Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creamy Herbed Sunflower Seed Dressing or Dip (dairy-free, paleo)

I receive quite a few comments and requests about nut-free recipes. Indeed, we do eat a lot of nuts, but we enjoy seeds quite often as well. This creamy ranch-style dressing is perfect to top any type of green salad, be it a crispy romaine salad or a picnic potato salad. If you use less water the dressing is a creamy dip for carrot and celery sticks. I also love that this dressing is raw, made from soaked raw sunflower seeds. Before you go to bed at night just place the seeds in a bowl and cover with filtered water. If I am making this dressing for dinner then I would begin soaking the seeds around lunchtime.

I use lemon juice and garlic in this dressing, which for some breastfeeding moms might be problematic (if your baby is very young). Our baby just turned 3 months and can tolerate just about anything I eat now. Early on I could not eat lemon juice or raw garlic. So if you are making this recipe for a new mom or are breastfeeding yourself (or cannot tolerate citrus), I would replace the lemon with about 3 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar and omit the garlic.

Creamy Herb Sunflower Dressing

In the wintertime I use dried herbs, but in the summertime I use whatever fresh herbs are growing in my garden. Snipped chives are particularly delicious, as well as fresh marjoram. Reduce the water and create a luscious, white, creamy dip perfect for any crispy veggie. This dip makes a great holiday party appetizer alongside a platter of raw, organic veggies!

1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 to 6 hours
1/2 to 1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 to 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
small handful fresh parsley

Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 4 to 6 hours then drain and rinse. Place into a Vitamix or blender with the water (less for a dip, more for a dressing), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Blend on high for one minute or until very creamy and smooth. Then add the herbs and blend on a lower speed until combined but not completely pureed.

Pour into a glass mason jar, cover, and store in your refrigerator until ready to serve. The salad pictured here is made from greens, raw carrots, roasted beets, sprouts, and hemp seeds. Source:

Other Yummy Salads and Dressings:
Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Creamy Cranberry Dressing
Orange-Wasabi Cabbage Salad
Asian Chicken Salad with a Soy-Free Dressing
Nasturtium and Kohlrabi Salad with Creamy Lemon-Dill Dressing (dairy-free)

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Lovely dressing. I am so excited to make this today. I will serve it with the dinner salad tonight!!
    Thanks for your wonderful blog--it is truly amazing and so helpful.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  2. Oh, thank you for this Ali! It is so hard to find dressing without xanthan gum so making my own will be lovely.

    I wanted you to know, my mom and I used your cookbook to make our first gluten-free vegan Thanksgiving feast. It was so colorful, fresh, and filling that even our meat-and-potatoes men enjoyed it!

    You can see photos by clicking on my blogger icon. :) :)

  3. Thanks Ali! I really appreciate the nut, dairy, citrus free recipes!!! Can't wait to make it :)

  4. Sounds Awesome! Dang! Wish I had a lemon...and a car!! = (

  5. Do you think this would work using sunflower butter instead of soaking and blending my own sunflower seeds? I often do dressings or sauces with tahini or peanut butter, so it sounds similar. Wondering if the flavor would be similar enough since yours sounds delicious!

  6. YUM! Going to go soak the seeds NOW! Thank you!!

  7. That sounds delicious!!! Will it keep in the fridge for a while??

  8. aww Ali thank you.. there is nothing better then homemade dressings. We love sunflower seeds, I never thought to make salad dressing with them. I will be making it for tomorrow evenings dining. Its such a joy to receive such scrumptious things in my emails. Thank you thank you...:)

  9. This looks lovely. I really enjoy creamy dressings, but don't make them often. This would be perfect on a salad!

  10. I just made this salad and dressing last night. As usual with you recipes, it was fresh, perfectly balanced and amazing! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Oh I love making my own dressings. This looks so creamy-can't wait to make it for my family!

  12. MMM - this looks delicious! I absolutely love using nuts and things in dips!!!

  13. This dressing is absolutely amazing. My husband is picky (actually he only likes store bought ranch- yuck), and he was very impressed by this recipe. Thank you so very much.

  14. I just made this and dipped a carrot in it to try and YUMMY! Can't wait for it to chill so I can try it on a salad! I bet you could even use it "thick" as a sandwich spread.

  15. I know this will taste good because I make one quite similar (which hasn't made the blog yet)!

    I must try your herb choice though, it sounds wonderful!

  16. How long would this last in the fridge?


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)