Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Creamy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

When I shared my friend’s wonderful salad recipe, Kathi’s Great Salad, I raved over the dressing … creamy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing, specifically Brianna’s Poppy Seed Salad Dressing. I said that I needed to learn to make my own poppy seed dressing. Well, that was long ago and I’ve continued to rely on Brianna’s. While I’m not affiliated with the company in any way, I’m a huge fan. And I’m not alone. The following statement on their website is not at all over the top; I agree!  

Believers the world over become misty-eyed as they describe their love for this incredibly delicious recipe. Words like “incredible,” “terrific” and “addictive” only begin to capture the adoration this dressing enjoys.  

I certainly know that everyone I introduce to this dressing loves it. After all, it has a tangy, sweet and sour vibe going for it, plus Brianna’s poppy seed dressing is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free. The ingredients are: canola oil, sugar, water, white onions, white vinegar, salt, apple cider vinegar, poppy seeds, mustard flour, xanthan gum, tocopherols (natural antioxidant — vitamin E), and citric acid. For a “store bought” creamy dressing, having those characteristics of gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free together is a rarity.  

Creamy poppy seed dressing is such a gift in the salad department. It’s fantastic on green salad, fruit salad (Brianna’s especially recommends it for peaches), and even as a standalone cole slaw dressing (Mr. GFE loves it used that way).    

So when Linda issued her Create a Salad challenge, which also included dressings, making poppy seed dressing was once again on my mind. There are many recipes online for poppy seed dressing, but most are super vinegary with lots of oil. Those don’t come close to Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing and really are not what I’m after. Last night at our support group meeting, with the help of member friends, we made a terrific green salad. I hadn’t had time to stop by the grocery store and pick up Brianna’s dressing. One can only stock up so much as my grocery store rarely puts out more than four bottles at a time. (They should have it occupying the space of several dressings as it sells like proverbial hot cakes. This kind of stupidity is the reason that businesses suffer financially, but I digress.)  

I looked to the ingredients I had on hand: unsweetened almond milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, coconut sugar, and of course, poppy seeds. I’d add a little, blend a little, and then taste. Then I repeated until I was pleased that the results weren’t too sweet or too sour. The results were very good. This dressing is slightly different in taste and texture from Brianna’s Poppy Seed dressing, but again, it’s very good. The dressing and the salad (a variation of the Great Salad) got raves from the group. We had a hungry crowd to feed so I was only able to grab a photo of this dressing on the salad once it was on the table (from a distance) and a close-up when it was almost gone. Clearly, my members liked it!

Our theme last night was cold foods so we had lots of fruits, vegetables, and salads, plus some other fare (both cold and hot) like tilapia, deviled eggs, goat cheese, and risotto. Everything was excellent and made suitable fare before our presentation and baking demo by Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery, an exclusively gluten-free bakery located in Sperryville, Virginia. Brooke brought some free samples and other treats for members to buy (chocolate chip cookies, pecan brownies, and lemon poppy seed cake), but eating her blueberry scones warm out of the oven seemed like pure indulgence and the perfect way to end our meeting. We are a spoiled bunch! 

Here’s your recipe (below this photo of my plate of goodness). Be sure to check out all the other recipes over at Linda’s (Gluten-Free Homemaker) Gluten-Free Wednesday event. You’ll find some entries for her Create a Salad event for sure, but many more delicious entries, too … like grain-free chunky monkey muffins, a review of ice pop molds (what says summer more than popsicles?), and strawberry limeade.  

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Creamy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or dairy milk)
  • ¾ to 1 cup mayonnaise (more or less depending upon thickness desired; see notes for soy-free, vegan option)
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar); adjust amount to taste
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (either white or apple cider vinegar will work; the latter may be a tad stronger)
  • about 1 tsp Dijon mustard, optional (I added about one squirt of my Grey Poupon)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp poppy seeds (per your taste)
  1. Add ingredients to blender in order shown (to prevent unnecessary sticking of ingredients to bottoms and sides of blender). Blend on high for about 30 seconds or so until fully blended.
  2. Makes about 2 cups. Will keep in refrigerator for several days.
For an egg-free version, use Soy Free Vegenaise (which is also gluten free and vegan). Coconut sugar gives this dressing a café au lait coloring versus the usual very white “background” color. Granulated sugar should produced a dressing that’s whiter in color, although almond milk also contributes to the off white appearance of this dressing. I buy McCormick 100% organic poppy seeds.

Here are some more creamy gluten-free, dairy-free salad dressings that you may like:

Heidi’s Creamy Greek Salad Dressing

Elana’s Creamy Onion Salad Dressing

Gigi’s Creamy Cilantro Salad Dressing

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays and 5-Ingredient Mondays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


25 Responses to “Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Creamy Poppy Seed Salad Dressing”

  1. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats on June 29th, 2011 12:34 pm

    Oooh, this looks fantastic. I used to love Brianna’s but had to give it up (I suspect it was the white vinegar as I noticed I felt far less heartburn when I gave up white vinegar, which is in most condiments) – anyways, I am going to put poppy seeds on my shopping list and make this soon. It sounds divine!

    Also, apologies for not yet replying to your email or sweet comments. I am still a bit congested but far far better than I was the last couple of weeks. Week before last was the worst, then last week I was just mildly sick, and this week I am just a bit sniffly but otherwise better :) Email coming soon.

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:47 pm

      Hey Valerie–I’m feeling rather badly dear because I think that at the same time you were commenting I was realizing that I’d left out the vinegar in the ingredients! So sorry. BUT I’m thinking you could just substitute lemon juice for pretty much the same results. Hope so! Again, sorry about that.

      Now worries on not replying. It always makes me feel better about getting behind myself when others can’t reply pronto. ;-) Darn it, I can’t believe you still have some sniffles hanging on. Do you think that the AC at work is prolonging them? I confess I hate AC. A necessary evil in my book. Anyway, hope you’re 100% by now and no rush on replying, dear!


      • Valerie @ City|Life|Eats on July 9th, 2011 6:37 am

        Nothing to feel bad about!! The vinegar that seems to kill my stomach is white vinegar/distilled vinegar – basically anything white and/or distilled. So I avoid that one. I generally have trouble with certain other vinegars because I do have a sulfite intolerance, so I use rice vinegar and ume vinegar (which are both sulfite free) or lemon juice. Somtimes I do use a tiny amount of apple cider vinegar to round out the taste if need be, as it is lower in sulfites, but even then it is not wholly necessary. I love this recipe. I need to try it soon!!

        • Shirley on July 14th, 2011 12:41 pm

          Hi Valerie–Isn’t that interesting? But I’m sorry that happens to you. Good to know on the other vinegars, and of course, lemon juice is always a worthy substitute. :-)


  2. Ina Gawne on June 29th, 2011 7:28 pm

    Shirley – your support group is so awesome. What a great looking dinner plate, and the salad dressing sounds so so good. I wanted to dive in! You guys must have so much fun coming up with great meals to share!

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:50 pm

      Thank you, Ina! Yes, my support group is fabulous. They blow me away each month. If the food we eat isn’t an adverisement for wonderful gluten-free eating, I don’t know what is. ;-) We’d love to have you join us, but I know it will have to be a virtual thing unless you visit my area one day. :-) While we often have themes for our meal, even the “no plan” potluck meals are fantastic! I can’t wait to try this salad dressing again. I only got a little bit this time around!


  3. Ricki on June 29th, 2011 9:26 pm

    I think we don’t have Brianna’s over here, but so what? Yours sounds perfect. And I’ve got an entire jar of poppy seeds I bought for some unknown reason and need to use! Love that you included the vegan option–thanks, Shirley! :D

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:53 pm

      Hi Ricki–Thanks, dear! This dressing doesn’t use that many poppy seeds, but I was surprised to find out how many poppy seeds were in the lemon poppy seed cake from the gf bakery that presented/demo’d. Wowser! You could barely tell it was lemon because of all the poppy seeds per square inch, but I must admit that it was very, very good. So I’d suggest making this dressing AND some poppy seed cake if you really want to use a lot of your poppy seeds up. :-) Re: vegan option … I do always try to look out for my friends with other diets when I can. ;-)


  4. Nancy @SensitivePantry on June 30th, 2011 7:02 am

    I just bought a bottle of Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing. Shirley’s got me hooked on the stuff…so good. And her salad is divine! TY, Shirley.

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:55 pm

      Hi Nancy–Ooh, I’m excited that you found the Brianna’s dressing! It’s really nice to have a ready-made option that fits one’s diet reqs from time to time, isn’t it? Thanks for the props, dear, but I’m thinking that I didn’t even “make” the salad. I just provided the ingredients and you girls did the work! ;-)


  5. Linda on June 30th, 2011 10:49 am

    What a simple dressing, and it sounds delicious. Like Valerie, I’m going to have to put poppy seeds on my shopping list. Another great entry for the salad challenge!

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:56 pm

      Linda–Your salad challenge turned out really well! Now I’m looking forward to the beverage challenge … that one has sooo many possibilities. ;-) Thanks for the kind words, dear.


  6. Maggie on June 30th, 2011 2:26 pm

    I LOVE poppyseed dressing Shirley! I am going to have to try this, I can’t wait to try coconut sugar in a dressing recipe. One can never have too many dressing recipes. PS I am waiting for an email from you… :)xo

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 6:59 pm

      Hi Maggie–The coconut sugar worked just fine and I was actually able to use less of it than I originally thought I would. That seems to happen often with coconut sugar and I like it! The difference in color wasn’t a bit deal. I kind of liked it. Looked exotic! ;-)

      Now you have that email … even if it took a few tries! LOL

  7. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free on June 30th, 2011 9:17 pm

    I have never tasted Brianna’s but yours sounds so amzing it is hard to belive there could be a better one! This is going on my must try list!

    • Shirley on July 1st, 2011 7:00 pm

      Hi Carol–I though I was the only one who was clueless about Brianna’s dressings when my friend introduced me to the Poppy Seed one, but guess I am not. Not all are gluten free, but that one is a winner. Homemade any time one wants poppy seed dressing is a good thing though. :-)


  8. InTolerantChef on July 2nd, 2011 6:20 am

    I love the little ‘pop’ that poppyseeds give to dressings!

    • Shirley on July 7th, 2011 8:52 pm

      InTolerant Chef–I agree! :-)


  9. Angie Halten on July 3rd, 2011 6:47 pm

    Coconut sugar? Well, I guess you learn something new everyday. I am going to my grocery store today and seeing if they have any. Thats why I love visiting people’s recipe blogs, you learn new things all the time. Thanks!

    • Shirley on July 7th, 2011 8:55 pm

      Angie–I use coconut sugar and palm sugar interchangeably, although they are slightly different. I haven’t found either at local grocery stores (even upscale ones), but it’s easy to find them online. Usually I order mine from Amazon or iHerb. They are really great tasting low-glycemic sweeteners. :-)


  10. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on July 8th, 2011 6:21 pm

    Okay, you are not going to believe me when I tell you that Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing has been my long-time favorite. I love it so much that I actually hoard extra bottles it in my cupboard for fear of running out. LOL I am totally serious. I use it as dressing, dips, marinades… And now? I am sooo making your recipe! I just have never gotten around to making one of my own because Brianna’s is so good. Now I will!!
    Love your version and cannot wait to give it a try!!!!
    Oh, and your plate of cold foods looks absolutely wonderful!

    • Shirley on July 14th, 2011 12:39 pm

      Hey Kim–Just realized that I never replied to your comment here–aargh! Guess what I just had for lunch … a salad with Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing! LOL It was fantastic! :-) I resisted buying all the bottles at the store today and just got two. I feel badly for the other folks looking for it. Seriously, why can’t they figure out they need to double stock that dressing??? The other flavors were fully stocked because nobody buys them like the Poppy Seed! That cold foods meeting was a fanastic one for sure. ;-)

      xoxo … your sister in Poppy Seed Dressing love (does that sound uggy? LOL),

  11. Alta on July 25th, 2011 6:55 pm

    I love homemade salad dressings. This sounds so good and so easy.

    • Shirley on July 27th, 2011 4:41 pm

      Hey Alta–Thanks! I’m a fan of salad dressings that are easy, tasty, and add to the nutritional value of salads. :-)


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