How To Tell If Italian Dressing Is Vegan

How To Tell If Italian Dressing Is Vegan

A salad without dressing is like french fries without salt or cake without sprinkles, it just doesn’t work. A salad is a go-to for many vegans as they are quick to make and full of nutrition. Everyone needs a favorite salad dressing in their back pocket, something that tastes great and is easy to do.

If you’ve always been a lover of Italian dressing, then you’ll understand this. For those that aren’t familiar with the dressing, you may be wondering if it’s vegan. 

In this article, learn about the ingredients that go into making a classic Italian dressing and if it’s suitable for vegan diets. 

What Is Italian Dressing?

Despite the name, Italian dressing is actually an American creation. Created in 1941 by Florence Hannah, an Italian American woman who grew up surrounded by the food industry in her parent’s restaurant. 

Italian dressing is the perfect blend of zesty, tangy flavors with a combination of hearty herbs and a touch of sweetness. The bold flavors perfectly complement each other and work well on salad. 

Although the dressing isn’t an authentic Italian recipe, it is inspired by Italian heritage and ingredients. This vinaigrette-style dressing is mainly used on salads, but it can also be used to marinate meat or fish. Use this dressing on almost anything you like for a delicious meal. 

What Is In Italian Dressing?

As with any dressing, the ingredients can vary slightly as different manufacturers will want to make it in their own way. For example, some use red wine vinegar and some use white wine vinegar. Here are the main ingredients used in a traditional Italian dressing: 

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic clove

Nutritional Information

Italian dressing is a high-calorie food as it’s oil-based, according to the USDA 80% of the dressing is made of fat and 20% of carbs. There are roughly 35.3 calories in one serving of the dressing, which isn’t terrible. 

The dressing doesn’t contain significant amounts of vitamins or minerals, but the fact that it is made with olive oil does provide a certain cardiovascular advantage. Olive oil consumption has been found to be linked to a decrease in heart disease.  

Is Italian Dressing Vegan?

Is Italian Dressing Vegan?

Generally speaking, Italian dressing is suitable for vegans as there are no animal products used to make it. However, there are some loopholes depending on what has been used to make it. 


Mustard is a tricky ingredient; the typical yellow mustard we put on hotdogs is vegan so we often assume that other types such as Dijon will be vegan-friendly.

That is true to an extent, the ingredients used to make Dijon mustard are vegan but the filtering process is not. It is common practice for the filtering process to contain animal by-products. These include:

  • Casein (found in animal milk)
  • Albumin (a protein found in animal fluids/tissues)
  • Isinglass (gelatin obtained from fish)
  • Gelatin (collagen from animal body parts)

Another common ingredient added to mustard is honey, which is not vegan. There are many brands that are easy to find that sell vegan-approved mustard, such as: 

  • Primal Kitchen Organic Dijon Mustard
  • Annie’s Organic Dijon Mustard
  • Grey Poupon
  • Noble Made Coarse-Dijon Mustard

Fish Or Anchovies

Many recipes and manufacturers will use Worcestershire sauce in their products, a condiment known for containing anchovies. This is often a confusing and hidden ingredient many vegans aren’t aware of. 

Milk And Dairy

Cheese, milk and egg yolk can also find their way into some dressing ingredients. 

How To Make Your Own Vegan Italian Dressing

Let’s be honest, homemade always tastes better anyways so why not give it a go?

Here is a great vegan Italian dressing recipe. The process couldn’t be easier, simply add all the dressing ingredients to a jar or airtight container (we recommend a mason jar) and shake everything until it’s well combined. 

This recipe is great as it has a little bonus idea. If you want a thicker and creamier dressing, add some nutritional yeast to the mixture until you reach your desired consistency. 


If you want to make a variation on this dressing, here are some ideas: 


On the whole, Italian dressing isn’t a vegan product although there are vegan versions of it available at the grocery store. The best way to ensure your salad dressing is vegan is to make it yourself! 

Brandon White
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