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Help: Need salad dressing without any vinegar

Howdy all,

I am hosting new friends for dinner, and one of them has a vinegar allergy. I'm interested in serving salad, and would like to make a dressing that my friend can eat. Obviously a dressing with lemon juice is a good start, but I need some help refining this idea. I thought about a mustard based dressing, but of course prepared mustard is usually made with vinegar, so that's out.

I've also thought about a creamy, yogurt-based dressing. Maybe a twist on a green goddess dressing -- but can this be made without white vinegar?

Other allergy restrictions in the party: mangoes, almonds, oranges, cream, sour cream (but yogurt is ok).

Thanks for your advice!

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  1. I think a creamy dressing is the way to go. Something that I make from time to time is a creamy French/Russian dressing with mayo, ketchup, relish and paprika. It's retro and reminds me of what my mom used to make.
    Of course you can do a nice blue or gorgonzola with yogurt, mayo, lemon and crumbled cheese. Throw in a dash of hot sauce.
    Iceberg wedges would work nicely with these creamy, clingy dressings.

    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Depending on the allergy specifications....I think that many ketchups/condiments are made with vinegar, so that would rule out some of your (tasty sounding) dressing ideas. (?)

      1. re: monavano

        Ketchup, mayonnaise, prepared mustard, and relish all have vinegar in them.

        One idea, if you want a mustard flavored dressing, is to use dried mustard powder. It'll add the flavor, but won't have the binding properties of prepared mustard.

      2. Personally, a dressing that I love (but that may not work with the menu) is a lemon-tahini salad dressing. Just make sure the tahini isn't potentially cross-contaminated with almonds. Here's a good start with the proportions:


        (you can add in a little yogurt if you want for a different sort of creaminess/tanginess....)

        1. Last week I was craving pesto, so got a prepared pesto and thinned it with fresh lemon juice for a really nice salad with greens, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm. It was delightful. That should work for the allergy and not make you feel like anyone is missing anything.

          1. I think lemon juice is the way to go--how about caesar salad? Also I make a dressing with orange or apricot jam, orange juice, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes & olive oil. Since you said oranges are out--you could sub tangerine juice maybe. If you do it in the blender & drizzle in the OO it emulsifies nicely.

            1. I would first dress the salad in evoo and salt. Then lemon juice.

              You can put spinach and arugula and basil in the salad, some endive leaves, something nutty, then grated parmigiano-reggiano when you plate the salads.

              I would avoid condiments. They have vinegar.

              1. One of my favorite salad dressings is a Thai/Viet sort of thing with fish sauce and lime juice as the base. I go with fish sauce, lime juice, some chopped hot peppers, sugar or honey, and cilantro. Maybe a little garlic and/or ginger, or even lemongrass.

                It's great over a herby/peppery salad with stuff like cilantro, mint, arugula, (thai) basil and so on..

                1. I love this salad: Winter Fruit Salad with lemon poppyseed dressing.

                  Romaine, apple, pear, craisins, cashews, and a little cheese (optional), in a nice lemon dressing.

                  1. we use basil, olive oil, Parmesan add a little lemon and fresh ground pepper. Process in a food
                    processor for desired consistency. My wife has suggested using red wine, dried mustard,fresh garlic
                    pepper and olive oil. Have tried both and they both work

                      1. BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

                        1 8oz container of yogurt
                        1 4oz package crumbled blue cheese
                        1 T Hellman's mayo
                        1 t. minced garlic

                        Whirl all ingredients in a blender.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: noodlepoodle


                          1pt sour cream
                          4-6 oz crumbled blue cheese
                          juice of a lemon
                          lots of pepper

                          crumble cheese into sour cream, mix in lemon and pepper, leave with lumps of cheese

                        2. Lemon juice is definitely the way to go. I've been making a lemon garlic vinaigrette for years that is so simple and so delicious. Nice bright flavors:

                          For 1/2 cup of dressing:

                          6 TBS EVOO
                          2 TBS lemon juice
                          1 tsp salt
                          1 garlic clove
                          freshly ground black pepper

                          Chop the garlic very fine and mix together with the salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and olive oil. Add the black pepper to taste.

                          1. Combine 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part water, and some miso paste (to taste), with some diced garlic, grated ginger and lemon zest.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Some people who are allergic to vinegar can't deal with soy sauce, either, because fermentation is the issue. Miso may be on the same list, though I don't know for sure. Mushrooms may also be contraindicated. It's a migraine diet.

                            2. These are all great ideas! Thank you! I am in the midst of weighing the options -- I'll report back.

                              1. Thanks everyone. I ended up with a nice dressing, cobbled together from various suggestions here as well as a base recipe for green goddess dressing that I adapted to the allergy needs.

                                Here's the final recipe:

                                1 c. non-fat greek yogurt
                                2-3 tbsp olive oil
                                2 tbsp lemon juice
                                4 anchovy fillets (or equivalent anchovy paste)
                                3 tbsp snipped chives
                                1-2 scallions, chopped
                                4-6 leaves basil, torn into small pieces
                                2-3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, torn into pieces
                                2-3 tbsp parsley leaves, torn into pieces
                                2 tbsp fresh dill leaves, torn into pieces
                                1 clove garlic, minced
                                a few tsp of grated romano cheese
                                salt & pepper

                                Combine all ingredients in food processor, blender, or in a wide jar for use with immersion blender. Blend until combined into a smooth, bright green, creamy dressing flecked with herbs.

                                It was a hit -- probably the best dressing I've ever made. And pretty lo-cal. This one goes in the recipe file for me.

                                (And for those who are interested, it turns out that the vinegar allergy is because of the yeast; there's also minor nightshade allergies for the same family. Bummer.)

                                PS: I like the mustard powder idea. I'm totally gonna use that in the future if I host these guys again.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: litchick

                                  Wow, that sounds great! Congratulations on your ingenuity.

                                2. Fatoosh Salad:
                                  Olive Oil or a mix of Canola and Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Fresh Parsley, Garlic, Sumac, lightly fried Pita (broken up as chips) Romaine, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Red Pepper, Red Onion (soaked in cold water), little pieces of cauliflower, lots of fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. You can add mint if you wish. (If making for people that are not allergic to vinegar add a splash of red wine vinegar)

                                  1. Evoo
                                    Lemon juice
                                    minced garlic
                                    powdered mustard
                                    raw egg yolk
                                    minced shallot

                                    1. Wow some great ideas came from here thank you.

                                      My boyfriend is also allergic. Besides this dressing alternative, I am looking for a Condiment alternative as well so he can enjoy all of the summer picnic salads, burgers and such. Currently he uses a cucumber just to moisten his burgers. I would like to give him other options. Can anyone help with that?