Spicy chipotle salad dressing could be your next 'everyday dressing.' But as you'll discover that it’s so much more – dairy-free, nut-free, oil-free, and irresistible. Yes, all that!
Creamy with Southwestern flavors, this dressing is a tasty addition to taco salad, cauliflower tacos, or tempeh tacos – anywhere you want a slice of chipotle spice. It’s also exceptional with a simple side salad or slathered over slices of avocado.
There’s a lot of flavor happening in this dressing, but you likely have most of the ingredients on hand. I’ll offer a few ideas for substitutions, just in case.
- Plant-milk - I used oat but use whatever you have on hand.
- Flax seeds – It’s possible to use chia seeds, but flax seeds are probably easier to find. Grab a bag, and I’ll tell you how to prep them.
- Lemon juice – Nothing wakes a recipe up like lemon juice. If all else fails here, use lime juice. The flavor won’t be the same, but that will keep with the Southwestern theme.
- Apple cider vinegar – Sweet, fruity apple cider vinegar works with the lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. Can’t find it? My first impulse is to add more lemon juice, but if you want more of a vinegar flavor, go for rice wine vinegar.
- Dates or date paste – Hello, my favorite natural sweetener. If you have date paste on hand, dip a spoon in. If not, use a few dates (I used 3 small, pitted dates to test this).
- Garlic – Garlic, with its own brand of spicy sweetness, is irreplaceable. I love fresh garlic with the chipotle flavor; however, garlic powder will be less sharp if you opt for that. For 2 plump cloves of crushed garlic, use ¾ tsp. of garlic powder.
- Miso paste – Savory, earthy, tangy miso is rapidly becoming one of my favorite dressing ingredients. After using it in hoisin sauce a few weeks ago, I’m now officially hooked.
- Tomato paste – More than for making the color prettier, tomato paste adds sweetness.
- Chipotle powder – It’s chipotle dressing, after all! Now, I used chipotle flakes that I ground into a powder. If you can find the powder, use that. I can’t seem to get it, so I just made my own on the spot.
- Cumin – Just a pinch. Cumin is warm and earthy.
Guess what? You can make a thick and creamy dressing without relying on nuts or oil as a thickener. What’s the secret? Flax seeds. Ok, maybe not so secret since it’s already listed in the ingredients.
There is a trick to know about using flax seeds – they need to be ground if your goal is thickening. You could spend hours waiting for whole flax seeds to do anything to a dressing or soup. Who has that kinda time?
Grab a spice grinder. You need 2 tablespoons of seeds for 1 tablespoon ground. Grind extra for this recipe, in case it’s too thin.
There’s no real magic for making this dressing. You want to toss everything into the blend and hit the ‘go’ button. Depending on how high speed your blender, you may not even need to dice the dates or garlic.
Add ½ a cup of plant milk to start, blend it, and then check the consistency. It may depend on what you’re using the dressing for. Thicker for a dip and thinner for mixing into a salad. That decision? All yours!
This is a great dressing to get creative with. You can adjust the tomato paste or substitute sun-dried tomatoes for a deeper tomato flavor. Consider using a chipotle chili in Adobo sauce (or 2). Try using a good chili powder with lime rather than lemon, and you’ve got a whole new flavor.
Give recipe tweaking a try. Because we aren’t using nuts for this one, the ‘screw-up’ cost is low. And as long as you make small tweaks and then taste it before adding more, you can't get too far off the road.
Split it up, do some testing. The dressing keeps for several days in the refrigerator, so you can sleep on it – not the salad dressing, silly, (don't sleep on that), the ideas. Peace.Print
spicy chipotle salad dressing
Spicy chipotle salad dressing is irresistibly flavorfully creamy and is a tasty nut-free, dairy-free, oil-free everyday dressing.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Dressings & Condiments
- Cuisine: Southwestern
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup unsweetened plant milk
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds (or chia seeds)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 3 dates, pitted and diced (or 1 Tbsp. date paste)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered for smoother blending
- 1 tsp. miso paste
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- ¼ - ½ tsp. chipotle powder or ground chipotle flakes
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- Add ½ a cup of plant milk to a blender or food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend until smooth. Then add more plant milk until you get the consistency you want.
- If the dressing is too thin, you can add another teaspoon of ground flax seeds. The salad dressing thickens as it sits, so you may want to let it sit if you have the time.
- Chipotle salad dressing will keep in a container with a lid for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- 2 tablespoons of flax seeds will yield about 1 tablespoons ground. Use a spice grinder to get the flax seeds to break down.
- The dressing will continue to thicken as it sits. Be sure to stir it unless you are serving it immediately. Add more plant milk or lemon juice to thin it and another teaspoon of ground flax seeds to thicken.
- For the flax seeds, you can use chia seeds. My preference is to grind them. If you use whole chia seeds, allow time so that they rehydrate and thicken.
Keywords: chipotle salad dressing