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

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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, you know how much salad you should 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