overhead angle of creamy vegan walnut salad dressing in mason jar with a silver spoon insidewith lemon slices, garlic cloves, and toasted walnuts in the background slightly blurred out

Creamy Walnut Salad Dressing

With a few ingredients, this creamy walnut salad dressing is super flavorful and comes together in less than 10 minutes. This recipe is perfectly tangy and boasts heart-healthy fats with toasted walnuts. It’s perfect for summer salads or even as a dip!

Do you know what makes a good salad? It’s hands down the salad dressing.

And if you’re like me, you may not be a saucy type of person, but when it comes to eating a really good salad, I have always found that it’s the sauce that really elevates the salad experience.

I was sitting at home one day, in the mood for a salad.

I looked in my pantry and fridge, gathered the ingredients, and piled everything I had on my countertop.

At first, looking at everything made me a bit overwhelmed, but I knew the flavor profile I was looking for something that was light & creamy, tart, and garlicky all at the same time.

The star of this salad dressing is walnuts.

Did you know that one serving, or 7 walnuts, provides you with 4 grams of protein and two grams of fiber?

As a student studying nutrition, I want to dive right in and share with you the health benefits of this Toasted Walnut Salad Dressing that is so versatile, that you’ll want to eat salad all week long!

You’ll love this recipe because it’s:

  • Easy to make: I’m all about making a plant-based lifestyle EASY & TASTY. This dressing doesn’t require a lot. You toss the ingredients into your food processor or blender and whip it up!
  • Has a unique flavor: In my opinion, anything that has garlic in it is going to taste good! But aside from that, the unique combination of toasted walnuts, vegan feta, lemon, garlic, and herbs takes this recipe up another notch.
  • So versatile: Even though this recipe is a salad dressing, you can easily make turn this into a dip for your veggies, or a sauce for your tacos and pasta!

ingredient shot list for creamy walnut salad dressing: whole lemon, toasted walnuts, bowl of water, vegan feta cheese, olive oil, fresh dill and cilantro, maple syrup and two garlic cloves

Ingredients & Substitutions:

  • Vegan feta: Using vegan feta in this recipe is what makes this salad dressing creamy and tangy. If you are not a fan of vegan feta (which is primarily made with coconut oil), try using vegan mayo or my vegan sour cream.
  • Maple syrup: Maple has many health benefits which can support your plant-based lifestyle. In two tablespoons of maple syrup, you get half of your recommended daily value of manganese which is very important for bone health! I used pure dark amber maple syrup in this recipe (the darker the maple syrup, the more antioxidant properties it has!) to counter the strong acid/tart tastes you’ll find in this recipe from the lemon and vegan feta cheese used. You can also use monk fruit sugar, brown sugar, or agave syrup as a substitute.
  • Water: Water was used to help thin out the dressing as it can become quite thick when blended.

Tips:

  • Make sure to set your oven timer when toasting your walnuts so they do not burn!
  • You can use a blender or food processor to make your dressing. Just be sure to scrape down the sides during the process to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  • When blending your ingredients, add a bit of water and olive at a time. This will help to ensure your dressing blends together smoothly. 
  • If your dressing becomes too thick once refrigerated, you can thin it out with some water and a whisk or, by adding it back into your blender for a few seconds.

overhead shot of creamy walnut salad dressing in glass jar with a silver spoon being lifted out of the glass jar showing a close up of the dressing; cut lemons, toasted walnuts and garlic cloves in the background slightly blurred out with a brown colored linen cloth in background

Instructions:

STEP ONE: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and gather all ingredients. Wash your herbs & lay your herbs out on a clean tea towel or a few paper towels to dry. 

STEP TWO: Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add your walnuts. Toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes, checking often and giving the tray a gentle shake so the walnuts do not burn. Remove when you can smell the walnuts toasted and rest aside until cooled. 

STEP THREE: Once your herbs are dry and your walnuts have cooled, add half of your toasted walnuts, dill, cilantro, garlic cloves, vegan feta, olive oil, maple syrup, water, and lemon juice into your food processor and blend until combined and smooth. Optionally, you can add a few roughly chopped pieces of toasted walnuts to your dressing and stir. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use walnut oil instead of whole walnuts?

Yes, you can replace the olive oil with walnut oil if you don’t have access to whole walnuts. You can even find roasted walnut oil in specialty stores and use it in this recipe too! If doing so, just replace the regular olive oil with the roasted walnut oil in the recipe.

Do you have to toast the walnuts?

No, you don’t have to toast the walnuts but doing so really helps to bring out the nutty flavors of the walnuts and adds more depth to the dressing. 

Is this dressing healthy?

Everyone’s views on ‘healthy’ will be completely different from the next. This walnut salad dressing is made with ingredients that make this a better option than store-bought bottled dressings that are most times filled with a lot of fillers and preservatives. To up the health factor, try adding more herbs and veggies to your meal and you’ve got the best lunch or dinner salad that will keep you full and satisfied!

Storage & Freezing

Storing: You can store this dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Freezing: I haven’t tried freezing this walnut dressing but if you make too much and want to freeze this for a later, do know that its consistency of it would change once frozen and defrosted.

So here’s how to make your Creamy Walnut Salad Dressing!

overhead angle of creamy vegan walnut salad dressing in mason jar with a silver spoon insidewith lemon slices, garlic cloves, and toasted walnuts in the background slightly blurred out

Creamy Walnut Salad Dressing

Christina Willis
This creamy walnut salad dressing is super flavorful and comes together in less than 10 minutes. This recipe is perfectly tangy and boasts heart-healthy fats with toasted walnuts. It’s perfect for summer salads or even as a dip!
Prep 5 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 10 mins
Course Condiments, Dips, Salad Dressing, Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8oz serving

Ingredients
  

  • 200 gram block of vegan feta cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • ½ cup of toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup of olive oil 
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup of fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and gather all ingredients. Wash your herbs & lay your herbs out on a clean tea towel or a few paper towels to dry.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add your walnuts. Toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes, checking often and giving the tray a gentle shake so the walnuts do not burn. Remove when you can smell the walnuts toasted and rest the baking tray aside until its cooled.
  • Once your herbs are dry and your walnuts have cooled, add your vegan feta, maple syrup, olive oil, cilantro, dill, dijon mustard, garlic, water, lemon juice, and half of your toasted walnuts into your food processor and blend until combined and smooth.
  • Add in a few tablespoons of roughly chopped pieces of toasted walnuts to your dressing and stir. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Use dressing on your salad or roasted vegetables and sprinkle the remaining toasted walnuts on top.

Notes

  • Make sure to set your oven timer when toasting your walnuts so they do not burn!
 
  • You can use a blender or food processor to make your dressing. Just be sure to scape down the sides during the process to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
 
  • When blending your ingredients, add a bit of water and olive at a time. This will help to ensure your dressing blends together smoothly. 
 
  • If your dressing becomes too thick once refrigerated, you can thin it out with some water and a whisk together or, by adding the dressing back into your blender for a few seconds.
Keywords creamy walnut salad dressing, plant based salad dressing recipes, walnut salad dressing
side shot of creamy walnut salad dressing in glass jar with a silver spoon inside of dressing with cut lemons, toasted walnuts and garlic cloves in the background slightly blurred out with a brown colored linen cloth in background
overhead shot of grilled squash, zucchini, asparagus, and cauliflower drizzled with creamy walnut salad dressing, sprinkled with hemp seeds and toasted walnuts; in upper left corner, there are two lemon halves, and upper right background, the walnut salad dressing is in a clear glass jar; lover right corner, there is a garlic clove

If you loved this Creamy Walnut Salad Dressing, you’ll also love this too!

This Creamy Walnut Salad Dressing pairs well with my Summer Roasted Vegetable Salad!


Did You Make This Recipe?

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6 Comments

  1. It sounds great! I have one question though: is 1200 grams for the feta the right amount? It seems to me like a stray zero perhaps.

    1. Hi Alexandra, it’s supposed to be 200 grams, not 1200! I’ve gone ahead and changed the typo. Thanks for pointing that out & I can’t wait for you to try this recipe 🙂
      – Christina

  2. Amazing article. Your blog helped me to improve myself in many ways thanks for sharing this kind of wonderful information.

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