As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Make our delicious vegan Russian dressing. Perfect for Reuben sandwiches, burgers, fries, salad, and more!
Russian vs. thousand island dressing
Russian dressing and thousand island dressing are quite similar, but what’s the difference? Both dressings require mixing ketchup and mayo combination together to create the base of the dressing. You can create different ratios based on how sweet you want your dressing to be. I prefer to go for a slightly less-sweet version and use more vegan mayo than ketchup.
Both Russian and thousand island have a variety of different optional mixins from lemon juice to vinegar. Some people even add garlic cloves. The biggest difference is that Russian dressing includes prepared horseradish and thousand island dressing contains sweet relish.
Which one is better? I can’t answer that! I think they’re both delicious. Hell, I can’t even answer which one belongs on a Reuben sandwich. I think they’re both great contenders.
Horseradish can be tricky for vegans
For whatever reason, a lot of prepackaged prepared horseradish in grocery stores contains either some kind of dairy or even eggs. Since my grocery store didn’t carry a vegan-friendly option for already prepared horseradish, this recipe also walks you through how to prepare it for Russian dressing or other needs.
If your supermarket doesn’t carry fresh horseradish or a vegan prepared horseradish, you can always find some on trusty Amazon. As much as I don’t love resorting to them, they are a wonderful source of shelf-stable ingredients – especially those that are difficult to locate.
How to prepare the horseradish for vegan Russian dressing
All you need to prepare horseradish is a potato peeler, food processor, some water, and some vinegar. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. For this specific recipe, I went with ACV just because I thought it would taste nice.
Making prepared horseradish for the vegan Russian dressing is quite simple. All you need to do is peel the horseradish, chop into small pieces, and pulse in a food processor with apple cider vinegar and water until the horseradish is properly minced. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of your food processor a few times in order to achieve the correct texture. And if the horseradish is still having a hard time, add a little more water one tablespoon at a time until you achieve a nice minced consistency.
And there you have it! Fresh prepared horseradish, ready to go for vegan Russian dressing
Why the vegan mayo?
I absolutely love oil-free dressings like this hemp seed ranch or cashew Caesar dressing, but there is a time and a place for vegan mayo. (The time is neigh.) I picked vegan mayo for this recipe because I wanted it to taste as close to the real deal as possible.
As far as brands are concerned, I am a big fan of classic Follow Your Heart Vegenaise. It’s the easiest vegan mayo for me to procure and honestly, I think it’s the best one out there. Any vegan mayo will work well for this recipe as long as it’s not a sneaky one that tastes like Miracle Whip. Yuck.
What ingredients do you need to make vegan Russian dressing?
Aside from the prepared horseradish and vegan mayo, you’ll need just a few more ingredients to make vegan Russian dressing. First, you’ll need some ketchup. I am honestly not a huge ketchup person simply because it’s too sweet, but I recently stumbled across Sir Kensington’s ketchup which I must say is a 10/10. Unfortunately, we were out so I used classic Heinz. It’s ok in a pinch, but dang I love that Sir Kensington’s.
And if you’re feeling tart, you can also have some extra apple cider vinegar on hand. I like adding a bit of this if the dressing comes out overwhelmingly sweet.
How do you make vegan Russian dressing?
If you already have your prepared horseradish, making vegan Russian dressing is super easy. Just add the vegan mayo, ketchup to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Then, add the horseradish and stir. Give it a little taste. If you feel like it’s too sweet, add apple cider vinegar one teaspoon at a time until you achieve a good level of sweetness to tartness.
Serve the vegan Russian dressing on Reuben sandwiches (Hint: recipe coming soon for that!), black bean burgers, salads, sandwiches, and more.
Substitution ideas and more
There are so many different ways to make vegan Russian dressing. Here are some additional ideas to adapt to your liking.
Make it oil-free: If you are practicing an oil-free diet, consider making cashew cream instead of using vegan mayo. Soak about ⅓ cup cashews in water for about an hour, then blend together with ½ cup of water. Then, add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and there’s your substitute for vegan mayo!
Use BBQ sauce: If you’re not a ketchup lover, swap it out for BBQ sauce. Yes, I know this sounds absolutely wild, but it tastes great with the horseradish and slaps on a burger.
Add mustard: A lot of folks like adding mustard to their Russian dressing. If you’re looking for some more heat, add some Grey Poupon..
Spice it up: Add some garlic, onion powder, or smoked paprika to your Russian dressing to give it some additional flavor.
Add minced onion or chives: Consider adding minced onion to your Russian dressing for more flavor. You could also sub this instead of horseradish if you’re not a fan of the way horseradish tastes. A lot of people like to add chives to their Russian dressing though I’m not sure why. Maybe for color?
Nix the ketchup: To turn your Russian dressing into tartar sauce, simply remove the ketchup and you’ve got all the dip available for your Gardein fishless filets.
Want more recipes?
I love a good Russian dressing! If you like recipes on the comfort side of life, you might like some of my other comfort food recipes like the ones below.
- Oil-free black bean burgers
- Vegan runzas
- Vegan baked beans
- Cashew mac and cheese
- Cajun gumbo
- Chickpea salad sandwiches
- Cheese and onion Cornish pasties
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make vegan Russian dressing! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Dream Baby Dream by Suicide.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Vegan Russian Dressing
- potato peeler
- food processor
- measuring cup and spoons
- 1 piece horseradish root
- 1 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp water
- Peel the horseradish and remove the ends. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces and place in food processor.
- Add water and apple cider vinegar and pulse to combine. You will probably have to scrape the sides a few times. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed and continue pulsing and scraping until the horseradish is finely minced.
Vegan Russian Dressing
- Add vegan mayo and ketchup to a bowl and whisk well to combine.
- Add the horseradish and whisk again. Taste and add apple cider vinegar if needed one teaspoon at a time. Serve on sandwiches, burgers, salad, and more.