Whip up this vibrant Vegan Italian Dressing using basic pantry items in just 5 minutes. Just toss your ingredients in a jar, give it a good shake, and it's ready to enjoy. Drizzle it over a simple green salad or try it in a pasta salad!
Italian dressing is a classic salad dressing known for having a subtle blend of tanginess, a touch of zest, and a hint of herbal flavor.
This vegan spin on the classic Italian dressing brings a burst of zesty flavor to your salads that you will want to have prepped in your fridge at all times!
It tastes way better than the store-bought variety and doesn't contain any sneaky ingredients.
It can be whipped up in under 5 minutes using kitchen staples that you probably already have on hand.
Try it drizzled over leafy greens, pasta salads, or even grain bowls!
Is Italian Dressing Vegan?
All the usual components in a simple Italian dressing are vegan-friendly.
But some store-bought brands contain additives, sugars, and sometimes dairy or eggs in the creamy variations that would make it not vegan-friendly.
It's always best to check ingredients before purchasing to double check or make this super simple and much tastier homemade version!
Combine a few common pantry ingredients including extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and dried Italian seasonings to create a zesty, and flavorful Italian dressing.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil is the best choice for salad dressing because of the rich flavor it adds. I recommend using a good quality olive oil as it really has an impact on the quality of the final product.
White Wine Vinegar: White wine vinegar has a bright and crisp flavor with a subtle tanginess. It is less robust than red wine vinegar and offers a mild acidity with a slightly sweet undertone. It's my preferred vinegar for this dressing.
Lemon Juice: Adds brightness.
Dijon Mustard: Although not typically included, adding Dijon mustard provides a subtle tangy spice that blends nicely with the other flavors in the dressing. I've left this as an optional ingredient but if you have it on hand, throw it in!
Maple Syrup: Just a touch for balance and added sweetness.
Seasonings: Other seasonings added to this Italian dressing include garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes. You can use finely minced shallot and fresh garlic if preferred.
See recipe card for quantities.
This homemade Italian dressing comes together using minimal equipment.
All you need to do is add all the ingredients to a jar with a lid and give it a good shake.
I recommend making sure you have a jar with a tight-fitting lid. I love using this mason jar to make and store homemade salad dressings in.
How to Make This Recipe
This zesty Italian dressing can be prepared in less than 5 minutes using common kitchen ingredients you likely already have.
The full written recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Add all the salad dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Step 2: Shake vigorously until well combined.
Dijon mustard provides a subtle tangy flavor that complements the other flavors in the dressing. I've left this as an optional ingredient but if you have it on hand, throw it in!
Note: If your salad dressing separates, simply give it a good shake before serving. This is normal with olive oil and vinegar based dressings.
Substitutions & Variations
This vegan-friendly Italian dressing is light and flavorful, and pairs well with so many different types of salads. It's also completely customizable!
Maple Syrup: Agave is the best substitute for maple syrup.
White Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar will work as a substitute for white wine vinaigrette. Keep in mind that these changes will alter the flavor.
Make it spicy: For an extra spicy Italian dressing, add a bigger pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
For more sweetness: Add 1 or 2 more teaspoons of maple syrup.
Make it creamy: Add a spoonful of vegan mayo and shake vigorously to combine. Alternatively, you could try adding hummus or tahini to make it creamy. This will alter the overall flavor but would be delicious!
Add a cheesy flavor: Sometimes Italian dressing contains parmesan cheese. To make it vegan, add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast or store-bought vegan parmesan.
This Italian dressing is a surprisingly versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways.
As a salad dressing: Toss it with your favorite combination of fresh leafy greens, crisp veggies, and toppings. My favorite includes mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and sourdough croutons. Bacon bits are good, too!
Drizzling over vegetables: Drizzle this vegan Italian dressing over steamed or roasted vegetables to add some additional flavor.
Pasta salad: Mix it into a simple pasta salad for a flavorful and tangy dressing.
Sandwiches or wraps: Use it in sandwiches or wraps to add extra flavor and moisture.
Grain bowls: Drizzle over grain bowls for added flavor. Combine cooked farro or brown rice, roasted vegetables, baked tofu, and fresh herbs.
Store any leftover salad dressing in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Please note that it will separate and the olive oil might harden a bit in the fridge but just leave it at room temperature for a few minutes and then give it a good shake.
It'll return to normal!
Tips & Tricks
I think it's easiest to emulsify a dressing by shaking it vigorously in a jar but you can achieve smooth results by whisking the ingredients in a bowl or blending them together in a blender as well.
If your salad dressing happens to separate, simply give it a good shake before serving.
Taste and customize: Always taste your dressing to adjust the flavors as necessary. Add more vinegar for tanginess, additional oil for silkiness, or extra seasonings for enhanced flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar is often considered the best choice for Italian dressing.
Olive oil is the best oil for salad dressing due to its rich flavor, versatility, and health benefits.
Not always! Check out this post on 10 Dijon Mustard Substitutes & Is it Vegan to learn more.
Salad dressing might thicken in the fridge because ingredients like olive oil can solidify at colder temperatures. To fix it, just let the dressing sit at room temperature for a bit or gently warm it up before using.
More Salad Dressing Recipes
Looking for other salad dressing recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Italian Dressing
- ½ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup White Wine Vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard optional
- 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt see note
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- Add all the salad dressing ingredients in to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously until combined.
- If your salad dressing separates, simply give it a good shake before serving. This is normal with olive oil and vinegar based dressings.
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