Creamy, zesty, and traditional in flavor, this easy Nut-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing is easy to make and free of oils, nuts, and sugar. It’s also packed with plant-based protein and takes just 5 minutes to whiz up in any kind of blender!
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Hey Internet, did you ever notice that most vegan dairy alternatives are nut-based? Especially recipes that you find online--it seems like everything is made from cashews!
And cashews are a bit problematic since A.) they’re expensive; B.) many people are allergic to nuts; and C.) if you don’t have a high powered (re: expensive) blender, you have to soak your cashews ahead of time. I’m just way too lazy for that.
It was actually kind of tough to replicate that amazing creamy and zesty ranch taste. Just glancing at a bottle of ranch sold at the grocery store there’s a lot of really strange preservatives, “natural and artificial flavors” …?
So I wanted to make something simple, nut-free, and absolutely delicious and I think I really did. So does everyone I’ve tested this recipe on, hence my excitement about sharing it with you all.
It’s also very timely that I’m sharing it with you today as I’m also sharing one of my new favorite summer meals with you: vegan ranch pasta salad! So creamy, crunchy, fresh, satisfying and delicious, the ranch is definitely the star of the show.
Without further ado, let’s get into this simple and tasty recipe.
What You’ll Need
So the base of this vegan ranch is actually tofu. I know, I know, sounds kinda weird.
But let me tell you, blended tofu (which is super easy to blend with even a crappy blender) is creamy, milky, and the perfect base for AMAZING vegan ranch.
I use firm tofu because that’s what I always have on hand (4-pack at Costco, of course), but any should work. Please see the next section for substitutions for tofu.
Next, we gotta talk about those seasonings, because that’s what makes this yummy creamy dressing taste like RANCH.
Garlic and onion powder are a staple in my kitchen. They’re just so good!
You can absolutely use fresh garlic and whatever, but I’m lazy and I think these taste just as good.
Where fresh does taste a lot better, is definitely herbs. I used fresh dill and chives and it was like a flavor explosion in my mouth.
However, I’ve tasted it with dried herbs too and it’s still ridiculously delicious. I mean like, lick the bowl delicious.
So anyway, to brighten the flavors we will use some lemon juice and salt, and to keep things creamy we’ll blend it with non-dairy milk. Any will work, but make sure it’s unflavored and unsweetened! I’ve never tried vanilla ranch, but I really don’t want to.
What Substitutions Can I Make?
This recipe calls for firm tofu. Medium will also work without changing any ratios.
If you use a softer tofu than medium, or if you want to use silken, you can. Just blend it without adding any non-dairy milk at first, then add some only if needed.
If you don’t want to use tofu at all, you can use white beans, soaked cashews, soaked sunflower seeds, or even use straight up vegan mayo (use less water if doing this), though it does have oil in it just FYI.
Spices and Herbs
The garlic and onion powder are totally optional, but I feel like they really give that zesty, tangy ranch taste.
Dill and Chives, whether dried or fresh, seem to be the magic notes that the ranch needed to REALLY taste like ranch. However, feel free to experiment with whatever herbs you like!
Salt enhances the flavors but you can reduce or omit if you need to. Just boost the other flavors -- maybe add more lemon.
Finally, lemon juice is a great all-purpose acid to brighten flavors and make this ranch taste tangy and delicious. I am obsessed with fresh lemon juice and buy lemons in bulk for this purpose, but bottled lemon juice will also work (it’s just not as lemony).
You can also substitute any neutral vinegar like white wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar would also work in this, but it does have a sweetness to it, so add it a little a time.
How to Make Nut-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing
This is another one of those recipes that I’m just going to tell you to chuck everything in the blender and hit the power button, but there is an order to things.
If using tofu, go ahead and drain the water from it, but no need to press it. Break it up into a few pieces (makes it blend faster) and throw it in your blender.
Now add the non-dairy milk, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Do not add the herbs right now unless you want them liquified (if you do it by accident it’s ok. You’ll have green ranch but it will still taste good).
Blend until smooth and taste. Adjust anything you want now and re-blend if needed.
Add the herbs whether fresh and finely chopped or dried. Pulse the blender a few times until the herbs are well mixed.
That’s it! Use it right away or refrigerate until needed. It will keep for up to 5-7 days in the fridge in an airtight container (I like to use mason jars).
What to Eat Vegan Ranch With
Well, besides with a spoon (no judgement, this stuff is so good!)… There are lots of great ways to enjoy ranch!
Probably the most obvious way is on a salad. This vegan ranch dressing would be great on my avocado salad or any salad, really.
I also used this sauce on a crazy delicious ranch pasta salad, which by happenstance (hehe) is also new on the blog today!
But this ranch would also be great drizzled on raw or cooked vegetables, even alongside vegan BBQ sauce like this BBQ baby eggplant (recipe coming soon).
Perhaps my favorite way to eat ranch is just with some fresh veggies as a snack! Delicious, protein-packed, and satisfying.
Want More Vegan Sauces?
Sauces make the meal in my opinion. You can start with a simple meal of steamed vegetables and potatoes or rice and make it fabulous with a vegan sauce like one of the following:
And if you're looking for more tofu dishes, check out this post I made with all my best tofu recipes.
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This nut-free vegan ranch dressing is:
- And delicious on any salad, wrap, on a baked potato or served on the side as a dipping sauce! Even better on pasta salad!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!