Spicy hot and full of flavor, this creamy, vegan chipotle dressing is surprisingly low in fat and calories and is oil-free, nut-free and gluten-free.
Last week I shared the Simple Chopped Salad that my whole family continues to love. My daughter would be happy to eat it every night, and she even asked me to make it for her school lunch. For my own lunchtime salad, I prefer something a little spicier and without the high-fat olives and walnuts, so I’ve been varying the ingredients and trying different salad dressings. This combination of a Southwestern-style salad and a spicy vegan chipotle dressing has had my taste buds ablaze.
The salad ingredients are obvious from the photos. I filled a bowl up with one heart of romaine lettuce, chopped, and then added black beans, sliced sweet and jalapeno peppers, cubed zucchini, halved grape tomatoes, and sliced radishes. To tell the truth, I usually put it in a much bigger bowl than you see here so that I can add dressing and then toss it all together. But that doesn’t make for as pretty a picture.
The dressing was simple to make in my Vitamix. Lately I’ve been trying to make creamy salad dressings without resorting to using cashews or other nuts, so I’ve been using lemon juice to curdle soy milk and then adding ground flax seed for more thickness. I find that soy milk makes a thicker dressing than other types of non-dairy milk, but I’m sure that others will work; adjust the flax seed as needed.
This is an intentionally spicy dressing because I tend to prefer things hot enough to make my eyes water. To me, the half teaspoon of chipotle powder gives this a medium amount of heat, though I suspect that some people will find it too hot while others will find it mild. So adjust the amount of chipotle to fit your taste.
Another note: I used tomato powder to give the dressing just a slight tomato flavor. If you’re not familiar with it, tomato powder is made from dehydrated and ground tomatoes–nothing else. I’m sure you can make it yourself, but I buy it already packaged and keep it tightly sealed in the fridge. I love to add it to soups and stews or anywhere I want to add a little tomato flavor. You can even use it in recipes instead of tomato paste or sauce by mixing it with water. It’s saved me a lot of times when I didn’t happen to have a can of tomato paste on hand.
Holy Moly Spicy Chipotle Dressing
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk or other non-dairy milk
- 4 teaspoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 of 1 medjool date pitted (or a pinch of sweetener of choice)
- 1 clove small garlic
- 1 teaspoon white miso or salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon tomato powder or 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or chipotle chiles in adobo or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- additional milk or water as needed
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Let it sit for a minute and then check the thickness. However thick it is now, it will be much thicker after refrigerating, so add more non-dairy milk or water to thin it, if necessary.
- Pour into a bottle or jar and refrigerate to thicken and allow flavors to develop.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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moonwatcherFebruary 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm
This looks great! The photo is gorgeous too. I really like the idea of using a non-diary milk soured with a little lemon juice and thickened with ground flax. I am definitely going to try this, though since I’m not a hot spicy gal I might sub the chipotle powder with smoked paprika. I little smoky spicy taste wtihout as much heat. This is a really great–and easy strategy. Thanks!!
nlh110February 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm
How timely, I just got back from the spice store and bought a chipotle pepper to add to my spices. I was just perusing thru dressing recipes that would get me thru eating salads for a few weeks while I do the “eat to live” 6 week plan to tone up.
As a side note I made the tofu mayonnaise, didn’t like it at all and put it in the fridge to give to the dogs. The next day I tasted it again before giving to the puppies and the spices had really come together nicely. I now make it a lot.
Eating the miso soup and jackfruit wraps as I write this. You are quite the celebrity in our house! Many thanks for all you do.
DeidreFebruary 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm
I’ve been mostly vegetarian for a long time and switched to fully vegan, 100% whole foods last year. So many vegan recipes rely on more oil than I’m comfortable using, so your website has been a huge help to me. Also, thank you for the nutritional information. I really like to see the breakdown of what I’m eating. I have tried many of your recipes and look forward to all your new posts (even though I’m continually searching your database). This one looks like a winner! I’m always looking for new dressings for that lunch salad. Thank you so much for your recipe development and your beautiful photos. If you ever publish a cook book, I’d love to buy it!
DawnFebruary 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm
EmmaFebruary 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm
I’m so intrigued by the idea of curdling the soy milk and adding flax for thickening the dressing! Very ingenious. I feel like I’ve been overdoing the nuts lately so I’m particularly grateful for an alternative.
I love the flavour of chipotle too.
JenniFebruary 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm
This sounds great! Salad dressings make the salad. Love the color, too!
marilynFebruary 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm
loved the dressing!! but no picture of Loki………………why?
CarrieFebruary 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm
Holy moly, my husband and I love this dressing! Creamy spicy goodness and quick to whip up! I make many of your recipes, learning about wonderful new spices like chipotle chili powder.
SeasonalVeganFebruary 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm
Each year my husband goes on a health kick around February. For the past 2 years it has been “Vegan Month” for the month of February. I just wanted to say Thank You sooooooo much, Susan. Quite a few of your recipes helped get us through the month & several of them will be joining the regular list of meals that us “seasonal vegans” eat year round.
Deborah SingerFebruary 25, 2014 at 3:19 am
This sounds amazing. I love spicy anythings so yeah this is being added to my recipe collection. I never actually thought about making a creamy dressing without cream of some sort though, so thanks for the tip there.
CherylFebruary 25, 2014 at 3:47 am
About how long do you think this would keep in the refrigerator?
Susan VoisinFebruary 25, 2014 at 7:37 am
I don’t like to keep dressings for more than a week, which is why I don’t make a whole lot of it at once. It might keep longer than that, but I don’t want to take the risk of it going bad.
Molly (Based on a Sprue Story)February 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm
Your salad veggies look wonderfully crisp and refreshing! I imagine the dressing is a perfect addition. (I too love eye-wateringly spicy food.)
RobinFebruary 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm
Susan, this was fantastic! Thank you!
Robyn B | Modern Day MissusFebruary 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm
Yummmmm… that looks delicious, and love all the the beautiful colours in the salad.
Convenient KitchenMarch 2, 2014 at 9:11 am
This looks awesome! I bet it would be great on tacos, too.
SJ CoryMarch 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm
Easy recipe to modify. I did not have tomato powder so I used ketchup. I forgot to put in the flaxseed, but the dressing came out AMAZING! Thank you so much.
SaraMarch 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Love this new dressing recipe! I used almond milk and no sweetener, cumin seeds instead of powder (we were out of ground), and since I had no tomato powder or paste, I threw in about a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato bits. I made a beautiful salad with black beans, corn, sweet potato, broccoli stems, carrots, mushrooms, and red onion and this dressing was the perfect topper! All my coworkers were envious of my lunch this week 🙂
Tanya AApril 5, 2014 at 11:43 am
Thanks so much for this recipe. It’s the CSA season of an abundance of greens and I love the idea of a vegan chopped salad (at least this is what it makes me think of). Also, I love the idea of tomato powder! I am so bad about keeping tomato paste around. So I had some organic sun dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil) and I put them in my magic bullet and voila! I can see using this a lot! You are the best!
BrittneyApril 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm
My husband and I LOVE this dressing! I decided to multiple it by 4 when making it. So delicious! I’ve always been disappointed by grocery store dressings because of how sweet they tasted and of course the ridiculous amount of fat in them so for years I’ve only been using balsamic vinegar.
I’ll try to move onto your other dressing recipes, but I am so in love with this one. Plus, I am generally in love with foods with cumin in it.
BrittneyApril 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm
I also chose not to use the sweetener.
SoyloveJune 5, 2014 at 3:22 am
This dressing helps me a lot to go through my 500 cal days (5:2 diet) with all the vegies I can eat! By the way: thanks for all your 200 cal recipes !
VanessaJune 10, 2014 at 11:47 pm
I pulled this off with unsweetened vanilla almond milk! It was great and I’m not even vegan. I assume one of the highest compliments your recipes could receive is a glowing recommendation from a non-vegan 🙂
Ellen CrabtreeJune 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Holy moly Susan that’s delicious!
dianneDecember 7, 2014 at 9:22 am
This is AMAZING dressing, and I didn’t even make it right!!!!! I used ketchup for the tomato powder, and jalapeno and adobo seasoning powder for the chipotle, and it came out wonderful! I can’t wait to actually make it the right way – the smokiness of the chipotle will be great! My version of a chopped salad is mixed greens, onion, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, and zucchini, all at a 1/8th inch chop. I make a huge container of it on Sunday to last till Friday. eating a big bowl of it once or twice a day with the addition of different beans, nuts/seeds, fruit, and dressing to suit my mood. This dressing with black beans, diced mango, and sunflower seeds is my new favorite version of it!!!!!!!!
NicoleMay 11, 2015 at 10:28 am
I have everything for this recipe except the tomato paste! Any suggestions for substitutions?
Susan VoisinMay 11, 2015 at 10:38 am
Do you have tomato sauce? You could reduce the amount of non-dairy milk by a tablespoon and use 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
Camille ChapmanFebruary 22, 2016 at 10:57 am
I buy large cans of tomato paste and freeze scoops of it in an ice cube tray, then put it in a zip lock bag and store in the freezer. I always have a Tablespoon of tomato paste whenever I need it! Your salad dressing looks great – I must try it tonight!
NicoleMay 11, 2015 at 10:45 am
I ended up substituting ketchup, and adding a quarter of an avocado to make it creamy. Delicious with with simple chopped salad!
Renee ColesJuly 8, 2017 at 6:37 pm
That sauce is KILLER! I’ve been using it on a condiment for everything. Baked potatoes…. tacos…. squirt some on a plain tortilla for a snack. It’s the bomb.
Brian HeflinAugust 13, 2017 at 5:10 am
I enjoyed this dressing very much, in my 4th week of raw low fat diet (dropped a lot of weight, over 20 lbs lost plus added a lot of muscle in gym in less than 4 weeks)..but I was really needing a special salad dressing as my go to dressing wasnt doing it. This totally saved me! Ps-I mixed it in my salad with tomatoes, onions, jalepeno, abd a “cauliflower taco meat” I learned from DTM (liferegenerator) on YouTube.. it’s simple, just add cumin/paprika/seasalt to half a head of cauliflower and rice it in food processor. That’s another lifesaver btw!). thank you!
Glory RichMarch 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Thank You! This dressing is just what I was looking for and I really appreciate the calorie count.
Be Good To Each OtherMarch 30, 2019 at 12:45 pm
I’ve been looking for a plant-based / oil-free dressing recipe. and ohhh, man, does this dressing full of umami flavors. Took me less than 5 minutes to throw everything together – super easy to prepare. To be honest, I’m surprised it made it into my salad and I didn’t just pour the stuff straight into my mouth! Thank you for a fabulous recipe!
shirleyJune 18, 2020 at 10:56 pm
How much is each serving?
Susan VoisinJune 19, 2020 at 12:04 am
Each serving is about 2 tablespoons.
MimJuly 23, 2020 at 7:15 pm
I appreciate the recipe. I followed it exactly except I used chia seeds instead of flax. To me it was ok but not great. The Apple cider vinegar came through a little too strong for me. I appreciate using all the healthy ingredients. Maybe if I try it again I’ll do 1/2 OR a 1/4 of the acv amount.
SusanAugust 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm
This dressing is truly out of this world. And you pinch yourself, b/c you can’t believe something so delicious is not high calorie/full of fat. SOOO good on a rice bowl, which is such a quick easy meal. I use brown rice w/ cumin mixed in, corn, guacamole, either refried beans or black beans, and salsa with the dressing on top. Oh, and a little chopped cilantro if I have it.