Creamy Orange Walnut Dressing

by Gena on October 9, 2012

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One of my major healthy eating tips for busy people is to spend a little while on weekends (or off days) making staples. “Staple” will vary from person to person, but for me, weekly staples include salad dressings, grains, beans cooked from scratch, a raw nut spread or pate, and a raw ball or bar or two. Of these, I might actually argue that salad dressings are most important. When I’m short on time, I’m more than happy to just use a mix of acid (lemon or vinegar) and fat (avocado, oil, tahini). But I do love a good salad dressing, and find that they can elevate so many kinds of meals, from salads to rice bowls. Having them on hand always means that veggie snacks will sound enticing, that salads will be festive, and that you have something to season just about anything.

You can visit my dressings to see an array of the ones I love, but this one is a current favorite. Since my creamy curried dressing some weeks ago, I’ve been on a kick of using walnuts in salad dressings; it’s a distinctive taste—not neutral like cashews or pine nuts—but in a good way. And the Omega 3’s are a nice benefit!

In this recipe, the earthy walnuts are brightened by zesty, sweet citrus. This recipe will be a keeper all winter long, I can tell: I find that citrus fruits are wonderful in autumn and through the colder months.

Creamy Orange Walnut Dressing (raw, vegan, gluten free)

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup walnuts, shelled
1 heaping cup orange, peeled, sectioned, and seeds removed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp mellow white miso (or any miso you have)
1 pitted date
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Dash salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender till smooth. You can also do this in a food processor! Serve over greens, as a zesty mayo substitute in sandwiches, or on a hot bowl of brown rice.

When I first made this, I massaged it into kale:

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The next time, I packed it up in my customary lunchbox. This portable meal was a salad with white beans, carrots, a Real Food Barre in the black swan chocolate cherry flavor, and some of my dressing, of course!

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Apple and nut butter for afternoon snackage:

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All told, a tasty lunchbox.

Hope you give the dressing a try soon! I’ll see you back here with a delicious and exotic spin on autumn squash bisque.

xo

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah October 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Have you tried the new Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter yet? Almost makes me want to trade in my chocolate habit for endless almond butter.

…which may have something to do with the fact that cocoa butter in listed as an ingredient. I’M ONTO YOU, JUSTIN.

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Taylor October 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I love this. I will be buying some oranges on my next trip to the store. I am in serious need of some new salad dressings! I love that lunchbox too, although I typically make my salads much, much larger :)

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Gena October 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

My salads are usually much, much larger too, but my bag is also full of textbooks and notebooks, so I adjust to student life. Only so much fits in a backpack, alas :)

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Taylor October 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Definitely understand. Backpacks are way too small! I am lucky that my school is only a few blocks away from home so I either bike back home or carry my lunch in a separate bag. I really like that you post about what you bring to school because I am always looking for new ideas!

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Heather October 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Do you have any suggestions for miso substitutes in this recipe?

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 6:14 am

You can just omit it and add more salt! I do love miso, but it’s primary function is to add saltiness.

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Heather J October 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

Thanks! I love using whole nuts or nut butters in salad dressings. :)

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Lw October 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Coconut Aminos by the Coconut Secret brand. I use it in place of soy sauce. It adds that fermented salty flavor and it even has less salt than soy sauce.

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Janae @ Bring-Joy October 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I love this! I actually have all of these ingredients on hand & can try it out tomorrow.

I fear I get too much stuck in the old rut of balsamic vinegar & herbs on all my salad, or seasoned rice vinegar. One of my fave dressings for steamed veggies is 1 cup walnuts & 2 cups water, plus some Braggs. I love how rich & creamy it is! Walnuts create an amazingly satisfying base.

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Heidi kokborg October 10, 2012 at 1:32 am

Thanks for the recipe, Gena! I love dressing but I tend to just do the same dressings again and again, so it is nice with a little variety and this one sounds really good!

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 6:13 am

You’re welcome! Glad you like!

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Liza October 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

It’s good to have a wide variety of choices when it comes to salad dressing. You are least likely going to get bored in eating salads.

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the delicate place October 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

i love the justin’s vanilla! oohhh exotic squash bisque? i’m all in!

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Marissa October 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

I just made this for lunch, and it’s really good. Not sure if brown rice mellow miso is stronger than white mellow miso (?), but the prominence of the miso flavor was a nice surprise! My oranges were exceptionally juicy, so I didn’t add more water in. I served it over a salad of arugula, cucumber, and avocado and topped it off with some dried cherries. Yum! I’d like to use it as a dip for some raw vegan sushi, too!

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Skye October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I recently discovered that I love miso in salad dressing. I have a nut allergy but this sounds so yummy that I might give it a try with seeds instead of walnuts!

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Lia October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Dressings really are so important. I’ve heard many a cooking student of mine remark “So all it ever needed was good dressing! Now I get it!” Hahahaha! Classic! This sounds tasty and simple, two things I like. Thanks!

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elizabeth October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Hi Gena

I tried to leave a comment before, but it does not seem to have posted. I apologize if you end up with a double. I completely agree about cooking ahead. It makes the week so much easier! Can you tell me what grains you prepare? I am trying to cut back on the amount of rice I eat, given the recent controversy. Thanks!
Elizabeth

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Brown rice (I’m buying organic and not worrying too much), quinoa, millet. And I rotate in barley on occasion!

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity October 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

This sounds divine!
I’m not going to lie to you, I often don’t have dressing or I have some bought balsamic vinegar because I’m always busy.
This sounds super easy. How long does the dressing usually last in the fridge for?
Xx

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Ummm, not sure. A week?

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BroccoliHut October 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm

This sounds delicious! I’ve been really into making my own salad dressing lately, so this will be the next on the list, for sure.

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Hooray!

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janet @ the taste space October 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I also do the cooking for the week thing and a new dressing is on deck each week. This looks great, Gena. It reminds me of your addictive cashew orange miso dip. I can’t wait to try this with walnuts.

For portable salads, have you ever done the salad in a mason jar? I discovered it this summer and haven’t looked back since! I can shake the dressing all over my salad and pre.pack my salads for the week. This was my first one that I shared (with a fab lemon ginger dressing): http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/salad-in-a-jar-and-topaz-dragon-ginger-dressing/

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I love the idea, but I don’t love the heaviness of the bottle, alas — I can’t carry any glassware to school with two textbooks and a netbook in the backpack (plus I’d need a GIANT, thus heavier, mason jar). But the concept is adorable.

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janet @ the taste space October 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

Yeah, the heaviness is pretty much the only drawback (and it is breakable). Wow, you certainly carry a lot of stuff with you! Textbooks are heavy suckers. Good on you!

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wendy (healthy girls kitchen) October 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Gena-
At a VitaMix demo I learned that you do not have to remove the seeds from oranges. So now I just take the skin off and throw the whole thing into dressings and smoothies.

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Gena October 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Good tip!!! Thanks.

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Half-Crazed Runner October 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

Thinking about getting the Vitamix. Now I have even more reason – this looks wonderful! Thanks!

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SarahRuth October 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Made this dressing last night and it’s superb! I ended up using cashews instead of walnuts, since that’s what I had on hand and I just peeled and quartered my large orange before I threw it in the Vitamix. Came out perfect! Thanks for such a great recipe.

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sarah October 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Gena, I love your blog and am often inspired to make something you’re created, but I have to ask about the “baby” carrots. Every time I see them in one of your pics, I’m startled out of the post and start to wonder why you’re eating those things. The packaged baby carrots I’ve experienced taste nothing like actual carrots and oftentimes taste like the chlorine they’ve been dipped in. Are you getting higher quality baby carrots on the east coast than we get on the west coast, or is it a sacrifice you’re willing to make for convenience?

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Ttrockwood October 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I had same experience but found organic makes a HUGEflavor difference! Trader joes has 1lb organic baby carrots for about $2
If what you buy already is organic then, um, maybe bring cucumber slices?

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Katie of Vegan Noms October 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I don’t know why… but I absolutely LOVE seeing lunchbox photos. I don’t know if I’m just voyeuristic or what, but seeing the creative combinations (and presentations) of what folks eat for lunch every day is so much fun!

Yours looks so fresh and healthy – and the dressing looks BOMB! <3

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Hannah October 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

Gena just to let you know I adored this dressing – I think I’d like to try it with brown rice vinegar and/or tahini in place of walnuts too sometime. Thanks for a great idea xx

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