Elevate your meals with this irresistible Creamy Vegan Chipotle Salad Dressing. This delicious dairy-free dressing has a smoky kick from chipotle chili powder that adds a burst of flavor to salads, wraps or roasted vegetables. All you need is 5-minutes and a few pantry ingredients to create this tasty homemade dressing.
Yes, yes and more yes, please! A flavor explosion in a creamy, dreamy dairy-free dressing. I’m just going to call this Mexican Secret Sauce…but there’s really no secret to this super delish, tangy, tasty, creamy with just a hint of smokey….sauce, dressing, dip, mayo….oh, whatever!
The best part? This easy chipotle salad dressing recipe is made with pantry ingredients. Yes siree…stuff you already have in your kitchen. No excuse not to whip up a batch, pronto! It’s so good, you’ll want to put it on EVERYTHING.
Creamy Vegan Chipotle Sauce makes everything taste better, including salad. Chop up your favorite greens, add in a few chopped raw veggies, maybe some avocado chunks and pour on the sauce. OR, use it as a chipotle mayo spread on sammies, wraps, tacos, veggie burgers, burritos and spring rolls. Use it as a dip for raw veggies, sweet potato fries or crispy smashed potatoes, or Crispy Baked Tofu.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cannelini beans: A healthy hack for making vegan salad dressing thick and creamy without dairy. You can substitute chickpeas, or great northern beans to maintain the same light orange color, but you may need a bit more water and a bit longer blending time.
- Nut butter: This adds protein and healthy fats plus some vegan creaminess to the recipe. I used cashew butter in these photos. For nut allergies, use tahini or sunflower seed butter. Almond butter or peanut butter will also work well.
- Fresh dates: medjool dates are easy to find and a delicious whole foods alternative to sweeteners. Raisins would work as a sub, but may need to be soaked first if dry.
- Rice vinegar: This adds the perfect little tang. Apple cider vinegar can also be used, but I found the flavor a bit harsh. Plain white vinegar would be a good substitute. Look for unseasoned rice vinegar with no sugar added.
- Garlic: Use a microplane grater or garlic press. so the fresh garlic will be less harsh. I prefer using fresh garlic for the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, but you could substitute ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt).
- Paprika: You can find paprika in sweet, hot or smokey. Choose sweet or smokey in this recipe, depending on taste preferences. I used smokey for a layered taste profile.
- Chipotle: Chipotle chili powder is HOT, and tasty. There’s just enough in this recipe to make it mildly spicy. You certainly can add a bit more after you’ve finished making the dressing. If you decide to add less chipotle, make up for it in taste by adding some chili powder (which, unless marked “hot” or “chipotle”) tends towards flavorful, but not spicy. You can use chipotle paste as a good substitute for the powder.
- WATER: You can control the consistency by adding more or less water.
Chipotle Chiles in adobo sauce vs. chipotle powder
Generally chipotle in adobo contains whole roasted chiles, tomato paste and vinegar. Dried chipotle powder is just dried and smoked chipotles. Regular chili powder is usually a combination of mixed ground chiles with other spices such as oregano, garlic powder, cumin, coriander and allspice.
Chipotles in adobo sauce sounds like a more authentic way to add chipotle flavor to recipes than chipotle powder. But, let’s take a closer look. I had a hard time finding any canned or jarred chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that didn’t also contain added sugar and canola oil. It was easy to find chipotle powder that ONLY contained smoked red jalapenos or chipotle chiles. This emphasizes the need to read labels carefully, paying attention to ingredient lists, to make the best choices.
Bottom line: the healthier choice is to use chipotle powder. Look for a brand in a glass container without any added sugar, and one that is labeled non-GMO.
How to make Chipotle Salad Dressing
- Place beans, dates, nut butter, spices, vinegar and garlic into blender pitcher.
- Start with ½ cup water.
- Blend. Scrape down sides. Blend again. Add additional water 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until desired creamy consistency.
YES…it’s really that easy. This vegan, no oil chipotle salad dressing comes together just like that!
Why you will love this chipotle sauce
- No need to spend $$$s on store bought dressing!
- Super easy to make, in under 5 minutes
- Recipe uses pantry staples that you already have in your cupboard.
- You can use it instead of mayo….on ALL the things!
- Perfect for meal prep. It will stay good in your fridge for 2 weeks.
- Thin it out, thicken it up….make it just how YOU like it.
- This will quickly become your new back pocket sauce…it will make EVERYTHING taste better.
- It’s vegan (creamy and dairy-free), gluten-free, oil-free…..and super tasty too!
- Customize the amount of heat to make more or less spicy.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Use just ½ cup water, and blend until super smooth….instead of spicy mayo, every time.
- Extra sauce? Make a batch of sweet potato fries and dip away!
- Dressing will thicken in the fridge. Use 1-2 Tablespoons warm water and shake vigorously to bring back to a pourable consistency.
- Drizzle it on your fajitas….oh yes, you definitely want to do this!
- Making a vegan charcuterie board? Definitely include a dish of this…and be prepared to replenish often.
- Drizzle on your veggie burgers instead of thousand island dressing.
Other Mexican inspired recipes you will love:
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Enchilada Casserole
- Sheet Pan Cauliflower Rice
- Vegan Avocado Dressing
- Easy Black Bean Soup
- Authentic Guacamole Recipe
- Fresh Tomato Salsa
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Taco Salad
Chipotle Salad Dressing
- 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup drippy nut or seed butter
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 medjool dates pitted*
- 1 large clove garlic zested
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder*
- ¾-1 cup water
- Place all ingredients , but water into blender or food processor. Add in ½ cup water and blend until fully mixed. Scrape down sides and process for another minute. Add more water a bit at a time until desired consistency. You may need a cup for a pourable dressing and closer to ¾ cup for a dipping sauce. Amount of water needed will also depend on how moist the dates are and how creamy your nut butter is.
- Store in a glass jar with tight fitting lid for up to 2 weeks. Dressing will thicken up as it chills. You may want to add 1-2 Tablespoons warm water and shake vigorously before using after a prolonged refrigeration.