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Sally's Oil-Free Salad Dressing: An "Eat to Live" Recipe


Sherri has expertise in landscape design. Some of her hobbies include gardening and cooking.

A beautiful salad lightly dressed with Sally's oil-free dressing. Romaine lettuce, carrots, grapes, apples, tomatoes, chives, and an elegant strawberry.

A beautiful salad lightly dressed with Sally's oil-free dressing. Romaine lettuce, carrots, grapes, apples, tomatoes, chives, and an elegant strawberry.

A Rich, Creamy, and Tart Salad Dressing

About eight months ago I started Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" food program because I needed to eliminate dairy and wheat from my diet and also lose the extra pounds that had crept up over the last few years. If you know the "Eat to Live" program, then you know how much salad you're supposed to eat in a day.

I happen to be a salad lover, so that part of the program is easy for me. However, I am also a salad dressing lover, and that part of the program is not so easy. In fact, it's downright hard. That's because sugar, sugar substitutes, and fat are not allowed on this program, at least not in the first six weeks, and how can there be a tasty and satisfying salad dressing without them? I have never tasted a truly delicious non- or low-fat salad dressing, until now.

Sally's oil-free salad dressing is creamy, full of body, and tantalizingly tangy. It takes almost no time at all to make, and it's full of ingredients that are surprisingly good for you.

Why This Oil-free Salad Dressing Is so Satisfying

While experimenting with oil-free salad dressings, I researched the nutritional and physical properties of their ingredients. When I finally arrived at a salad dressing that pleased me, this is what I learned about the ingredients I chose:

  • Artichokes are high in dietary fiber. When artichoke hearts are broken down during the blending process, they create a creamy, oil-like texture.
  • Cashews have a subtle sweetness, as they do contain natural sugar. They also are rich in dietary fiber and low in saturated fat. The cashew adds not only sweetness to the dressing but body and creaminess as well.
  • Vinegar is not only a satisfying taste, it is also good for you because it blocks the spike in blood sugar levels that happens after eating a meal that includes empty carbohydrates. Vinegar also contains salt, so there's another satisfying taste factor.

Sunflower seeds and prepared mustard as well as peppercorns add more to taste and texture as well as adding more nutritional benefits. When all is said and done about the ingredients in this oil-free salad dressing, not only does it taste good, it's good for you.

So, let's get to the recipe.

The simple ingredients for Sally's oil-free salad dressing.

The simple ingredients for Sally's oil-free salad dressing.


  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar, red or white
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup artichoke hearts, canned, unmarinated
  • 2 cloves garlic, (more if you like garlic a lot)
  • 1 tablespoon cashews, raw
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


  1. Thoroughly wash and drain, and coarsely chop the artichoke hearts.
  2. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic cloves.
  3. Place all ingredients into a blender and whir until creamy and no food chunks remain. Blend for at least three minutes. It takes a long time for the artichoke hearts to break down. You want a creamy, not a grainy texture.
What a beautiful appetizer.

What a beautiful appetizer.

Serving Suggestions and Other Good Things

This oil-free dressing keeps very well for three to four days in the refrigerator. During that time, it never loses its beautiful texture. Try it as a dip for fresh fruits and vegetables, adding fresh chives from the garden or a dusting of finely minced onion. Its tangy taste and creamy aspect rival any commercial dip.

Because of its tartness, Sally's oil-free dressing complements sweetness. When I use this dressing for a salad, I always add a fruit or two, like grapes and pears, or strawberries and mango, to the salad greens and vegetables.

If you are well into your Eat to Live program and can add items to your diet that are excluded during the first six weeks, you may want to try this salad dressing with a bit of agave or honey Dijon mustard to add a touch of sweet.

Note: All recipes appearing in Sally’s Trove articles are original, having been created and tested in our family kitchens, unless otherwise noted.

© 2012 Sherri


Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on March 10, 2017:

I've been looking for such a recipe. Thank you.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 01, 2015:

Great recipe for the salad dressing. I'm not a huge fan of artichokes. But I'll give it a try, when I get a blender someday. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on January 28, 2015:

Oh, you are making me hungry! Delicious =)

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 28, 2015:

This sounds like an interesting combination of flavors. I will be giving this a try very soon.


Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on January 28, 2015:

Oh, thank you so much for this recipe. I'm a vegan and eat plenty of salad. I've never been totally happy with dressings I've tried. But this sounds perfect for my taste. Will share!

Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on January 27, 2015:

This sounds good. I like that your recipes are tried and tested on family. Voted up, I, U, Tweet, pin

RDRawFoodie on August 19, 2013:

If it's too tart, just blend in a whole orange that you have peeled!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 23, 2013:

Heather, thank you so much for your good words about this salad dressing!

Heather on April 22, 2013:

I absolutely love this dressing and now just make a huge amount each time because it goes so quickly! I'm not following ETL right now but do try to get in as many raw and cooked veggies as possible. This is perfect for my Jethro sized lunch salads!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 16, 2013:

SweetiePie, thanks so much for the suggestion about Rawfully Kristina. I'll check out her channel. Meanwhile, there's another Christina vegan...christinacooks.com. These are wonderful chefs who give us a new and important look on how we eat. So nice to see you!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on March 11, 2013:

Sally, I noticed your hub is still getting lots of comments, so I was going to suggest maybe you want to check out the YouTube channel called Rawfully Kristina. She eats a very strict raw vegan diet, but she does have some very yummy ideas on oil and carb free pasta and salads, which are basically just made out of veggies. I thought you might like this channel.

Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on March 11, 2013:

Thanks Sally, I can't wait to try it.

AudraLeigh on November 24, 2012:

I need to try agave!

Tart or sweet or in between...lol

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 24, 2012:

AudraLeigh, how nice to hear from you! Thank you for the awesome comments and the share. Just remember that this dressing is REALLY tart, so if sugar is not restricted from your diet, consider adding some agave or sweetener of your choice, that is, unless you prefer tart over sweet, which I do. :)

AudraLeigh on November 15, 2012:

Hi Sherri! I have to say that this recipe hub is well executed and is easy to follow. I am looking for a healthy salad dressing, especially one that is full of flavor! I usually eat blue cheese dressing. Yours looks really good and easy to make! Love this and shared!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 20, 2012:

Pamela99, so sorry to have missed your excellent comment! Since it's been two months since you posted here, I wonder if you have returned to the Eat To Live plan?

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 18, 2012:

You are welcome, Thelma Alberts. :)

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 18, 2012:

Yummy! I´m looking forward to try this. Thanks for sharing.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 28, 2012:

Thanks so much for the kind words, Marcy. Let us know how you like this dressing. It's one of my favorites.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on May 26, 2012:

This does sound good - but then everything edible you post is always fantastic! I love artichoke hearts, so I will be trying this one! Thanks!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 18, 2012:

The dressing sounds delicious. I followed that diet for several months about a year ago but gradually strayed. I usually use something like a balsamic vinegar dressing but I don't use much dressing on salad. You have inspired me to consider returning to that diet, as I felt better when I was following it and lost some weight. Interesting and useful hub! :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2012:

prairieprincess, I buy canned artichoke hearts which have not been marinated. They are in the canned vegetable aisle of every market I know. Thank you so much for the good words and the votes. I hope you enjoy this oil-free dressing!

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on May 10, 2012:

Wow, this sounds delicious and amazing. I confess that I have never cooked with artichokes before so I will have to figure out where to find them but it's worth it!

I am trying to lose weight too and my downfall is also salad dressing. So this is very helpful. Wonderful recipe. Sharing and definitely voted up and more.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 08, 2012:

SweetiePie, so nice to see you! I agree about making homemade dressings with olive oil, but some of us are oil-restricted, so to speak. I think if you use these ingredients and add a touch of oil...oh, how good would that be?

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on May 07, 2012:

Great idea for salad dressing as none of us really needs to eat the processed stuff. I like to make a natural salad dressing with a bit of olive oil, but this sounds good too.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 06, 2012:

LOL, 2patricias, I know what you mean -- watery, chemical tasting, and funny looking. This one really is different, and good for you. I hope you enjoy it. So nice to see you!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on May 06, 2012:

It would never have occurred to me to put artichokes or cashew nuts into salad dressing. This sounds very tasty - normally I read how to make a diet salad dressing and think "yuck". This time, I am thinking it would make a good dip.

Interesting .

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 06, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Rosemay50. I hope you enjoy the dressing!

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on May 05, 2012:

I enjoy salads but like you I also love to cover them with a dressing. This recipe of yours sounds perfect and I have jotted this down to keep for future use.

Thank you for sharing.

Nell Rose from England on May 02, 2012:

This sounds like a great salad dressing. I am so used to just piling on the salad cream, and forget just how fattening and unhealthy it is. I never realised that vinegar helped with the sugar after eating, great info, thanks!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 25, 2012:

Go for it, ktrapp! I'll be thrilled to know that the first salad dressing you ever made came from here. :) If you like sweet more than tart (because this salad dressing recipe is very tart) and you have no restrictions about using a sweetener, then by all means add a bit more sweet.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on April 25, 2012:

I have never made my own salad dressing, but your recipe is going to change that. I cannot wait to try this out, especially because I love artichokes and cashews.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 23, 2012:

TY, Debbie!

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on April 23, 2012:

This looks so awesome thank you for writing this.. I am sharing with my friends..


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 22, 2012:

Thanks, prasetio! I hope you and your mom enjoy this simple oil-free dressing. Always so nice to hear from you. :)

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 22, 2012:

Yummy....I love your salad dressing. It sound delicious and I can't wait to make it soon. Thanks for share with us and I'll show this hub to my mom as well. Rated up and useful!


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 19, 2012:

Thank you all for your positive comments. Now, I want to hear that you've made it and you like it. lol

@Kelley, ty for the share. :)

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 18, 2012:

Just what I've been looking for. This recipe will be easy to make, thanks to your instruction. Thanks so much. Voted up!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 18, 2012:

This recipe sounds great, looking forward to trying it, thank you!

kelleyward on April 18, 2012:

This is just what I was looking for. I love salad dressing without all the extra calories. This looks easy to make and great tasting. Voted up, useful, and Shared! Take care, Kelley

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on April 17, 2012:

Thanks for the recipe. I have never made salad dressing without oil before and I have been searching for a good recipe to try. I votes this hub up and useful.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 15, 2012:

I love your solution to "food gone wrong," Trish. Give it to the dog. lol There isn't much Avi won't eat.

I very much admire people who have what I call food chemistry. They seem to have a natural talent for marrying flavors and textures to come up with outstanding combinations. Sadly, I am not one of those cooks.

I usually start with a recipe or technique that I know works, and then experiment from there.

Thanks for your awesome comment, my friend. :)

trish1048 on April 15, 2012:

I have a problem with this recipe. The number one problem is I have no greens in the house lol. This dressing does sound interesting, to say the least. What I wonder is how you know what things to put together. Do you just experiment, or do you instinctually know? If I went to the store, I think I'd be picking out things that I like the taste of, and come home and throw them all together to see what happens. But somehow, that doesn't sound right :)

One good thing about your food plan is that it seems to inspire you to create new things, something you were always good at. And now that you have a live-in dog, no worries about food gone wrong, so nothing is wasted :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 05, 2012:

Thank you, Om Paramapoonya! I hope you enjoy it. :)

Om Paramapoonya on April 05, 2012:

This salad dressing recipe surely sounds like a winner; I MUST try it! Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions and tips. Bookmarked and rated way up!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 03, 2012:

sabu and random, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I love good words. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 03, 2012:

RTalloni, what a great comment! Yes, I'm planning more experimentation. I like the texture so much and the tartness, so I don't want to mess with them too much. But it would be nice to create a slightly more mellow, or sweeter version. The interesting thing about the artichoke hearts is that they provide so much creamy texture without lending a predominating taste. Onward and upward! And maybe you'll experiment and share, too? And thanks for the great hub on agave. I've been following the info about this sweetener, and it's looking all good!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 03, 2012:

Pamela99, I think of Eat To Live more as life-changing way of looking at food than as a diet. I've stuck with it (with few lapses) for the last 8 months or so, and little by little I find my tastes are not so much changing but reverting to the basic, smart foods I was raised with. I wonder, do you still follow at least some principles of the program?

Meanwhile, this dressing is extremely tart, so I hope you like a pucker! TY so much for your comment and good words.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 03, 2012:

This sounds great! Amazing flavor and texture. Thanks for sharing.

sabu singh on April 03, 2012:

Phenomenal as always ST, informative, interesting and very well-written. Keep up the good work.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 03, 2012:

I have followed that diet in the past but this healthy recipe is new to me. It sounds delicious. Thanks for the recipe. Very useful hub. Rated up!

RTalloni on April 02, 2012:

Ooooh. I knew this oil-free salad dressing would be good when I first saw it, but oooh. :) Not only does it sound delightful, it's thought provoking. It could make one ditch a week's worth of plans to spend the time experimenting with your recipe as the foundation to work from. Are you planning more varieties?

The Eat to Live diet sounds interesting. Thanks very much for posting the info and the recipe--your tips on making it will be helpful. Up for sure!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 02, 2012:

Lilleyth, I'm really glad to hear this about your daughter. There actually aren't too many people who follow this plan as opposed to the South Beach or Weight Watchers diets, the ones that are so heavily advertised. I wish her great success! I've been on it for a while now, and it has changed my eating life, forever. Hugs to her and you!

Suzanne Sheffield from Mid-Atlantic on April 02, 2012:

I'm sharing this with my daughter who is on that diet.

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