Looking for an easy, creamy balsamic dressing to add a zing to your favourite salads? This vegan balsamic vinaigrette is rich and creamy thanks to a little Dijon mustard – not cream or cashews – so it comes together in just 5 minutes with NO special equipment. Gluten free + nut free.

creamy balsamic salad dressing in a glass with spoon

Maybe you’ve heard this one before, but what’s a vegan’s favourite food? 

It’s sauce, of course…and salad dressings are not excluded from that special honour.

Nerdy dietitian jokes aside, I’m not just a dietitian… I’m also someone who really loves food! So I want all of my healthy plant-based recipes – including my salads – to be CRAVEABLE. And knowing a few good salad dressing recipes will help you do it, every single time.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing Ingredients

To make this salad dressing, you need just 6 basic pantry ingredients, plus salt and pepper! Pop them all in a jam jar, shake it up and in less than 5 minutes, you have a really yummy addition to almost any salad!

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Balsamic vinegar – not balsamic reduction
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Maple syrup
creamy balsamic dressing ingredients

Balsamic vinegar vs balsamic reduction/glaze

You may have seen that there are more than a few different types of balsamic vinegars to choose from in the grocery store. I tend to save the fancy aged DOP balsamic for special occasions, like drizzling straight over summer-ripe strawberries and grab two basics for my pantry.

Balsamic vinegar: balsamic vinegar comes from Italy, where it is traditionally produced by fermenting from grape must (whole pressed grapes with their skins, seeds and juices) and aging in barrels. This creates a thick, rich, syrupy vinegar that is a real delicacy and not exactly priced for everyday use. There is a ton of history – and different designations – for varieties of balsamic vinegar but generally, what you’ll be buying at the supermarket is generally a cooked, not fermented vinegar produced in the same region (Modena) as traditionally fermented balsamic but it is lighter in texture. A good quality version of this type of vinegar is typically designated as IGP.

Balsamic reduction or balsamic glaze: if you cook down a standard IGP balsamic vinegar until it’s syrupy and thick, you get balsamic reduction, or glaze. Yes, you can make it yourself! You can also buy it, because, who doesn’t love to save time? The ones you buy in the store may be made like a true reduction, or have added thickeners such as guar gum to produce that thick texture.

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette Storage + Tips

This dressing emulsifies beautifully because it has a good dose of Dijon mustard, which is a natural emulsifier. All you need to do is shake and pour!

  • This dressing keeps extremely well in the fridge, for up to 5 days. It’s a great meal prep item to have on hand for salads all week long.
  • Don’t have olive oil? Try avocado oil or high-oleic sunflower oil instead
  • Low FODMAP? Go ahead and remove the garlic and try a tiny pinch of black salt or hing (asafoetida) to add a bit more depth to the dressing. Grab more low fodmap swaps here.
  • I don’t recommend that you substitute another mustard for Dijon as it will have a very different flavour and won’t emulsify as well. However, this dressing could taste yummy with a traditional grainy mustard too.

Salads to go with creamy balsamic dressing

  • This dressing was first created for my winter panzanella, so it’s my top recommendation!
  • It would also be delicious with my snap pea salad, perhaps with a little peppery arugula added
  • Or try it on a pasta salad
  • You could even pair it with a simple Italian chopped salad: lots of crunchy lettuce, olives, tomatoes and blanched green beans.

More great vegan salad dressings and sauces

creamy balsamic salad dressing in a glass with spoon

Creamy Balsamic Dressing (Vegan)

This creamy balsamic dressing is so easy to make: just 5 minutes + 6 pantry ingredients! It's vegan, gluten free and will add a ton of flavour to your favourite salads.
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, micro grated or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

Instructions 

  • Add oil, balsamic, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon, maple syrup salt and pepper to a mason or jam jar. Place lid on tightly and shake up.

Notes

Dressing will keep well for up to 5 days in the fridge.