Hollyhock Yeast Dressing

I’ve been talking about doing a post on my all time favorite salad dressing for a long time now – so long, in fact, that I took this photo in June of 2006 in preparation for it. I’ve been making a version of this salad for about 8 years. In the beginning, I used a locally made bottled dressing, but I was lucky enough to discover a “taste alike” recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks several years ago. Since that discovery, there’s always a bottle of this delicious concoction mixed and ready in the fridge.

Yeast Dressing (from Hollyhock Cooks):
Into the jar of a blender add:

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (not brewer’s yeast, which is bitter and awful – look for yeast flakes such as “Red Star” brand)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tamari (try to find tamari as regular soy sauce or Bragg’s doesn’t taste quite the same)
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (I often just throw a few large whole cloves in and let the blender do the work)

Blend for a minute or so until everything comes together. With the blender running, remove the lid and slowly add (in a thin, steady stream):

  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil or other light vegetable oil (don’t use extra virgin olive oil as the flavor is too strong)

This will taste better if allowed to sit in the fridge for a while, but I always end up using it right away when I make a new batch. Shake well before each use. Keeps well in the refrigerator for a long time, but usually doesn’t last that long.
The dressing itself isn’t something I would want to eat a lot of on its own, but when mixed with the right salad ingredients, it becomes something entirely different. I’ve rarely had a salad that is so completely satisfying and “meaty” – I think it must be all the B vitamins in the yeast (which is another bonus of this dressing, it’s extremely good for you!).
It would be stretching it to call the following combination a recipe, but this is how I almost always use this dressing:
Fill a bowl with washed and dried lettuce (mixed greens are my favorite), crumble some feta cheese on top, add a handful of sprouted mixed beans (garbanzos, lentils, adzuki, and mung beans preferably), and pour on some dressing. Toss to mix, and enjoy.

I sometimes substitute grated cheddar for the feta, canned chick peas for the beans, and if I have it, a few slices of creamy avocado (not locally grown, I know, but I’m weak when it comes to these things!). It’s so hearty and satisfying that I regularly have a big bowl of this on its own for lunch – and I’m not a woman who would typically consider a salad a meal. ;D

Is there a salad (or salad dressing) that you just can’t live without?

See my updated (2018), low/no oil version here.

18 thoughts on “Hollyhock Yeast Dressing”

  • Wow, that sounds really interesting, I am not sure I have tried anything like it. Salad sounds really good with all the comfort food we have had over the holidays. We are having haystacks tomorrow (like taco salad), for that reason (refreshing). I put some recipes for salad on my blog at the end of June last year and beginning of July. Those would be my favourites. I think I called the posts salads, and more salads so you could just put salads in the search box and they should come up.

  • Carla – Ooh, I love the basil one too, I think I may have even done a post about it at some point! If only it kept a little longer.

    Dawn – It sounds a little weird, but it’s really good. Not anything like the regular supermarket brands, that’s for sure!

    Christy – I guess I should have clarified that a little better! Nutritional yeast is nothing like bakers yeast. It’s flaky and yellow, and is used by lots of people as a supplement. It’s got kind of a cheesy or nutty flavor – the movie theatre at the university I went to actually had a shaker of it for sprinkling on your popcorn (Carla, I bet you remember that!). You should be able to find it at any whole food market.

    Read more about it here:

  • Cheryl, I make a bunch of that basil dressing when basil is in season in the summer and I freeze it in ice cube trays and then thaw as needed. This is the first year I’ve done that, but it seems to work fabulously.

  • the salad dressing I can’t live without is the thousand island dressing that they make at Mimi’s Cafe here in the US. Unfortunately I have not been able to re-create it or find anything similar in the grocery store, so I am at their mercy and must buy to-go tubs of dressing from the restaurant.

  • Cheryl
    I am so glad you are back! Snow here in KC too…but have a seed package of spinach and bright lights Swiss chard sitting in my kitchen window as a reminder of things to come. Two books I’ve read this winter are Pillars of the Earth by K. Follett and Water for Elephants by Saraz Gruen.
    Hope to fence the yard/garden in the spring, but because of you I am leaving the clothes line.
    Keep on enjoying each and every moment of your life and thanks for sharing it with us!
    Elaine in KC

  • Steffi – Thanks!

    Midlife Traveller – Mmm, I love Annie’s dressings too.

    Carla – Freeze it! Now why didn’t I think of that? Thank you!

    Karl – I hope you like it!

    Heather – Hmm, a salad dressing hostage, eh? πŸ˜€

    Elaine – Thank you for your nice words. I’m itching to plant a few seeds too!
    Oh, and Pillars of the Earth is one of my absolute favorite books.

  • Our favourite salad dressing comes from a fantastic cookbook called Whitewater Cooks (from the Nelson ski hill).
    1 T maple syrup
    2 T balsamic vinegar
    1 T soy sauce
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 T sesame oil
    1 t pepper
    1/2 C olive oil
    Serve it with mixed greens, crumbled goat cheese, pecans (carmelized are best) and strawberry or orange slices.
    This is one of the most used cookbooks in our house.

  • can’t wait to try this! i’ve just started using more nutritional yeast in my diet – this seems wonderful. a dressing i love is equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar, h2o, and honey mustard. all of the very best quality and shaken vigorously in a jar or whirled in a blender. yum!

  • I love the salad dressing in the ReBar cookbook for the warm vegetable salad. That dressing can be used on any salad and it is super delicious!

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