This easy recipe for vegan Italian salad dressing is fresh, tangy, and delicious. With red wine vinegar, garlic, and a bit of basil, it has all the classic Italian flavors. It is also creamy thanks to the dijon mustard that emulsifies with the olive oil in this dressing. Plus this Italian dressing has an amazing "cheesy" flavor thanks to nutritional yeast.
This homemade vegan salad dressing is gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. It is also sugar-free which makes it a great salad dressing recipe for those on a keto, low-carb, or diabetic diet. Do not worry, it may not have all those things but it sure has a lot of yummy goodness to love. This vegan vinaigrette has so much flavor thanks to the herbs, spices, and fresh lemon juice.
After so much frustration with unhealthy salad dressing at the stores, making my own dressing has become a more common practice. The amount of sugar in bottled dressings is ridiculous. This Italian dressing recipe uses only real healthy ingredients. It has no sugar, no MSG, and no chemicals.
This Italian recipe for homemade salad dressing consists of a base of quality olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice. To that, you add herbs, spices, and more. For the creamy consistency, there is mustard. It helps emulsify this vinaigrette recipe.
Finally, for a cheese flavor that is so classic in an Italian dressing, there is nutritional yeast. This is a great vegan substitute for parmesan or romano cheese which is commonly found in Italian dressing recipes. It is worth making this purchase if you do not have it on hand, so yummy!
What is Nutritional Yeast?
If you are not familiar with nutritional yeast, it is a vegan ingredient that replaces cheese in many recipes. It is commonly sold in flakes, granules, and powder forms. For this recipe, we are using flakes to mimic the grated texture of parmesan cheese.
Nutritional yeast is a good vegan source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B-1, riboflavin, and more. It also contains all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein while being a great vegan option. There are 8 grams of protein in ¼ cup of nutritional yeast. Plus a bonus of 3 grams of fiber. Check out all the Benefits of Nutritional Yeast.
- Olvie Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Lemon Juice
- Nutritional Yeast
- Dijon Mustard
- Dried Basil
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
See the recipe card for quantities.
Like most homemade salad dressing recipes, they do not require much time, effort, or equipment. This Italian vinaigrette is super simple to make. Once you have the ingredients ready, grab a mason jar, a container that has a tight-fitting lid, or a mixing bowl.
Hint: Make sure you are using a mason jar, container, or bowl that can hold more than 1 cup of liquid. This will make about 1 cup of dressing.
Begin by adding the liquid ingredients to the mason jar. Pour in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.
To the liquids, add the dijon mustard. Next, add the nutritional yeast. This dressing calls for 1 tablespoon for a mild cheese taste. You can add more if you wish - see the section below for "Variations".
Add the garlic powder & dried basil to the other ingredients.
Next add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Shaking up the Best Vegan Italian Dressing
Once all the ingredients are in the mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly. I suggest holding it over the sink and tipping it a bit back and forth to make sure you have a good seal. You want to make sure no liquid will leak out once you get shaking.
This is what the dressing will look like before it is shaken. Look at all those pretty layers of oil, vinegar, spices, and more. The nutritional yeast and mustard will settle on the bottom and the oil will rise to the top. In between are all the tasty herbs and spices.
With the lid on tight, shake the mason jar vigorously for 15 seconds. The dressing should come together.
Once it is mixed thoroughly it will look like this. All the spices and nutritional yeast will be floating around.
How to Enjoy Vegan Italian Salad Dressing
This dressing is amazing on salads, as a marinade, or as a drizzle on so many things. You can use this dressing on your favorite salads, cooked vegetables, or as a dip for raw veggies.
This Italian dressing recipe is also great as a dip for crusty bread like my CIABATTA or on pasta as a spiced-up version of Aglio e Olio. My favorite way to enjoy this homemade vinaigrette is on my VEGAN ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD. It is packed with yummy classic ingredients like Ceci beans (garbanzo), tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and more.
This dressing recipe is already gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, sugar-free, and nut-free. However, you may need to make a substitution based on personal taste or another dietary need. Here are some ideas to switch out some ingredients.
- Red Wine Vinegar - instead of red wine vinegar you can use other vinegars such as white wine vinegar, Champagne vinegar, etc.
- Dijon Mustard - use any other mustard if you have it on hand, it will still help make the dressing creamy
- Nutritional Yeast - you can also use vegan parmesan cheese if you have that to enjoy a salty cheesy flavor for this dressing.
One of the things I love about making my own salad dressings is that you can personalize it and make it exactly how you like it. This recipe is fantastic as is but if you must, make some changes. Here are some ideas to help customize this Italian vinaigrette into a variation you may want to try.
- "Extra Cheesy" - add an extra tablespoon of nutritional yeast
- Spicy - double the red pepper flakes
- Sweet - if it's too acidic for your tastebuds, add 1 teaspoon of zero-calorie monk fruit sweetener
For a great vegan marinade, try my BEST LEMON PEPPER MARINADE.
This homemade vinaigrette dressing stores well in the refrigerator. Simply seal the mason jar lid tightly. Or if you mixed the Italian dressing in a container with an air-tight lid, use that to store. Place it in the refrigerator to keep any leftover dressing. It will be good for 7-10 days.
Can you Freeze Italian Dressing?
This Italian dressing is a vinaigrette which does freeze better than a mayo-based dressing would. You can freeze Italian dressing in an air-tight container for up to 6 months. To defrost, place it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. To bring it back to life, you may need to whisk in fresh olive oil and dijon mustard.
If your refrigerator runs cold, the dressing may solidify a bit as the olive oil chills. You may need to place the jar of dressing on the counter as you prep your salad. This will allow it to come to room temperature for a few minutes. Gently shake the sealed mason jar to combine all the ingredients and flavors. Then pour carefully over your salad and toss to enjoy.
Vegan Italian Salad Dressing
- Mason Jar or Container with tight-fitting lid
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Grab a mason jar, a container with a tight-fitting lid, or a small mixing bowl. Whichever you are using to make this dressing in, make sure it is at least 1.5 cups in its capacity.
- Begin by adding the liquid ingredients to the mason jar. Pour in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.
- To the liquids, add the dijon mustard. Next, add the nutritional yeast. This dressing calls for 1 tablespoon for a mild cheese taste.
- Add the garlic powder & dried basil to the other ingredients.
- Next add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Once all the ingredients are in the mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly.
- With the lid on tight, shake the mason jar vigorously for 15 seconds. The dressing should come together.If using a bowl, grab a whisk to combine.
- Add it to your favorite salad - including my Vegan Italian Chopped Salad that I shared a link to above.
- Place leftovers in the refrigerator to keep fresh. It will be good for 7-10 days.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8.5g||11%|
|Saturated Fat 1.2g||6%|
|Total Carbohydrate 0.4g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.2g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|