Creamy Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing or Sauce


Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and SweetsHere we are on the last day of our Dairy-Free Recipe Potluck – the 21-Day Dairy-Free Challenge starts tomorrow (you can join anytime)! To wrap things up, I have a healthy yet satisfying recipe from my own kitchen: creamy anti-inflammatory salad dressing.

We’ve had quite a bit of dessert inspiration lately, but I know everyday life calls for scrumptious ways to enjoy savory foods, too. This creamy anti-inflammatory salad dressing delivers with just a little sweet, a little savory, a little tangy, a little spicy and a whole lot of satisfying and nutritious versatility.

Creamy Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing or Sauce - dairy-free, paleo, vegan, and easy from-scratch

It was over a decade ago that I first read about anti-inflammation in the book The Inflammation Syndrome by Jack Challem. The term has continued to pop up from time to time on healthy diet chats and posts, but this year, it’s really gaining steam. At the Fancy Food Show, foods like turmeric were abuzz and just last week, my husband’s doctor recommended he incorporate some more anti-inflammatory foods into his diet.

At first I was a little stumped on where to make changes – our diets seemed pretty solid as is – but then I remembered that the dressing on our daily big salads could use a healthy makeover. Rather than modify, I started from scratch with several nutrient-rich ingredients that I knew would go well together:

And using this cashew milk and chia blend in place of typical mayo not only pumps up the nutrition, but it also leaves you with generously sized low-fat, oil-free servings – just 5 to 6 grams of fat per full 3 tablespoons! Enjoy this creamy anti-inflammatory salad dressing atop your favorite salad greens, or drizzle it over steamed cauliflower or potatoes. It can be served at room temperature, or if you opt to gently heat it as a sauce, note that it will thicken even more.

Creamy Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing or Sauce - dairy-free, paleo, vegan, and easy from-scratch

Special Diet Notes: Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and mostly paleo (easily adaptable for strict paleo).

The Dairy-Free Recipe Potluck is sponsored by So Delicious Dairy Free and the 21 Day Dairy-Free Challenge.

Take the So Delicious 21 Day Dairy-Free Challenge

5.0 from 1 reviews
Creamy Anti-Inflammatory Salad Dressing or Sauce
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings (about ¾ cup)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (use white for a lighter color)
  • ⅔ cup So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (use agave nectar for strict vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon curry powder, to taste (I used Trader Joe's - the full amount)
  • ⅛ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Place the cashews and chia seeds in a spice grinder or small food processor and grind into a powder. It's okay if it begins to clump.
  2. Put the cashew-chia mixture in your blender with about half of the cashew milk. Blend until smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining cashew milk, vinegar, honey or agave, turmeric, ginger, curry (to taste), mustard, salt, and pepper. Puree for about 60 seconds more, or until nice and smooth. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if desired.
  4. For maximum thickening and to let the flavors meld, chill for 30 minutes, and then briefly blend or whisk before pouring atop your salad. Can be gently heated and served with steamed vegetables, if desired.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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      • Carol McDowell on

        You may want to research this more. I think the steaming is only meant to free them from bacteria that cause illness. The soaking removes some of the anti nutrients. Cashews have one of the highest amounts.

        • Thanks you so much for bringing this up again Carol, as I have researched it further since doing this recipe. To clarify, I wasn’t stating that the steaming does the same thing as soaking – but rather that they aren’t truly “raw” because they are steamed. You are definitely welcome to soak them if you wish, but the dressing won’t be as thick. It is the thickening agent in this recipe. Keep in mind that the whole batch contains less than 1 ounce of cashews – 4 servings (less than .25 ounce per serving). If you are concerned about even small amounts of nuts in terms of phytic acid, then it is best to avoid nut butters and snacking nuts, too, unless the nuts are sprouted or soaked and dehydrated. For nut heavy recipes, I do soak, but for recipes like this, I note what most of the research states on moderation. I hope that helps!

  3. Regina Rolland on

    Hello your information is so helpful , I’ve been diagnosed with M.S. I plan to heal my body mainly by changing the way I eat and what I eat it’s been a change,I live on salads so thanks for alternative salad dressing to store bought ones plan to use this on my vegetables also

  4. Enid Bamberger on

    The doctor just put me on strict paleo. You mention it can be modified to be “strict “. Looking at the ingredients and being new to paleo, only about 9weeks in… I don’t see the difference. Can you please help on what would be different? I have a couple autoimmune diseases and I’m trying to see if Paleo will help. Thank you!

    • Hi Enid, I don’t believe the store-bought cashew milk is strictly paleo (it’s close, but may have some additives that aren’t approved). You can use homemade cashew milk or light coconut milk thinned a touch for strict paleo.

  5. I may be a year late to comment but I just made this dressing last night. I had of the ingredients on hand and threw everything in my Vitamix exactly as written, well except I cut the honey in half and just eyeballed the ginger and cut a chunk off. It was absolutely delicious and I could barely keep from eating it all directly from the spoon! For my own tastes, I ended up about doubling the ginger as I enjoy a bit of kick and I was thinking that I’d cut the curry a little next time but the more I tasted it the more I liked it. My husband and I had it on our salads last night and I just used some to ‘dip’ some crudité in for lunch…again delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe.

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  8. I’m wondering if I could replace the cashew milk with almond milk just one time? I have the almond milk, and all of the other ingredients, but the weather is yucky out there, and I don’t want to go out for the cashew milk!

  9. This looks great! How long do you suppose it would stay in the fridge? If I made a batch would I be able to use it over the course of the week?

  10. This looks great! I need to start eating more anti-inflammatory foods because I get bloated SO easily. I keep reading about turmeric and it’s benefits/probiotic benefits, so I’ll have to pick that up next time I’m at the grocery store.

  11. One of my sons is dairy free,and another has a rare form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis…so any anti inflammatory recipes I see I try…this seems like it will be a hit,love your recipes

  12. It’s truly shocking how many foods contribute to chronic, systemic inflammation and in turn, how many symptoms and diseases are caused by inflammation! I’ve just re-read the book It Starts With Food (for the 4th time; apparently it takes awhile for nutrition messages to sink in…) and am working to decrease my consumption of inflammatory foods, primarily grains and dairy. Your recipe looks delicious!

  13. I cannot wait to make this – my mom is here today (with her two dachshunds, added to my one dachshund, HA!), and we are roasting veggies for lunch – I am pretty sure I have everything to make this today! Yay!

    thanks for the recipe – it sounds PERFECT for me!

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