The inspiration for this dressing I got from a friend who made a similar version that was cashew-based. I love cashews, but there’s some serious concerns I personally have on that topic. This motivated me to go for a more local and budget-friendly option: Sunflower seeds.
Oil-free and still creamy? How?
At this point I might need to clarify something: Oil-free is not equal fat-free.
But instead of an isolated sunflower seed oil, I choose the entire sunflower seed that contains fats and other nutrients (fibre, protein, more vitamins and minerals). They are mainly left behind when producing oils.
The seeds can either be raw, activated (soaked for some hours or even as sprouts) or roasted. They all work and have their unique flavour profile. Experiment!
On a nutritional level I favour the activated/sprouted version, but in terms of flavour I definitely opt for a subtle roast aroma through pan or oven-roasted seeds.
The main player: El blender!
Life in the kitchen is so much more fun with a blender on my side. For this recipe it’s actually a must.
A hand blender might get you somewhere, but I doubt that a real creamy consistency can be achieved.
The longer you blend, the creamier the texture becomes. As this might end up in a warm dressing, you can let it cool down before serving.
Grab the concept, and go anywhere 👣
Again, you’re welcome to follow the instructions below, but what I would really suggest is to start playing with the concept of using sunflower seeds (with or without tahini) as a base for creamy salad dressings.
I have a couple of variations that I (and my clients) find very yummy. But I honestly usually don’t follow the recipes and just use what ever I have at hand.
For example, instead of this slightly exotic lemon dressing, you can achieve a more vinaigrette type of dressing by adding mustard, vinegar (instead of lemon juice) and herbs.
Too thick? Add more liquid.
Too runny? Add more seeds/tahini.
Too acidic? Add more apple juice.
Too boring? Remember that the dressing will most likely be combined with plain salad. When tasting, make sure it is rich in flavour.
Enough said: Let’s get blending! ⚡️
Creamy Lemon Dressing (oil-free)
5 heaped tbsp Sunflower Seeds (roasted)
1 tbsp Tahini (or sesame seeds, raw or roasted)
Lemon juice (of half a lemon)
Lemon zest (~1 tsp)
4 tbsp Apple juice (ideally unfiltered)
Salt to taste (depending on the salt I add up to ~2 levelled tsp)
Black Pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients into a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Hint: The longer the creamier.
- Add salt to taste. Keep in mind that this will be drizzled on plain salads, so I think it needs to be quite rich in flavour.
- Store in airtight container or bottle, let it cool down and shake well before serving.
Hint: Refrigerated it easily lasts 2 or 3 days (potentially even longer), but consume it as fresh as possible.
- Play with using different versions of sunflower seeds to find your favourite: Raw, activated (soaked overnight) or roasted.
- If the result is too thick, add more liquid (in this case apple juice or water). If it’s too thin, add more sunflower seeds.