This simple and delicious Vegan Ranch Dressing with Hemp is packed full of nutrition and taste. With only five ingredients it is an easy way to dress up a salad, and also tastes great on Buddha bowls or as a healthy dip for vegetables.
Hemp hearts are currently a hot topic and for good reason. They are an easy protein source, packed full of essential fatty acids, locally grown, and super versatile. I love hemp so much I’ve shared my favourite milk alternative Hemp Milk, and this yummy nutrient-dense snack Hemp and Sunflower Seed Pâté in the past. This Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe with Hemp is my new favourite way to incorporate hemp into my day. The creaminess of the hemp lends itself to this dressing, and I love it with shredded kale, beets, and carrots on top of fluffy quinoa.
Why I Made This Vegan Ranch Dressing with Hemp
A Creamy Hemp Salad Dressing
Hemp hearts are the end result of removing the outer shell from the hemp seed. Removing the outer shell removes some of the fibre, but also makes many of the nutrients in the hemp hearts more bioavailable (see How To Get Enough Zinc for Vegans and Vegetarians).
The resulting hemp hearts can create a creamy consistency that is more difficult to get from fibrous seeds. Hemp hearts are perfect for this dressing because not only do they create a non-dairy creamy salad dressing base, they are also a great source of plant-based protein.
A Plant-Based Ranch Dressing
Making your own homemade plant-based ranch dressing eliminates unnecessary additives and creates a dressing that is filled with only nourishing ingredients. Many pre-purchased salad dressings are flavoured with monosodium glutamate and use stabilizers and preservatives.
A Raw Ranch Dressing
This dressing is completely raw, with no heat-processed ingredients. The use of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar offers beneficial live-active cultures which have an important role in gut health. See 5 Tips On How To Improve Gut Health Naturally – Prebiotics, Probiotics and Fermented Foods for more info.
A Ranch Dressing with No Mayo
Many ranch dressing recipes use mayonnaise in the recipe. The use of hemp hearts in this dressing recipe creates that creamy base and is a great replacement for mayo.
A Salad Dressing with No Oil
This salad dressing does not use any oil. There are plenty of healthy fats coming from the hemp hearts, that no additional fat source is required. For more tips on making homemade salad dressings see my post The ULTIMATE Guide On How To Make Salad Dressing.
Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Hearts
Hemp hearts are a nutrition powerhouse. They contain ~7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and important minerals including magnesium and zinc. See my post Chia vs Flax vs Hemp for more information on the health benefits of hemp.
History of Hemp in Canada
Back in the 1800s the King of England offered free land (and free hemp seed) to immigrants who moved to Canada and grew hemp for both textile production and as a food. Unfortunately in 1937 hemp became strictly regulated by the Marijuana Tax Act, largely due to confusion with other kinds of cannabis.
In 1970 we saw the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act coming in, abolishing the taxation approach of the Marijuana Tax Act, and effectively making all cultivation of cannabis illegal by setting a zero tolerance for THC.
Fast forward to 1998, after years of organized advocacy work, industrial hemp was legalized in Canada for the first time in decades.
Sustainability of Hemp Seeds
Farmers are pleased by the easy nature of hemp growing, and consumers are happy that minimal or no herbicides or pesticides are needed. The sturdy hemp plant works to push out weeds, and the large leaves suppress the light, further out-competing weeds. In addition to this, hemp uses very little water, is fast-growing, and can help break up subsoil which improves soil and helps with land management.
Tips For This Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe
Making It Creamy
Use a good quality blender to get the creamiest consistency. If you are unsure of the quality of your blender, make sure to mince the fresh dill finely.
Storing This Dressing
If you love ranch dressing as much as I do, double the recipe and save the rest for later in the week. The dressing will keep for at least 7 days in an airtight glass container in the fridge.
Variations On This Ranch Dressing
Making It With Cashews
Cashews that have been soaked for at least 6 hours can also be used in place of hemp. Place 1/2 cup of raw cashews in a bowl and cover with water, and let sit on the counter for 6 hours. Drain before use and proceed with the recipe as directed.
Making It With Tahini
Tahini is an excellent replacement for hemp as many tahini pastes will use hulled sesame seeds for a creamier consistency. Replace the hemp hearts with 1/2 cup hulled tahini paste.
Using Dried Dill
Dried herbs tend to be stronger than fresh herbs. Start with 2 tablespoons of dried dill and taste and adjust as needed.
Which Vinegar To Use
White wine vinegar can be used in place of apple cider vinegar, though it will not offer the benefits provided from the live-active cultures in the apple cider vinegar. Fresh lemon juice is used in place of vinegar in the original ranch dressing recipe.
More Uses For This Dressing Recipe
This dressing shouldn’t be limited to just salad. Try it with some of these favourite recipes:
- Use it on this Japanese Salad Bowl with Brown Rice in place of the Miso Tahini Dressing
- Try it on this Baked Tofu Quinoa Salad Bowl in place of the Glory Bowl Dressing
- Use it on this Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl
- Smother it on these Vegan Almond Tempeh Meatballs
- Use it as a healthy dip for cut-up vegetables
- Try in on top of steamed vegetables
Want More Plant-Based Salad Dressing Recipes?
See this The ULTIMATE Guide On How To Make Salad Dressing for more vegan and plant-based salad dressing recipes.
Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe with Hemp
- ½ cup hemp hearts raw
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup dill fresh
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar unpasteurised
- 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. It may seem runny to begin with but it will thicken with time. Season to taste.
- Store in the refrigerator in a sealed mason jar. The dressing will last about 7 days in the fridge.
Cashews that have been soaked for at least 6 hours can also be used in place of hemp. Place 1/2 cup of raw cashews in a bowl and cover with water, and let sit on the counter for 6 hours. Drain before use and proceed with the recipe as directed. MAKING THIS VEGAN RANCH DRESSING WITH TAHINI
Tahini is an excellent replacement for hemp as many tahini pastes will use hulled sesame seeds for a creamier consistency. Replace the hemp hearts with 1/2 cup hulled tahini paste. USING DRIED DILL FOR THIS VEGAN RANCH DRESSING RECIPE
Dried herbs tend to be stronger than fresh herbs. Start with 2 tablespoons of dried dill and taste and adjust as needed. USING A DIFFERENT VINEGAR FOR THIS VEGAN RANCH DRESSING
White wine vinegar can be used in place of apple cider vinegar, though it will not offer the benefits provided from the live-active cultures in the apple cider vinegar. Adapted from Oh She Glows
Rachel Dickens is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University and is currently a PhD student at UBC. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on Indigenous Food Sovereignty while sharing diabetes-friendly recipes and tips for diabetes prevention.