Creamy Italian Salad Dressing (Oil-Free)

Here is the deal, I need a good salad dressing for my salads. If you are like me you probably avoid the store-bought stuff too. It’s either loaded with oil, sugar, or loads of chemicals. No thanks!

My Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing was such a big hit that I wanted to branch out. I wanted a creamy salad dressing. Most creamy dressings contain oil and even the “healthy” dressings contain nuts, often cashews. My little guy is allergic to nuts so those dressings are not an option. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of eating hundreds of calories of salad dressing in just a few spoonfuls.

Don’t worry, I have the answer. The frugal, dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, oil-free, easy to make with pantry staples, vegan salad dressing answer.

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing (Oil-Free, Low-Fat)

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing (Oil-Free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup cooked white beans, drain and rinse if using canned (I cooked great Northern beans)
  • ½ cup (to 1 cup) water
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Warm beans slightly then place in a blender or food processor (I used my Blendtec).
  2. Pour in ½ cup water.
  3. Squeeze juice from lemon into a small dish, remove any seeds then pour juice into dressing. Start with 2 tbsp of lemon juice and add one more tablespoon of juice if needed.
  4. Dump in the rest of the spices then blend/process well.
  5. Scrap sides of container and add more water if necessary.
  6. Dressing should come out creamy and smooth. More water and spices can be added to meet your preferences.

This salad dressing can be enjoyed on salad, in wraps and even served warm on pasta (gluten-free pasta for us). Last night we served in on a garden salad to accompany our Minestrone Soup.

Since this salad dressing uses beans I recommend you enjoy it within 5 days. Don’t worry you will come up with plenty of ways to use and this recipe makes approximately  2 cups. My 5 year old ate more than his fair share on salad then asked for more to eat with a spoon.

If you need a salad dressing with a longer shelf life try my Oil-Free Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing.

Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide

Vegan and Gluten-Free Taco Muffins

I love Tacos! There, I said it. I’m willing to bet that you love tacos too. What I don’t like is the mess my kids make every time they eat them. These Vegan and Gluten-Free Taco Muffins may just be the solution we’ve all be looking for.

If you’ve ever tried my Lentil Tacos then you will see where I’m going with these delicious, hearty muffins. Before you start doubting Taco Muffins let me ask you, have you ever had meat loaf or a faux beanie loaf? Taco Muffins are not that far of a stretch. You can even use a mini loaf or a full loaf pan but I haven’t tried it, yet.

Vegan Taco Muffins

I want to make sure you understand from the beginning that these are savory, taco flavored muffins. My teenage son that I was just being clever and had quite a shock when he took the first bite. I don’t know what he was expecting but he couldn’t stop eating them. My 3 year old devoured most of them over 2 days. I had to cut him off. I got a couple and put one in the freezer to experiment.

taco muffins gluten free and vegan

Taco Muffins (gluten-free and vegan)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Potato Flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder and cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • Lentil Mix (1 1/2 cup cooked lentils; 1 tsp each of garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder; and 1/2 tsp cumin)

Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare muffin pan. I spray with a light coat of spray oil.
  2. In a small/medium bowl make Lentil Mix by combining lentils and spices together then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix flours, xanthum gum, spices, baking soda and baking powder and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup mix liquids.
  5. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and stir with a sturdy spoon. Add more liquid as needed. Mine was clumpy so I used a potato masher to help.
  6. Spoon in a small amount of batter into muffin tin, just enough to cover the bottom.
  7. Then dump the Lentil Mix into the remaining batter in the mixing bowl and stir well. Continue filling muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes.

Serve these muffins while slightly warm, or straight out of the fridge if you have leftovers. They are equally good the next day and don’t need anything added. These are perfect for lunch boxes or to take to soccer games.

I haven’t tried making wheat versions yet but it’s not my list. I think you could also use a gluten-free flour mix if you don’t have these flours available.

This post contains affiliate links.

Basic Fridge/Freezer Staples for a Plant-Based Diet

Yesterday I shared my list of Basic Pantry Staples for a Plant-Based Diet. Today I want to share my list of staples that need to be kept cold in the refrigerator or freezer with a few exceptions for fresh produce. Making changes to a healthier lifestyle can be difficult. Use this guide to make your journey toward a plant-based diet a little easier.

basic refrigerator freezer staples

Basic Staples for the Refrigerator and Freezer

Freezer 

  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • breads
  • broccoli
  • cherries
  • corn
  • herbs
  • mixed veggies
  • stir fry veggies
  • strawberries
  • whole wheat pastry flour

I also like to freeze leftover soups and baked goods like muffins and breads. If I chop too many veggies I’ll store them in the freezer to use in a quick stir fry or soup.

 Refrigerator

  • applesauce
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • chia seeds
  • coconut milk coffee creamer
  • fat-free balsamic vinaigrette
  • flax seeds
  • jelly (with no added sugar)
  • lemon/lime juice
  • milk (we use rice milk)
  • mustard
  • natural nut butters
  • nutritional yeast
  • dates
  • maple syrup
  • salsa
  • sunflower seed butter

Many of these items are more like add on’s or condiments. I often feel like our fridge is full of things that aren’t really food. Some of these items could be stored in the pantry instead of the fridge but I live in the desert so it is typically hotter here so I store them in the fridge.

Fresh Produce 

  • apples
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • garlic
  • onions
  • oranges
  • peppers (jalapenos, bell peppers and sweet peppers)
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach and other lettuces
  • tomatoes
  • other seasonal produce (cucumbers, pears, peaches, melons, etc.)

These are our basic produce picks. We buy these regularly and at any given time you will find them in our fridge. We try to stick to seasonal produce so you’ll rarely find asparagus in our fridge. We don’t store all of our produce in the fridge. Some things like potatoes and onions are stored in the pantry. Broccoli and spinach are always in the refrigerator. Other items like apples and peppers could be stored at room temperature or refrigerated.

I’m about to make this even easier! Here is a printer-friendly compilation of all my Basic Staples for a Plant-Based Diet! <<Click on the link for a PDF!

What are your top picks for Basic Pantry (and fridge staples)?  I’d love to see how they differ.

For more helpful information about getting started on a plant-based diet check out my ebook, The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How to Cook, Shop and Eat Well.

Plant-Based Diet Ebook

Basic Pantry Staples for a Plant-Based Diet

When starting a new journey it’s helpful to have a map. I often liken a Plant-Based Diet to a journey because for most of us it is a completely new adventure. I know I was unprepared for all of the changes. I’ve vowed to make it easier for those who come after me.

I wish I could take each of you to the grocery store and point out the best products. Since I can’t do that I think the next best thing is to share this list of Basic Pantry Staples. I almost always have these on hand. Our list has changed over the years do to allergies and intolerance’s but I believe it will give you a good idea of where to get started.

basic pantry staples

Basic Pantry Staples

Spices

  • black/white pepper
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt
  • turmeric

Pantry

  • agave nectar
  • applesauce
  • baking soda & baking powder
  • brown rice
  • canned beans
  • (whole grain) cereal
  • chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Brand is my favorite)
  • cocoa
  • coffee
  • dried beans (pinto, black, chickpea’s, lentils, etc.)
  • dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • flour (whole wheat and gluten-free)
  • grains
  • (shelf stable) non-dairy milks
  • nutritional yeast
  • nuts/seeds
  • old-fashioned oats
  • pasta
  • pasta sauce
  • quinoa
  • raw sugar
  • red wine vinegar
  • tomato sauce
  • tortillas
  • tortilla chips
  • turbinado sugar
  • vanilla 

This list is based the items we have kept in our pantry over the last few years. Your list may look different depending on your preferences and restrictions. I can make most of my recipes with these ingredients. I did not buy them all at once and I don’t use them all the time but these are my essentials.

Tomorrow I’ll share my list for Basic Staples for the Refrigerator and Freezer.

Does your list of Basic Pantry Staples differ?

To find out more helpful information about getting started on a Plant-Based Diet check out my ebook, The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How to Cook, Shop and Eat Well.

Plant-Based Diet Ebook

Basic Supplies

The top shelf has seeds, chickpea’s, cocoa, almonds, and barley.
The bottom shelf has noodles, pinto beans (back), quinoa (back), brown rice (back), brown and red lentils (front), white and black beans.

Before we began our plant-based eating there were certain ingredients I always had in my pantry, freezer, or fridge. Some of those ingredients have changed but not all of them. I like to be able to go into the kitchen and make something without having to run to the store. When I run to the store for one thing I usually make it home with at least five, the trip that would have cost me a few bucks now cost $20! That is not frugal!

I stock up on some things when they are on sale and buy in bulk when it makes sense. Below you will find a list of ingredients I try to keep on hand at all times.

Spices

  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt
  • vanilla

Various canned foods, Juice Plus+, gluten free bread, craisins, and peach cups (we don’t eat peach cups at home but take for occasional treats on the go).

Pantry

  • agave
  • applesauce
  • baking soda & baking powder
  • brown rice
  • canned beans
  • cereal
  • chocolate chips (non-dairy)
  • cocoa
  • coffee
  • dried beans (pinto, black, chickpea’s, lentils, etc.)
  • dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • grains
  • non-dairy milks
  • nuts
  • old fashioned oats
  • pasta
  • pasta sauce
  • quinoa (I buy a 4 lb bag at Costco for $9.99)
  • raw sugar
  • tomato sauce
  • tortillas
  • tortilla chips

Freezer

  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • breads
  • cherries
  • corn (my husband can’t have it so I scoop out what I need)
  • other veggies
  • strawberries
  • whole wheat pastry flour

Refrigerator

  • almond milk
  • apple butter (L&A Unsweetened is delish!)
  • applesauce
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • creamer (soy or coconut milk creamer)
  • Earth Balance
  • fat-free balsamic vinaigrette
  • jelly (with no added sugar, I like Crofter’s)
  • lime juice
  • mustard
  • natural peanut and almond butter (I buy both at Costco)
  • nutritional yeast
  • salsa
  • veggie base ( I use Better than Bouillon)

Fresh Plant Foods

  • apples
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • carrots (I buy 5 lbs at a time for $2.49)
  • garlic
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • spinach

I can make almost anything I could want with these ingredients. I did not buy them all at once and I don’t use them all the time but these are my essentials. When I have people over they are usually overwhelmed by how full my pantry is. Right now it is extremely disorganized but it is normally just semi-disorganized.

Depending on your tastes and cooking style you may have a different list of essentials. Your list could change over time too. Now that I’m discovering my son has an issue with gluten I’m sitting on quite a bit of gluten filled grains and trying to transition to others.

Did I forget anything? What is in your must have list that differs from mine? If you’re new to plant-based is there anything that stands out as weird to you?

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