Briefly, I want to explain to you why I do believe that all oils are not essential or nutritious for our overall health and vitality. Basically, our bodies have to contain a certain percentage of fat to function properly. We all know this, yes? But, in many cases we consume much more fat than is necessary, or healthy for that matter. The amount of fats which we need (ideally derived from whole plant based overt fats) isn't that large at all. In fact, it is quite small percentage, only 12-16% body fat for males and 18-24% body fat for woman. 

Yes, before you stop me, I recognize that healthy fats are necessary for proper brain function. But please notice that I said "healthy" fats, not "healthy oils." For me, these fats are easily obtained by consumption of avocados, coconut meat, walnuts, flax seeds, brazil nuts, cashews, hemp seeds, chia seeds and dark, leafy greens. These fats are necessary for the brain and it's ability to send messages and quickly trigger responses in our body. 

Which type of fats are best for brain health?

Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids , and polyunsaturated fats are best. These can be found in many plant foods including walnuts, hemp and chia. Not only will they contribute to better bodily functioning overall, they contain antioxidants and unprocessed natural oils that help joints, nerves, and bones. They also possess the properties that are required to lower the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, and have proven effects on lowering high blood pressure. But, as healthy as they can be when consumed in proper amounts, they can be detrimental to our health when consumed obsessively. Dr. McDougall does a wonderful job elaborating on this topic.. Take it away Dr. M

Dr. McDougall on Oil

In nature there are no “free” vegetable oils; all are obtained by man-made processing. These important nutrients are bound within the substances of plants and in this complex form are essential for good health. When these oils are processed free of their surrounding fibers, vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, they become medicines at best, and toxic at worst. Some of the common consequences of consuming these so-called “good fats,” even flaxseed and fish oil, are obesity, type-2 diabetes, bleeding, immune system depression and cancer.

When the oils are removed from their natural environments—for example, from the seeds of corn, soybeans, safflowers, or flax, or the fruit of an olive or avocado—they are no longer a food.  Yes, they do supply concentrated calories—but the rest of the original nutrition found in the plant parts is absent.  In this state, the free oils can display powerful pharmacological effects—some beneficial and some harmful.  This would be analogous to removing vitamins and minerals from plants and making supplements.  I don’t call supplements food, do you?  However, the effects of concentrated, isolated oils are usually even more potent than those seen with supplements.


Briefly, oils are exceptionally high in calories (120 calories in one tablespoon of Olive Oil, 21% of those calories coming directly from fat,) while entirely lacking all vitamins, nutrients and minerals.

Oils contain no healthy carbohydrates, fiber or protein. They do not contain any water, nor are they considered a "whole food."



Okay.. Now onto the good stuff


No-Oil Salad Dressings for the Plant Based Foodie


Almond Ginger Dressing

Adapted from a recipe from drfuhrman.com

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
1 cup water
4 tablespoons tahini or un-hulled sesame seeds
6 dates, pitted
2 small cloves garlic or 1 medium clove garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

Place all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired.

Chef AJ's Husband's Favorite No-oil Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup of Balsamic Vinegar (4% acidity preferred)*
4 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
3 Tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, coconut aminos or tamari (Trader Joe's brand has only 465 mg of sodium per tablespoons)
3 tablespoons of date syrup - Could use maple syrup
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Refrigerate any unused portion.

*Using a good balsamic makes all the difference in this recipe. Most balsamic vinegars have at least 6% acidity and they are very strong and sharp. Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve, available at Whole Foods has only 4% acidity and it is naturally sweeter and less sharp. 

Engine 2 Inspired Orange Hummus Dressing

3 Tbsp plain Hummus
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
1 tsp maple syrup

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.

HGK Note: Just a reminder, you can keep fresh ginger  and orange juice concentrate (just spoon out what you need and reseal the container) in your freezer at all times, which I do. And hummus, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and mustard are all staples in any Healthy Girl's kitchen. That makes this dressing a snap to throw together without having to stress about making a trip to the grocery store.

Cashew Currant Dressing
adapted from a recipe from drfuhrman.com
Serves: 2-4

1/4 cup raw cashews or 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
1/3 cup unsweetened soy, hemp or almond milk
1 peeled apple, sliced
2 tablespoons dried currants or raisins

Blend cashews or cashew butter with soy milk and sliced apples in a high powered blender until smooth. Add the currants and blend well.

Dr. Barnard's Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Makes enough dressing for 1 large salad

1 large roasted red pepper
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve and enjoy.


Lori's Red Pepper Dressing
inspired by Dr. Barnard's Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

"I often start with a jar of roasted peppers and then add what ever inspires me that day. I had a can of artichoke hearts and some fresh basil that needed to be used."

1 jar roasted red peppers (with liquid)
1 can artichoke hearts (with liquid)
1/2 c. fresh basil
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs. raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients and enjoy :) 
Keeps for at least 1 week in the refrigerator.


Healthy Girl's Asian Low Oil Dressing
adapted from a recipe from drfuhrman.com


1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.


Dr. Fuhrman's Almond Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves: 6

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup roasted garlic rice vinegar (I used plain rice vinegar)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raw almonds or 1/8 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup raisins
4 cloves garlic, pressed (I used 3)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender.


E2 Basics Dressing
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon, lime or orange
1 Tbsp agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp wheat germ
Water to desired consistency (I didn't use any)

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.


Dijon Pistachio Dressing/Dip
from drfuhrman.com

1 1/3 cups water
1 cup raw pistachio nuts, unsalted
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
4 teaspoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest or Mrs. Dash seasoning
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 Deglet Noor dates or 2 or 3 Medjool dates

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.


Tomato-Basil Dressing
recipe courtesy Kitchen of Health

2 Roma tomatoes, cored
1 red bell pepper, cored
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
6-8 basil leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of sea salt
~ 1 Cup water

Blend 1st seven ingredients and half of the water until smooth. Add more water until you attain the desired consistency. Refrigerate unused portions. Makes about 3 cups.


Orange Peach Mango Dressing
recipe courtesy Kitchen of Health

1 c. sliced peaches, peeled
1 c. sliced mangoes, peeled
1 c. orange juice
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1 Tb. grated fresh ginger

Blend until smooth. If needed, add water for a desirable consistency. Refrigerate unused portions. Makes about 3 cups.


Creamy Avocado Dressing
recipe courtesy Kitchen of Health

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. lime zest
1 cucumber
~ 1/2 Cup water
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adjusting water to get desired consistency. Refrigerate unused portions. Makes 3+ cups.


Sharon's Japanese Exchange Student Dressing

Equal parts:
Crushed onion
Rice Vinegar
Sweet Saki
Soy Sauce


The Healthy Librarian's Creamy Chipotle Dressing

10.5 ounces of Mori-Nu Silken firm low-fat tofu
1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I wanted this to be easy, so I used Santa Cruz's bottled organic real lemon juice) Note: I bet lime juice would be good, too!
1 1/2 teaspoons agave, or brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 dried chipotle (I found this at my regular grocery store--if you're "heat"-sensitive, start with a half, & then add more.
3 tablespoons of chopped shallots (I've really grown to love this delicate onion-like veg)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or not)
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1 fresh garlic clove, minced


Put everything into your blender and blend until it's all smooth. Taste it--and adjust the seasoning. If you don't like things too hot, use less chipotle to start, taste, and then add more.
This dressing keeps in the refrigerator, covered well, for a week. Serve chilled.



Nathan Pritikin's Italian Dressing

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup salad vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup water
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients.


HGK's Creamy Asian Dressing
adapted from a recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com/

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup raw almonds
Juice of one lime (2+ Tbsp, and you could even use more)
4 Tbsp mellow white miso
6 dates pitted or 1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or Tamari or Nama Shoyu
1 cup water

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.


Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing

Makes about 2 cups

15 ounces silken tofu, drained/squeezed dry
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp celery seed
3/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp fine black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp maple syrup - grade b (start with 1 Tbsp and add to taste)

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and process until smooth.


Me Again's Fruity Orange Dressing

Supreme an orange for salad, then squeeze out all juice from remaining orange into small bowl. Add equal amount (+/-) raspberry vinegar or rice vinegar, equal amount (+/-) water, some minced onion or shallot, a few shakes of Mrs Dash seasoning, and a small amount of your favorite sweetener. Whisk together.


Cooking in Color's Simple No-oil Dressing

Equal parts Dijon or stone-ground mustard, agave nectar (HGK recommends maple syrup), and unseasoned rice wine vinegar


Cooking in Color's Catalina Dressing

1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. minced onion, 1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use Annie's Naturals Organic Worcestershire sauce)
sprinkling of black pepper
optional: apple juice


Blend this up until smooth and add about 1/4 c. water or until desired thickness. I occasionally make this sweeter by adding some apple juice.


Piquant Dressing
from Jennifer Raymond's vegetarian cookbook Fat-Free and Easy

1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar (I use unseasoned)
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. stone ground mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed or crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cumin

Whisk all ingredients together.


Cooking in Color's Smoky Tomato Dressing
based on one in Joanne Stepaniak's The Saucy Vegetarian

1/4 c ketchup
1/4 c apple juice
1/4 c white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
several drops of liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste


Blend this until smooth, adding water to dilute until desired thickness. (Extra sweetener might be needed depending on the sweetness of the ketchup.)
If too thick dilute it with a little water or orange juice to desired consistency.


Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease's Hummus Salad Dressing

Engine 2 Diet
(Makes 1/4 cup)

2 heaping tablespoons no tahini hummus
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or vinegar of choice
1/2 teaspoon mustard of choice

Mix and use or refrigerate for later use.


Chef Aj's House Dressing
courtesy of Chef Aj, http://www.chefajshealthykitchen.com/

1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons Dijon or stone ground mustard
4 tablespoons sodium tamari or raw coconut aminos
6 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
8 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon date syrup or maple syrup


Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Jane Esselstyn's 3-2-1 Dressing

3 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp agave (Would sub in maple syrup)


Appetite for Reduction's Basic Dressing
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

¼ cup cashew pieces
2 Tbsp chopped shallot
½ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
2 tsp Dijon
1 tsp agave (Would sub in maple syrup)
¾ tsp salt
A few pinches of pepper

Blend 5 minutes in blender or until very smooth. 


Tom Fronczak's Fruity No-oil Dressing

1/4 cup blueberries (or raspberries, strawberries, peaches etc etc)
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
4 whole dates (I prefer dates to sweeten, but you could use agave, or maple syrup)
1 small shallot
1 T sunflower seeds (Dr Fuhrman tells us some fat in a salad aids nutrient absorption)
splash of water
Dash of some fresh black pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend it up and enjoy! Refrigerates well for 4-5 days.


Green Goddess Garlic Dressing

2-3 average sized cloves of garlic
1/2 C fresh chives
1/2 cup fresh parsley
3 T tahini
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T miso
1/3 C water
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt


Pulse the garlic, the chives, and the parsley in a food processor to chop everything up. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times. Now adjust to your liking. More salt, more garlic, you can thin the dressing with a 1 or 2 T of water. Note, it will thicken a bit as it's refrigerated, so if it appears thin, don't worry.


Very Benevolent Caesar Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons almond meal (or wheat germ)
3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup water


Combine almond meal, garlic, mustard and nutritional yeast to make a paste, then whisk in the remaining ingredients.


Jen's Sweet & Spicy Dressing

2 tsp Major Grey's Mango Chutney
1.5 tsp Apricot Jam
1.5 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp almond or soy milk to thin 

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.


Jen's Easy/Out of a Jar Dressing

Trader Joe's or Whole Food's Brand 365 Salsa Verde or
Green Mountain Gringo Salsa

Use on taco-style salad.