A healthier vegan Thousand Island Dressing recipe made with no mayo, no ketchup, and no oil! It's sweet, tangy, and perfectly creamy. Great on salads, sandwiches, wraps, or as a dipping sauce! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This vegan Thousand Island Dressing is a little sweet, a little tangy, and so deliciously creamy!
Classic thousand island combines mayonnaise, ketchup, onion, relish, and oftentimes refined sugar. But this healthier dairy-free version contains no mayo, no ketchup, and no oil... without sacrificing any flavor!
Plus it's easy to customize just how you like it. Savor the creamy tangy-sweet flavor on salads, sandwiches, burgers, or a dipping sauce for fries!
Ingredients for Vegan Thousand Island
For this recipe you will blend in a small high-speed blender:
- Raw cashews: Cashew nuts create the thick and creamy texture for the base of the dressing. (We use this in place of vegan mayo.) We'll use soaked cashews since they're softer and easier to blend. You can soak them ahead of time for several hours, or use my 10 minute "quick soak" method in the recipe notes.
- Apple cider vinegar: I like this variety, but you can use distilled white vinegar if needed.
- Stoneground mustard: If you don't have stoneground, then you can swap in Dijon mustard instead. Just be aware Dijon has a slightly stronger flavor, so you may want to use a little less.
- Pure maple syrup: You can replace this with your own favorite sweetener if desired.
- Tomato paste: I use a couple teaspoons of this instead of ketchup (which often has added sugar, artificial flavors, and high-fructose corn syrup).
- White miso: This is a fermented soybean paste and adds delicious depth of flavor to dressings and sauces. I highly recommend including it, but if you don't have it on hand, replace with about a half teaspoon salt. You can also add black pepper if desired.
- Onion powder: Fresh minced onion often appears in a classic thousand island, but here I replace it with simple onion powder instead. It adds lots of flavor, so don't omit this ingredient.
- Garlic powder
- Paprika: Either smoked paprika or sweet paprika depending on your preference.
- Pickle relish: This is optional but recommended for that classic thousand island essence. I use dill pickle relish which doesn't have any added sweetener. But sweet relish can add further sweetness if you'd like! Or simply omit this altogether if you prefer.
Make it spicy: Add a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste. You could also stir in a pinch of ground chipotle powder or chipotle pepper for smoky spice.
Other additions: Whisk in finely chopped chives, minced olives, horseradish instead of pickle relish (for more of a Russian dressing), fresh lemon juice, etc.
Cashew-free: I haven't tested this without cashews yet. But I'm guessing silken tofu or your own favorite vegan mayonnaise would be a great substitute. I recommend omitting both the cashews and water in the recipe if you try this. Then add in a splash of water as needed to thin.
Salad dressing: Drizzle in on a simple garden salad, chopped salad, or any other salad you enjoy.
Burgers: Spoon it as a flavorful condiment on veggie burgers or this Southwest Black Bean Burger. (It's very similar to this Vegan Big Mac Sauce that I spread on burgers. Both sauces are tasty!)
Sandwiches & wraps: Spread it on your favorite wrap, sandwich, or vegan Reuben sandwiches.
Dipping sauce: Try it with your oven fries, French fries, onion rings, veggies, or anything else that sounds good to dip!
Store dressing in a sealed glass mason jar in the refrigerator. It keeps for about 5-7 days. You can enjoy it immediately after preparing, but I find it's best after it chills in the fridge for several hours. This allows the flavors to blend.
More Oil-Free Dressing
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Vegan Italian Dressing
- Maple Dijon Dressing (vegan honey mustard)
- Vegan French Dressing
- Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
For more inspiration, also browse all vegan oil-free salad dressing recipes or cashew recipes.
Vegan Thousand Island Dressing (Oil-Free!)
- 1/3 cup raw cashews (soaked*)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. stoneground mustard
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. white miso (or 1/2 tsp. salt)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. paprika, sweet or smoked
- 3 Tbsp. pickle relish, sweet or dill
- Place all ingredients except relish in a small high-speed blender. (I use a NutriBullet.) Blend for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Add a splash more water if needed to achieve desired consistency. Stir in relish after blending.
- Can enjoy immediately, but flavor is best after it refrigerates several hours to let flavors combine. It will thicken further as it chills.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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