Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (4)


Dairy-free ranch dressing.

Vegan, dairy-free ranch dressing.

Nut-free, vegan, dairy-free ranch dressing.

Oil-free, Nut-free, vegan, dairy-free ranch dressing.

Are you as jazzed about this recipe as I am?

I shared this bright, shiny, new recipe over on Sonia’s blog, The Healthy Foodie, earlier this week. Another bombastic recipe to add to the dairy-free recipes collection in the Done with Dairy Toolkit!

If you haven’t popped by Sonia’s space, I highly suggest that you do it now. Her recipes are loaded with good-for-you ingredients and many of them are grain-free, too.

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (3)

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5.0 from 4 reviews
Dairy-free Ranch Dressing
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Egg-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 400mL
This vegan, nut-free, oil-free ranch salad dressing will change the way you do salads, dips and sauces.
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ¼ cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos or Braggs aminos or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh parsley
  1. Add all ingredients but chives and parsley to the jug of your high powered blender and blend for 2 minutes until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a resealable jar, stir in chives and parsley. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
1 serving = ¼ cup. Recipe makes 400mL, 6 servings
Recipe should be good for 5-6 days if kept refrigerated.

View nutrition information (once on page, scroll down)


My favorite feature of this recipe is the chia seeds. I’d never thought to use chia seeds to thicken a dressing before. It worked wonderfully.

Support Healthful Pursuit by sharing this recipe with a friend! Your support, shares, likes, and comments really help me to keep my business moving forward. The more you share, the more health tips, radical thought provoking blog posts, allergy celebrating recipes and virtual hugs I’m able to give out ;)

So, once you’re done sharing this recipe with your world, I’d love to hear from you:

What condiment would you have a hard time living without?

How do you incorporate chia seeds, hemp seeds or flax seeds into your diet?

Let me know by leaving a comment!

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Hi,

    Love your blog and your attitude. Most of all your recipes.

    Do you have any advice on how to quit sugar? Or reduce it? And how does one combine kicking sugar with intuitive eating? Because while sugar (eaten often) makes me feel both physically and mentally bad, I also do not believe it is a good idea to deny myself something totally (more cravings is the result)…

    Further, do you think that if one craves for example chocolate and cannot seem to stop eating it once one starts, is that a sign that in that person’s mind said chocolate is still forbidden? So would the solution actually be to allow yourself anything and everything and not worry about kicking sugar? (As you have probably guessed by now, I am a recovered anorexic who now sometimes binges and is ashamed of the fact and afraid of gaining weight)

    Sorry for the lengthy comment. You just seem like such a nice person and very down to earth. And I thought that maybe bouncing ideas off you might help.

    • Hi Maria,

      I am just a reader like you, but I can totally relate to the sugar thing. I am not anorexic, but I, too, feel guilty when I binge. We all do. But, I am a nutritionist, and have studied it passionately from a wholistic view the past few years, and have learned that when you imbibe on the white stuff: sugar, white flour, white breads,etc.,, then that starts a cycle, that you just can’t stop. You have it, and a couple hours later, you literally ‘can’t help it’. You have to have it , again, and you have to have it now!

      That’s why sugar is so bad you. White flours acts just like sugar in your body, so this is bad too. There are others reasons , not to eat it, not to mention all of the chemicals and preservatives in most foods that contain white flour and sugar! After weeks, months, years of this sugar cycle, your body gets
      tired of the adrenaline pumping , your liver gets tired of trying to clean the body of toxins, and things break down. Diseases are born, cancer, diabetes, arthritis,obesity. You name it! You can get by with eating like this while young, but that is the reason so many people get diagnosed with a whole range of problems in their 50’s, or sooner!
      I’m sure Leanne can add some insight as well, but my advice, is just say no to the white stuff. The first day or say is the hardest. I have learned how to completely eliminate it from my diet over time, little by little, and enjoy lots of sweet things, now that contain no sugar or white flour. I started by slowly putting less sugar in my tea, cereal, baked goods, half sugar, half honey or stevia. My family didn’t even notice. It takes some work, but you can do it. And just being on this sight, is a great place to start!


    • Hello Maria and Leanne!…I’m in the same boat…and wondered about your thoughts on the “forbidden” element introduced so very well by Maria. Recovering from anorexia, I find the decision to allow or introduce formally “forbidden” foods so very daunting…Is it best to stay clear of any foods with a “sweet” taste…or to allow as to not give it any “special” qualities?…

      Thanks for this “safe” alternative for a delicious Ranch dressing I can actually feel good about sharing with my family!

      • Hi Maria, Veronica and Donna,

        I’m a life-long chocoholic and sugar fiend, so it was with considerable surprise that, since beginning the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension) on February 25th, I have had VERY little desire for sweets. Heard about this diet and its rather restrictive first two weeks from the Dr. Oz show, and was happy when the third week began and I could add fruit and small servings of carbs back into my diet. I think the focus on low-carb veggies and protein are what are keeping my sweets cravings in check. Note: I do not have hypertension, but am attracted to the healthfulness aspect of this way of eating. Hope this is useful.
        P.s. any dressing that uses chia seeds as thickener is right up my alley. I love chia in smoothies, and enjoy drinking the seeds in water I’ve sweetened with stevia, particularly the vanilla cream liquid stevia.

      • Hi Donna – one of the ways I was able to get over my disordered eating was to make sure that NOTHING was off limits. Nothing. I told myself everyday (and I still do) that I can eat whatever I want. I do not conform to any type of diet, I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, paleo, grain-free, sugar-free… I am me. When I make food, I make it because it’s what my body wants. If that food has animal protein or sugar or whatever, I just follow the queues. It’s about creating that freedom in my life and letting my body make the choices. I found that the minute I cut myself off to things and labelled them as forbidden and said, ‘You can’t have this, you can’t have that’ I rebelled and craved and felt guilty. I hope that helps!

      • Our taste buds have a lifespan of only 10 days. That is how long it takes to get over cravings if we don’t eat certain foods like sugar[which should be considered a poisonous ,toxic substance because IT IS]. The author of the book Sugarettes[ Dr Scott Olsen] explains how sugar effects our bodies and health over many decades so we do not attribute so many deaths to sugars. He also explains how other foods [starch veg , some grains etc,fruits etc] are treated by our bodies as harmful as sugar.

        He suggests a 30 day no sugar challenge to show people how much better then will feel in 30 days of not eating sugar[or any sort]. It;s hard at times to do, but if one can get past 30 days they will likely not go back. I made it to day 17,but am about to try it for full 30 again.

    • Just had to respond to this post. I’ll try to make it quick!

      As someone who has been in recovery from anorexia/bulimia for awhile now, I truly believe the only way to fully heal is to allow yourself any type of food. Labeling food as “good” or “bad” serves only to keep you in the disordered mindset. I think it is only when you are fully recovered, both mentally and physically, that you can make decisions to limit certain foods. Be patient with yourself. It is common for those recovering from anorexia to binge. Your body has been starved for so long that it isn’t always sure when it will get food next. This will pass, I assure you! But you have to be patient. Trust your body. It actually knows what it is doing!

      I don’t want to turn Leanne’s stunning blog into a pulpit, but I just wanted to offer my thoughts. I am relatively new to this site, but I trust that Leanne has had some years of recovery under her belt before she made the decision to limit certain foods.

      • Hi Cait! Well said. Getting into the good and bad food game is no way to live. And, even to this day I do not restrict any foods. If I got up tomorrow and wanted gluten, I’d have it. I just… don’t. Not because it’s bad, but because my body doesn’t feel good when I eat it. You’ve said it perfectly… be patient and trust your body. That trust piece is very hard as; with an eating disorder or any constant dieting program, we’ve been conditioned to believe that our body cannot be trusted! It’s a viscous cycle! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and approach!

    • Hi Maria! Cravings are a challenging thing and differ from person to person. For me, if I’m craving a specific food, I ask myself if it’s actually food that I’m craving or the FEELING that the food gives me. For instance, I often crave candy. I love candy. It tastes good, feels good… and it reminds me of my Father. When I’m feeling alone, secluded and frustrated, I almost always find myself wanting candy because it makes me feel safe, with my Dad. So, I would suggest you look at your cravings and see if there’s something like that popping up for you. A craving is different from the intuitive queues your body sends you. The intuition piece doesn’t have emotions to it, cravings do. I hope that helps!

    • One of the easiest ways to quit sugar is to replace it with fruit. It satisfies your sweet cravings and helps you stop the sugar cycle. Use only whole fruit not fruit juices; the fiber in the fruit keeps your blood sugars from spiking as much which causes the increased sugar craving cycle. Once you make the switch to fruit and have gotten use to it, then you can slowly decrease the fruit to a respectable 2-3 servings a day. My blood sugars remain around 5.9 to 6.1 and my cravings for sugary foods are gone. Give it a try, it may work for you and it’s better than having the cravings all the time.

      • I second this advice about fruit, which I discovered quite by accident I am a recovering anorexic/binge eater and baked goods were my downfall. I would eat a dozen donuts or half a cake all by myself. I started eating frozen fruit as a snack and a couple of months later, that’s all the sweetness I want. I have no desire for any sugary stuff anymore. Another thing that I believe helped me was to get rid of my addiction to aspartame (sweet n low). The thing I liked about it was that it tasted sweet, which made me want more sweets. For some reason, those two things together helped me beat my sugar cravings.

  2. Great idea to use chia seeds to thicken – I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that! I think the condiment I’d have the most trouble living without is balsamic vinegar (which won’t come as much of a surprise to you!)

  3. Hi Leanne,
    What non-dairy milk do you suggest for this recipe? I usually use almond or coconut milk in recipes since I can’t consume soy.

    Thank you

    • As Michelle mentioned, hemp milk would be great! I used my homemade sunflower seed milk with this recipe and also made it with almond milk as a second batch. Both turned out great!

  4. Wow! A ranch dressing I might actually like!!

    Hmm… I don’t often use condiments – maybe that’s weird, but they’re just not a go-to item for me. :)

    • Wow, I wish I could be condiment free! I’m always whipping up batches of homemade ketchup, dressings and dips. I can’t go without them!

  5. Hi!
    I am recovered fro an ED as well and want to share my experience with sugar because i get asked this? a lot and it seems to help others. When i went in to treatment i had this “view” on sugar. I was convinced it was “bad and terrible” because every time i would eat it i would binge like crazy. I tried everything including omitting it out of my diet/gluten free diet/ carb free diet..you name it and i tried…The more i worked against my cravings the more i binged on sugar. Only when i started practicing intuitive eating did i fully get my body and health back. Yes..sugar for me is not the most ideal food and maybe in a “perfect” world we would figure out how to not have it at all but we need pleasure from food and sometimes having a little is the best option. What i learned through many trials and errors with non judgement is that if i have sweets early on in the day and its a little and i do not allow myself to feel the guilt i am ok. If i have it at night it seems to trigger my system in to many negative things. The thing i had to get rid of the most was not the sugar but… the guilt. The guilt was the thing that drove me to this over eating over indulging in the first place. Let me know if this helps at all..Lots of love!

    • Well said, Soshy. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for opening up to everyone here! I can relate to you on so many levels. I too had to get over the guilt and just tell myself (and firmly believe it) that guilt had no place in my life. The minute that you accept that and just eat to eat… a whole new world opens up. You’ve said it so beautifully. Thank you! (And you should be very proud of how far you’ve come. I know how hard it is.)

  6. You read my mind! What do I long for?! Ranch Dressing! I am looking forward to trying this out. Thank you for your thoughtful insight. Your recipes are sheer vegan genius.

  7. I am in love with spicy peanut sauce (the Thai version, not so much the Indonesian one). I could eat it by the vat full, but I hear lots of negative things about peanuts now (moulds, toxins, etc.) If you could invent a spicy ALMOND sauce (in the Thai style), I would love you forever. (Disclaimer: I already love you forever, but the Spicy Thai Almond Sauce would be like icing on a cake.) ;)

  8. I LOVE YOU FOR THIS. I came on the site to show my friend your salad dressings & WA’BAM! …just as I was complaining about how I wish I could eat ranch… I am trying this asap. WOO!

    • Ranch dressing party! Woohoo! SO happy that you’re pumped about this recipe (and thanks for showing my site to your friend!)

  9. I am a vegan (2 year) transitioned from vegetarian (14 years). It is my understanding that mustard is made with eggs. Do you know the recipe for a dijon mustard alternative?

    • Hi Elizabeth – great to hear from you! I’ve never heard of mustard made from eggs. I just checked mine and it’s egg-free. If you’re not comfortable using it, you could use mustard powder and white vinegar. I hope that helps!

  10. I just whipped up this recipe tonight! I used homemade hemp milk (3 cups water and 1/2 cup hulled hemp with a pinch of salt and sucanat). It is percolating in my fridge as we speak. The first thing I’m going to do when I wake up tomorrow morning is try it out with a big ‘ol carrot :)

    i so appreciate the supportive and helpful commentary from other readers. it feels good to know i am not alone on this journey toward a healthier and more free way of eating. thank you so much for all that you do, leanne!

  11. Definately have to try this. I can’t get my husband to use any salad dressing other than ranch and I would really like him to eat something healthier. So we’ll give this a try and see how it goes :)

    • My boyfriend (who sounds very similar to your husband) LOVED this so I’m hoping that he will, too!

  12. I wanted to leave this for the young lady trying to quit sugar. I’m 52 with a goal to get as healthy as possible with long-standing diagnoses of hypothyroidism and epilepsy. It has helped me to remove white flour from my diet and progressively change my sweetener of choice. I went from cane sugars to maple syrup to store bought honey to agave nectar to raw local honey to stevia leaf. Sometimes now, when I crave a little sugar, I can put some stevia leaf into a spoon of organic peanut butter and that satisfies me nicely. I found that for my body what felt like a sugar craving was also a little craving for a fat, as well which, the body requires some fat for healthy function.
    Be sure you forgive yourself if you fall short of your goals, get back up and go at them again. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and you’re worth it.

  13. It’s been hard to find a recipe that is similar to ranch dressing without the dairy. Dairy makes my arthritis a lot worse and without having any dairy I don’t feel my arthritis at all!

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  14. Thanks for this recipe! Just made up a batch and used almond milk. It’s “aging” in the fridge for tomorrow’s salad. I may add some cilantro in place of the chives and parsley since that’s on hand. The chia seeds should do their magic thickening! Can’t wait to discover more of your recipes. Am a new vegan!

  15. Are the chia seeds able to be left out? Our daughter has a host of allergies and I’m afraid to try these. She can handle everything else in the recipe and I’m hopeful we can make it!
    Thank you!

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  17. Made this for my 6 yr old who loves carrots and ranch, but can no longer eat dairy. Have not tried it on him yet, but I don’t care if he likes it because I LOVE it…and I don’t usually like ranch. I used raw cashews instead because that’s what I had and it is super yummy. So happy I did not have to experiment to come up with a great recipe. Thanks!

  18. I can’t wait to try this.

    RE: Sugar cravings (and other cravy food groups)

    I went the opposite direction from most here. I “went” vegetarian in college but still allowed cheese and some seafood later, stayed that way almost 20 years. I didn’t know I was really not a healthy veg as half my food came from packages! As I’m sure many of you know there’s been a huge trend toward primal/paleo and clean eating. Paleo is really nothing but vegan + organic, humanely raised in my case, meat (I still won’t touch anything with four legs unless to pet them). Ethically, I’d be veg but it was no longer feasible for my workout routines.

    In May I did a 21 day cleanse (you eat veg/fruit first week with the programs cleanse pills/smoothie powder from whole foods). The other objective was to start at ground zero, eliminate any possible allergens/intolerances and slowly add things back to pinpoint what might be affecting your health. Oh yeah, I had a point here… though it was very tough the first seven (horrid but possible for my cheesesteak, pizza eating fiance), after 21 days I’d gone without carbs, sweets, etc and LOST THE DESIRE for sweets. Became fine with no starch side dishes. Stuff out of a box tastes artificial or too salty and conventional candy way too sweet.. It brought me to a base-line I didn’t have in mind… enjoying real food. I didn’t plan to be on the primal bandwagon but now I do it with ease. Good quality high % cacao chocolate bars are now yummy to me (fiance says they taste like something used to bake something that actually tastes good which is fine because my stash is no longer gone when I go to get it those days of the month. Okay, often now that those are actually healthy and feel indulgent).

    Update: OOPS, bought dehydrated chives and dried cilantro yesterday and accidentally dosed my much-anticipated ranch with cilantro. Not so good unless you really really like cilantro (crying)

    • Wow, it sounds like that cleanse really turned things around for you! Cilantro… in ranch… hmmm not sure I’d dig it either. I loved your comment, “Paleo is really nothing but vegan + organic, humanely raised meat” I’d never, ever seen it like that… but there are definitely a lot of similarities… minus the grains. That can be challenging at times! Thanks for sharing your story, Kym (ps: I LOVE the way you spell your name!!)

  19. The best part though… the very best part.. is its soy free!!! So sick of buying dressings with soy. This is amazing thanks!!!!

  20. Love. This. Giving up cow milk was easy (we all know almond milk tastes better!) but sour cream based dips were hard for me to say goodbye to. Im trying this soon, cashews are so expensive here in MX , sunflower seeds are more economical!

  21. Question, has anyone used store bought almond milk for this recipe? The only kind I have in my fridge is sweetened… Not sure if that would turn out.. Does anyone know?
    So excited to try this recipe! Oil free, dairy free, vegan, using whole foods and spices?! Exactly what I was looking for! :)

    • Hey! I wouldn’t use sweetened almond milk, Keirstin. It may be a bit too sweet for it. Sorry… but if you do give it a try when you have other ingredients, I’d love to know what you think!

  22. Hi Leanne!

    This recipe tastes great! The first time I did it with Pine nuts and it was creamy, however when I tried it a few other times, it did not get so thick and creamy again. Do you maybe have an idea what I am doing wrong? I tried different ways, mixing it up in a blender, putting in the chia seeds at last, but I cannot get the same creamy consistency again…

    Thanks very much for your help!

    • Hey Nicki – this is a fairly old recipe… but you could try soaking the seeds in water for 4 hours beforehand?

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