Creamy Tri-Pepper Dressing

by on March 27, 2011
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I’ve been trying to eat a big salad every single day, and though I haven’t completely succeeded, especially during my recent Spring Break trip, I wouldn’t be able to eat as many as I do if I were stuck using the same boring salad dressing day after day.  I can drizzle my salad with one particular dressing for about one week, maybe two, before I get bored and need a change.

Lately I’ve been into creamy dressings that I make with a combination of plain soymilk and white balsamic vinegar.  The vinegar causes the soymilk to curdle, resulting in what I call the Buttermilk Effect.  Then I blend in whatever seasonings I’m craving that day (smoked paprika is probably my fave) along with some chia seeds, which thicken the dressing and help it cling to the salad greens.

Pink Peppercorns

A few days ago, salad boredom led me to look into my spice cabinet for something that I hadn’t yet made into a dressing, and the tiny jar of pink peppercorns practically jumped into my hand.  Pink peppercorns, if you haven’t used them before, are much milder and sweeter than black or white peppercorns, probably because they are not actually peppercorns at all, but tiny dried berries.  They have a papery outer layer and crush easily with a mortar and pestle but just sort of get pushed around in a pepper mill (I’ve tried and it doesn’t work). They’re mild enough that you can eat one out of the jar without getting red in the face, though they do build up to a modest heat if you consume many of them.

Which leads me to a warning about this dressing: It is not for the spice-shy among you.  When combined with black and white pepper, the fruity pink peppercorn becomes more assertive, and though a salad full of this dressing won’t have you gulping down gallons of water, you will feel a pleasant (to some of us) build up of heat.  I used a full teaspoon of pink peppercorns, but if you’re concerned that it might be too spicy, I recommend starting with the lesser amount–and definitely reducing the amounts of white and black pepper, which are the real heat-causers.

Creamy Tri-Pepper Salad Dressing

(printer-friendly version)


  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed after measuring
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seed (or ground flax seeds)


  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour or until dressing has thickened. Stir well before using.

Cooking time (duration): 5

Number of servings (yield): 7

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 20 calories, 3 calories from fat, less than 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 171.3mg sodium, 41.6mg potassium, 3g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 2g sugar, less than 1g protein, 0.3 points.

Copyright © Susan Voisin 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not repost recipes or photos to other websites.

If You’re Bored with Your Salad…

…check out some of these low-fat dressings:

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carolyn @Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. March 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I’m the odd one out. I can eat the same thing, day in and day out and never get bored… or well, not get bored in a normal amount of time likes months, maybe even a year!

I’ll have to spice up my salads though and give this one a go!

Thanks Susan V.


2 Katie Cain March 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Susan, thanks for the great dressing advice and having all these links in one post – I can’t wait to start experimenting with them as I’ve always used some type of oil in my dressings. I enjoyed learning about the pink peppercorns as well, as I had only seen them at the store and wondered about them. (And I’m loving the smoked paprika these days too!)


3 chocolate-covered katie March 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I know I never comment, but I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your photography, Susan.

In fact, I was reading a cookbook today and loved the photos so much I looked up who took them… it was you! 🙂


4 SusanV March 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Thanks so much, Katie! You must have been reading Vegan Express. It’s the first cookbook I photographed and the only one that’s been released. The second, Nava Atlas’s Vegan Holiday Kitchen, will be published later this year.


5 Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) March 28, 2011 at 5:32 am

Susan, it’s awesome to hear that you are photographing other authors’ books. I have always admired your mad photo skills and great art direction!!!!!


6 Christopher Kandrat March 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Great recipe, improved my salad experience my ten times fold.


7 Mrsflex March 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm

This sounds delicious. I’ll have to look for pink peppercorns next time I shop. It never would have occured to me to add chia seeds to thicken the dressing. What a brilliant idea! I can’t wait to try this.


8 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner March 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I love love love you!!!! YAY for vegan salad dressing! 😀 Your recipes are so amazing!

Spicy stuff is my kind of food! This sounds delicious! I love that you used tofu! 😀



9 zendotstudio March 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I love salad and mostly eat a big salad everyday but yes this is the problem, varying the dressing. If I don’t I tend to think oh, no I can’t eat another salad but if I vary I am quite happy. Currently loving a cilantro pesto dressing and a tahini lemon dressing


10 SusanV March 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Those sound like great dressings. I love anything with tahini in it!


11 Georgia March 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

That sounds wonderful. With spring headed my way, I’m getting more and more excited about good produce coming back and eating big salads every day. I am always looking for new dressing ideas, because I too get bored with the same old thing.


12 molly March 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

How do you get vitamin B12 without eating any animal products? I’ve been learning about it and just wondering about vegan eaters.


13 SusanV March 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

Hi Molly, many vegan packaged foods contain added B12–soymilk, cereal, and meat substitutes, to name a few. But since I don’t want to rely on packaged foods, I make sure to take B12 supplements regularly and to use nutritional yeast in my cooking (actually, nutritional yeast tastes great and is a flavor enhancer, so that’s the biggest reason I use it; the B12 is just a bonus). B12 is actually made by bacteria, so supplements are vegan. Most people over 50 (which I am) should be taking B12 supplements even if they’re non-veg because our need for it can increase over time. Here’s a helpful article about vegans and B12 and a cute video that mentions it.


14 ella April 8, 2011 at 3:34 am

hi susan,
i am a shy lurker and have never commented on any of your delicious recipes or gorgeous photos before, but i had to tell you how grateful i am to have read the B12 article that you linked to above. for a long time, i had been attributing fatigue and such to my work and school schedules, but after trying out a B12 supplement for only a week, i have been feeling 1000% better. it is really amazing, and i can’t thank you enough!


15 SusanV April 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

Oh, I am so glad you found the articles and that you’re feeling better! I wish I could get every vegan to read them because B12 is so important.


16 Archana March 28, 2011 at 10:48 am

Must try this my daughter will love it.


17 Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) March 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

I am on a serious salad a day kick myself and totally agree… Keeping the dressings changing keeps me going back. Never thought to use soymilk as a base either. Great idea! I’ve never tried pink peppercorns, but now I’m curious!!


18 Andrea @ Vegvacious March 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I’ve been challenging myself to eating one salad per day as well! I have recently discovered a love for homemade dressings. I will never buy dressing at the store again. Your dressing looks really yummy.


19 Priya Mahadevan March 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Susan, love the Salad – and the title of your blog – I am not vegan – anything but!
But I am a vegetarian and I do make many vegan recipes – I have been trying to eat sensibly, but by nature not a salad person, having had cooked food all my life 🙂
But I am developing a taste for the raw greens and some times the pictures of salads I see are actually starting to turn me on, and dressings such as the one you’ve given the recipe for add to that desire 🙂
Please do stop by my blog if you like fusion food and vegetarian recipes from different cuisines 🙂 cheers, Priya


20 Sara @ Veggies For Real March 29, 2011 at 8:19 am

I’ve never made anything with pink peppercorns, aside from those that come in the mixed peppercorn grinders. Also, I had absolutely no idea they were a berry! I really think that the key to being able to consistently eat salads is to vary your dressings. I find the Magic Bullet (I know, corny made for TV product, but it works) to be extremely convenient for these kind of quick recipes. Also, I like that you can store the dressing in the same cup you blended it in; it cuts down on the dishes.
As always, your pictures are fantastic. A real inspiration for those of us just getting started in food photography.


21 Donna Liebich March 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

Yes, Susan, your pictures are always wonderful, and I want to ask a picture related question. . . . didn’t you recently have a small picture at the bottom of the printer friendly version of your recipes? I loved that!


22 SusanV March 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I did, but when no one mentioned it, I stopped doing it. But since you said you loved it, I will start adding it again. Thanks for letting me know!


23 Donna Liebich March 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Thanks so much, Susan. So glad I mentioned it!!!


24 Dawn March 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Susan–Off topic—Didn’t know how else to comment. I wanted to tell you that I made your Banana Blueberry Bread last night and it is dangerously delicious! So, so, so yummy. And easy. I had three ripe bananas that needed to be used so I found that recipe. I also made your recipe for Grape Leaves stuffed with lentils and rice. I’ve made it before and this time is to share with friends. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. Thanks again for all these great recipes!–Dawn


25 Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 30, 2011 at 6:52 am

Yum! I love using ground flax and chia for thickening dressings… it adds the perfect amount of texture and fatty mouthfeel… so good!


26 Marge Evans March 30, 2011 at 10:22 am

how long does this dressing keep?


27 SusanV March 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

It’s best when used within a week or two.


28 Laura March 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hi Susan,

This recipe looks great. Would unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk work for this, or is soymilk a must?



29 SusanV March 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

I haven’t used other milks, but I think they could be used. The dressing might not thicken as well, so plan to maybe double the chia seed.


30 Andrea @ Vegvacious March 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm

PS – Your new photo and new hair cut/colour looks fantastic!!


31 SusanV March 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

Thanks, Andrea! I thought it was about time to update that photo. It was several years out of date!


32 Amy March 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I, too, am on the “BIG” salad a day and I really needed some inspiration. My grocery didn’t have pink peppercorns, but they did have a multi-peppercorn mix that I used instead. I also put this in my Vitamix, which of course made it incredibly creamy!


33 SusanV March 31, 2011 at 7:46 am

I’m so glad you liked it! The Vitamix is the best, isn’t it?


34 Jill March 31, 2011 at 12:22 am

Cute new photo of you on your Web site!


35 SusanV March 31, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thanks, Jill! This one actually looks like how I look now.


36 اعلانات مبوبة March 31, 2011 at 3:45 am

I am on a serious salad a day kick myself and totally agree


37 Lori April 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I immediately added pink peppercorns to my Whole Foods list and stopped there after work last night. VOILA! I found them. I will definitely be making this dressing. It sounds very good. Thanks, Susan!


38 Donca April 4, 2011 at 6:57 am

I’ll have to try this recipe. Sounds like a great way to spice up a boring salad. I’m going to try using almond milk.


39 rocketandrosesvegankitchen April 5, 2011 at 5:16 am

Morning Susan
Hope you enjoyed your break? I made the Tri Pepper Dressing yesterday evening to use for lunch today and I’ve just checked it and it seems to have gone badly wrong…it has separated very badly..if it was a cocktail it would be quite impressive! lol. Has this happened when you have made it? Or anyone else? I followed the recipe faithfully but had to use flax seed..did I maybe need more?
I’ve read and re-read the recipe many times and can’t find a place where I could have gone wrong? Any advice, other than try again? lol Which I will do anyway…just wanted to ask in case it does separate like that….


40 SusanV April 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

Red, I don’t think you did anything wrong. Mine separated too, which I why I mentioned stirring before serving. It’s even better if you can keep it in a shaker bottle and shake it up well. The flax seed may be a little less powerful a thickener than chia, so if you want it thicker, add some more. But mainly, stir it up. 🙂 The separating won’t hurt it–think of it as oil and vinegar.


41 rocketandrosesvegankitchen April 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hey there Susan…I think I’ll try a little more flax next time. I had given it a good shake up and used it on my lunchtime salad and it was delicious. I will be making this often.
I blogged about it today and put in a link to the recipe. I hope others do try it because it was so good.
Great new pic, you have there!


42 Eunice April 7, 2011 at 1:33 am

A new salad dressing for me! Thanks for sharing to us how to revamp our seemingly typical salad. With the added spiciness, I sure hope that heat will build up on my mouth. Thanks for sharing to us these links and keep up the good work!


43 Sue May 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

This is a fabulous salad dressing – the first one I’ve been able to pour over a salad for guests without ever having to explain “well, it’s fat-free” or “mm, it’s vegan.”


44 Alan October 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I like the addition of the chia seeds; great souce of omega 3’s. I stumbled across your blog, and it’s interesting to say the least. I have never heard of a strictly fat free vegan diet. I agree with you on processed oils as being dangerous to your health. I won’t eat anything with canola oil in it, period. How do you feel about EVOO and coconut oil, or just EFA’s in tandem with protein intake?


45 susan August 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Hi!!! Love love love your recipes. Was wondering if I could use almond milk in this recipe or will it change the taste too much??? Thanks for sharing!


46 Susan Voisin August 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm

My main worry about almond milk is that it doesn’t curdle and thicken like soy milk. So besides the flavor being a bit different, you may find the dressing too runny. But you could try doubling the chia or flax seed. Please let me know how it comes out if you try it.


47 suzan February 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

WOW! I just made up the creamy salad dressing you have posted above and it was fantastic! The only pepper I added was fresh ground black, I also added in some Italian herbs. It satisfied my creamy ranch dressing craving and I swear it would be hard to tell the difference between this and the bottled fatty stuff! Thanks lady, keep ’em coming! suzan


48 Charlene May 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

The first time I made it the dressing was very good flavor but not thick it just ran to the bottom of the plate. I didn’t use Unsweet Soy, because I am allergic, instead I used Unsweet Almond Milk and 1/2 tsp of ground flax seed meal. This didn’t turn out thick at all, but still good however.

The second time, OMG……..SO GOOD!
I used my own homemade almond milk (marinate 1 cup of almonds in mason jar filled with water for 1-2 days, pour out water, put almonds in blender with 2 cups of fresh water blend for 1 minute and squeeze through nutmilk bag). Then I used 2 teaspoons of ground flax seed to add more texture and hopefully make it creamier. And let me just say WOW! It is super creamy and I am so glad I found a low calorie dressing that is actually good. Thank you!


49 Charlene May 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

I made way too much, can it be freezed


50 Neal Sims July 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Your site has helped me more than any other resource. My wife and I bacame fat free vegans about 3 years ago and had almost zero success finding fat free recipes anywhere. The ones we found were generally not very tasty. I print off a recipe or two almost every week. Last night we tried the fat free baked portabella fries which were delicious. We are baking onions now to make your onion cream. We are excited about some new salad dressings.
I get your emails and facebook postings which keep me interested.
Thanks for your good work.


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