Oil-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette

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I’m not crazy into salads, and I’m careful how many I make for my non vegan friends since salad is the assumed diet of the vegan. So when I do make salads, you bet your bum they are tasty. My salads have a specific set of criteria. The base needs to be sturdy. Here I went with spinach, kale and arugula. Each of these greens are complex with flavor and set the tone of this salad. Rule number two is flavor. Sweet and salty need to be present. Sweet comes from strawberries, savory comes from the red onion, then the two combine in the zingy vegan tempeh bacon strips delicately flung on top. Third is the stand in for cheese. Because it will be hard to convince a non vegan that your salad is legit unless there is a bomb substitute for cheese. My favorite is some avocado. Although it does’t taste like cheese, it’s a creamy and buttery stand in for the real thing. The fourth salad rule is a darn good dressing. Some salads just need some oil and vinegar, but this one begged for something hearty. Which is where my Oil-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette makes an appearance.

What’s So Great About Oil-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette?

So many dressings on the market are so weighed down by oils and dairy. I love a good dressing that feels rich, but I know is healthy for me. Nothing is worse than building a superfood salad then dumping on a nutrition travesty of a dressing. This oil-free balsamic vinaigrette keeps it cute without weighing down your salad.

Almond and Balsamic Salad
Prep time
Total time
To take advantage of March's seasonal produce, I mixed up an almond butter vinaigrette to compliment these flavors. I tossed together a salad of spinach, arugula, roasted sweet potato, red onion, vegan bacon bits, and avocado. The nuttiness compliments the sweet and savory of the ingredients for this fresh and filling salad to celebrate the beginning of spring. Better yet, its also oil-free! Don't worry, I'm not about to go all fat-free HCLF on you. Just letting some other ingredients shine.
Recipe type: Vegan Gluten Free
Cuisine: Mean Greens
Serves: 4
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ c creamy almond butter
  • 1½ t minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3-4 T water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ t each of rosemary and thyme
  • Salad
  • favorite herbs, rosemary, thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • spinach arugula mix
  • massaged kale
  • fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced or chunked
  • ¼ c crumbled vegan bacon (use your favorite!)
  1. In a food processor combine the vinegar and almond butter. Blend until creamy. Add in the remaining dressing ingredients and make sure it tastes to your liking. Add water until thinned down enough to drizzle. I like to drizzle my dressing over the greens in my salad. BUT only if I am eating it right away. I would save the dressing and drizzle it right before you enjoy. And Enjoy!


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