour dairy-free blue cheese
Daiya is one of my all-time favorite vegan salad dressing brands! They use quality ingredients in their dressings and use very few preservatives or artificial additives.
Daiya Blue Cheeze Vegan Salad Dressing is one of my favorite dipping sauces. I put it on my salads from time to time, but I really enjoy dipping veggies and grilled tempeh in the creamy dairy-free dressing.
It’s made with canola oil, water, white vinegar, sea salt, unrefined cane sugar, chickpea protein, dextrose, natural flavors, lactic acid, spices, and onion.
A bit of xanthan gum is used as an emulsifier and preservative to keep the product fresh and shelf-stable. Other than that, though, there are no artificial ingredients!
Although it doesn’t taste exactly like blue cheese dressing, it’s close enough. It has an ultra-thick consistency and a sour, slightly fermented flavor to it that you’d expect from real blue cheese.
Since it’s cheese-free, this vegan blue cheese is also lower-calorie than your typical blue cheese. Each two-tablespoon serving only has 120 calories, so you can eat more without feeling guilty.
Last but not least, Daiya is committed to using all non-GMO ingredients in their dressings, so you don’t have to worry about any genetically modified foods or hormones in your food.
What I Like About It:
- Authentic blue cheese flavor.
- 100% dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free.
- Xanthan gum is the only unnatural ingredient.
- Made with non-GMO ingredients.
- While Daiya has delicious dressings, they do come at a higher price.
3) Brick House Avocado Lime Vegan Salad Dressing (link)
- Flavor: Juicy, vinaigrette-style dressing with lime juice, avocado, and red pepper.
If you’re looking for a delicious, juicy, citrusy dressing, then Brick House Avocado Lime Vegan Dressing is an outstanding option. I absolutely love this dressing on a spinach and tempeh salad! It’s bursting with fresh citrus, creamy avocado, and chunky crushed red pepper.
It also tastes really good as a marinade and I’ve used it to cook both beans and tofu on my stovetop. I even used it on my favorite vegan burgers once!
This vegan, low-sugar, low-carb, low-calorie dressing is made from all-natural ingredients, including real avocado pulp, grapeseed oil, vinegar, hemp seed oil, kosher salt, agave nectar, garlic, white pepper, mustard seed, red pepper, and cilantro.
Sunflower lecithin is the only semi-unhealthy ingredient that’s used as a stabilizing agent.
What I Like About It:
- Bursting with fresh flavors.
- Made with real herbs, peppers, and citrus juice.
- No palm oil.
- No artificial ingredients.
- Low-carb and low-calorie.
- I wish it was a bit cheaper.
4) Cleveland Kitchen Veggie Caesar Dressing (link)
- Flavor: Creamy, tart caesar-style dressing.
Traditionally, caesar dressing is not vegan-friendly. It’s made with eggs, cream, buttermilk, and Worcestershire sauce (which contains non-vegan fish sauce). Cleveland Kitchen’s Veggie Caesar Dressing is 100% dairy, egg, and fish sauce-free, so you can use as much as you need!
This vegan caesar dressing is made with water, fermented veggies, sunflower oil, vinegar, date syrup, black pepper, sea salt, real dijon mustard, bell pepper, basil, oregano, and garlic. Several of the ingredients are also organic, which is another great reason to enjoy the sauce.
One of the things I like the most about this high-end vegan dressing is that it contains loads of healthy vegan probiotics, thanks to the blend of fermented vegetables.
These are great for your gut health and can aid in digestion and boost your immune system!
What I Like About It:
- Made with real vegetables, herbs, and peppers.
- Made with vegan-friendly Worcestershire.
- Contains fermented vegetables, which give the dressing a tart flavor and provide healthy probiotics.
- Only 50 calories per serving.
- The price point is a bit high.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Salad Dressing?
All of these are wonderful dressings, but if I had to choose one, I’d say that the Brick House Avocado Lime Ranch is the best vegan salad dressing! I love the explosion of flavor, fresh citrus, and creamy avocado. It tastes great on both salads and vegan meat.
If you love making your own great-tasting vegan meals at home, then be sure to check out my latest post on the best vegan BBQ sauces next!