Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
This spicy homemade vegan salad dressing is creamy, delicious and the perfect addition to any salad!
Here's why I love this Cashew Salad Dressing:
- This plant based salad dressing is vegan and therefore, also a dairy free salad dressing
- With one easy substitution (see below) this can also be a gluten-free salad dressing
- You can meal prep with this dressing and store it in the fridge for up to five days
- It can be served with a salad, power bowl, or any other way your heart desires
There are so many reasons to love and enjoy this easy vegan salad dressing!
I was inspired to create this recipe because I love the Crispy Rice Bowl at Sweetgreen and wanted to make a vegan sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing that you can enjoy at home.
Tip: If you have extra time to spare, allow the cashews to soak for up to 24 hours. Just be sure to refrigerate them after 30 minutes.
Cashews: The cashews are the heart and soul of this homemade cashew dressing, so this is probably the most important ingredient! They add incredibly flavor and the creamy texture to this dressing, so it's important to follow the directions carefully and ideally prep the cashews ahead of time.
I like to (carefully) combine the cashews and boiling water and allow the cashews to sit for a couple of hours so that they can properly soften. If you can prep even more in advance, that's perfect! Just cover them after about 30 minutes and place them in the fridge for the remainder of time.
Ideally you want to use raw, unsalted cashews in this recipe, BUT I have used roasted, salted cashews in a pinch and it worked out just fine.
Lime Juice: Using fresh lime juice will give you the best possible flavor. You can use pre-squeezed lime juice if that's your only option, but ideally opt for fresh juice.
Nutritional Yeast: This is a vegan food item that will give your dressing a bit of a "savory, cheesy flavor". You can omit this if you don't have any on hand.
Adding the nutritional yeast is a great way to get that cheesy flavor in this non dairy salad dressing.
If you're in the market for some nutritional yeast, you can find some here.
Ginger: I like to use freshly grated ginger in this recipe. If you don't have fresh ginger on hand, substitute ground ginger instead and use about ¼ teaspoon.
Tip: Nutritional Yeast is often found in the "health food" section of the grocery store. Sometimes in an unfamiliar grocery store I have to ask a store employee for help 🙂
Step by Step Instructions
Step One: As mentioned above and below in the recipe card, you should soak the cashews in water several hours before making this recipe. This allows the cashews to soften nicely and gives your dressing a nice creamy consistency.
If you don't have the time to do this, you can get away with soaking the cashews in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. It might not always come out as creamy as the original would, but it will still be delicious!
Step Two: After allowing the cashews to soak, drain them and give them a little rinse.
Step Three: Then you'll combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy.
Sometimes I find it necessary to stop my blender and carefully scrape the sides down with a spatula, then blend for a few more seconds.
If you need a blender, this is the one I use at home.
Step Four: Add the vegan cashew dressing to your favorite salad, power bowl, or store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for later.
How to Serve
There are so many options and you can truly add it to any salad or power bowl for a great pop of flavor.
You can also add ½ the amount of water that the recipe calls for in order to make it a little thicker and use to to dip veggies into.
Make it Gluten-Free: You can easily make this a homemade gluten-free salad dressing by swapping the soy sauce for coconut aminos instead. Check out this article about coconut aminos if you're unfamiliar with the product.
Make it Less Spicy: Not a fan of the heat? Simply remove the sriracha, crushed red pepper flakes, or both from the ingredient list.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card below!
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- 1 Blender
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp cool water
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon cilantro
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Start by prepping your cashews. Carefully combine the cashews with about 1 cup of boiling water. Set the cashew and water combination aside for about 2 hours to allow the cashews to soften.
- Drain the water from the cashews and give them a quick rinse.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add the dressing to a salad, power bowl, or however you would like.