Creamy Cilantro Sunflower Seed Dressing

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Holding a spoonful of cilantro sunflower seed dressing over a jar

This cilantro sunflower seed dressing was created when we needed something quick & easy for a dinner side salad. It’s cashew-free, soy-free, plant-based, and now a go-to anytime we need something fast, flavorful, and nourishing. Just 5 simple ingredients, a blender, and 10 minutes required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Sunflower seeds, garlic, cilantro, salt, water, and lemon

Why Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds are the creamy base for this dressing. They’re a mild-flavored, nut-free alternative to cashews, and they’re packed with vitamin E, selenium, vitamins B5 & B6, folate, zinc, and more (source).

Sunflower seeds, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt in a blender

Other Ingredients

We add lemon to make this dressing bright and citrusy, cilantro for an herby element, garlic for zing, and salt to enhance all the flavors. Once you blend these ingredients up with water, you get a nourishing and flavorful dressing you’ll want to pour on everything!

Top down view of a blender of creamy cilantro dressing

We hope you LOVE this sunflower seed dressing! It’s:

& Quick & easy!

Add it to fresh mixed greens for a simple side salad, or make it more filling by adding sliced veggies and black beans. It’s also great as a dip or for topping grain and veggie bowls. Make it a meal by serving alongside our Spicy Baked Fish Tacos (30 minutes!), Black Bean & Plantain Arepa Sandwiches, Quinoa & Vegetable Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers, or Mexican Green Chili Veggie Burgers.

Drizzling cilantro sunflower seed dressing over a bowl of greens

More Creamy Dressing Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Side view of a jar of cilantro sunflower seed dressing

Creamy Cilantro Sunflower Seed Dressing

Easy, creamy sunflower seed dressing with fresh lemon, garlic, and cilantro. Gluten-free, plant-based, and perfect for salads and bowls. Just 5 ingredients, 1 blender, and 10 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Spoonful of creamy cilantro sunflower seed dressing over a jar
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 (2-Tbsp servings)
Course Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4-5 Days



  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice (~1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (or sub another soft herb such as basil, parsley, or dill)
  • 2 small cloves garlic (1 small clove = 4 g)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water

FOR SERVING optional

  • Mixed greens
  • Sliced veggies (cucumber, red bell pepper, radish, etc.)
  • Rinsed and drained black beans


  • A small blender works best for making this recipe as written. If using a large, upright blender, triple the batch. If you have a powerful blender, there’s no need to soak the sunflower seeds and you can proceed to the next step. If you do not have a powerful blender, soak sunflower seeds in hot water for at least 30 minutes, then drain.
  • To a small blender, add all ingredients (sunflower seeds, lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, and water). Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
  • Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, garlic for zing, fresh cilantro for herby flavor, sea salt to taste, or water to thin (keeping in mind it will dilute the flavor and the dressing will thicken once in the refrigerator).
  • We like serving on a simple side salad of mixed greens and sliced veggies. Black beans can be added for protein and fiber. Or serve over grain and veggie bowls!
  • Leftover dressing will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Not freezer friendly.



*Recipe as written makes ~1/2 cup (120 ml) dressing.
*Prep time does not include soaking sunflower seeds (which is optional).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 two-tablespoon serving Calories: 56 Carbohydrates: 3.1 g Protein: 2 g Fat: 4.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 148 mg Potassium: 74 mg Fiber: 0.9 g Sugar: 0.5 g Vitamin A: 90 IU Vitamin C: 5.4 mg Calcium: 11.4 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Meri Schroeder says

    A salad dressing you can feel oh so good about! No oil!!! I tripled the recipe to have a lot on hand. Last night I used on a traditional green salad. Today I’m going to make a hash of sweet potatoes and an egg for brunch and add a drizzle a bit on top. Can’t wait to also try your chipotle dressing.

  2. Netsanet says

    Fabulous recipe. Two batches worked well in the blender. I added a dash of maple syrup and used half the amount of salt. I also replaced cilantro with local herbs from my garden. Thank you!!

  3. Brittany T. says

    I can’t stop eating this. It goes great with any and everything and really is so easy to make. I’ve put this on avocado, toast, chips, salads, sandwiches….sometimes I even eat it with just a spoon. It’s THAT good. Thank you for this!

  4. Gagan Gill says

    Hi, We have now made this dressing few times and absolutely love it. It goes well with the bbq vegetables, chicken and potatoes. Also used this to make cold pasta salad and my kids loved it.

    One of kids can’t have hummus due to food allergies (your dill dressing recipe for potato salad) so I am thinking to use this recipe but swap cilantro with fresh dill.

    I know dried dill is used in small quantity in potato salad recipe. Would 1/4cup fresh dill be okay or over powering?

    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy this recipe, Gagan! We think that could definitely work. 1/4 cup fresh dill sounds about right. Let us know how it turns out!

  5. Stephanie says

    Simply delicious! I’ve made this twice now. We’ve enjoyed it on salad and in GF spinach tortilla wraps stuffed with sliced turkey, cheese, spinach, and this dressing. So good. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!

  6. Vicki says

    I made this recipe. Thank you for it. It’s delicious! I never seem to be able to leave any recipe alone though, so I did add a couple things. I just added a few hemp seeds and some chipotle powder. I’m using it more for a sandwich topping instead of a salad dressing. It’s incredibly good. Very fresh and light tasting.

    • Kathleen says

      I’m just wondering if I could substitute sunflower butter or tahini for the raw sunflower seeds and if you have any idea how much would approximate the raw seeds? Thanks

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Kathleen, if you have raw sunflower butter, that could work, but we wouldn’t recommend sweetened or roasted. We’d estimate ~1-2 Tbsp sunflower butter. Hope that helps!

  7. Cheryl Renee Long says

    I made the creamy cilantro sunflower dressingExactly as the recipe suggested. It is absolutely delicious and I will use it in all kinds of ways including alongside a stirfry. I am delighted to be learning new and simple ways to serve my family vegan meals that are so tasty. Thank you.

  8. Rosemarie says

    Dear Dana,

    This is wonderful! The beautiful color, the flavor, and the healthy ingredients…. Thank you for this terrific recipe! I can’t wait to try it with the other herbs you mentioned!

    With appreciation for this and all of your recipes,

  9. Oma says

    I am one of those people that read all the reviews but never rate recipes. Let me tell you, this recipe is so delicious that it made me write my 1st ever review. I am trying to eat a whole food plant base diet and sometimes struggle with making my simple veggies tastier; This dressing is the answer to that. I’ve been following you for a while and make your granolas (which I love) all the time. Muchas gracias for this recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoy it, Oma. Thank you for taking the time to write a review! xoxo

  10. Phyllis says

    I love your dressings – sooooo much healthier/better than store bought. Salads, wraps, sandwiches, roasted veggies, etc. Thank you.

  11. Nina says

    It was fate! I get my local my farmshare box on Tuesday afternoons and received my email this morning with the box ingredients- big bunch of fresh cilantro! Ten minutes later, receive the MB email recipe. Just made 3x the amount as I have a large blender and wowzers!! So fresh, so tangy, such zest and what a gorgeous shade of green. Really fantastic flavor without being too heavy on cilantro- my husband doesn’t love cilantro while I could eat it by the handfuls – great balanced flavor. I did add another garlic clove, another half lemon juice and 1/4 tsp more salt. Will use tonight on a green salad with beans but also look forward to tomorrow’s thicker version. Thanks MB for another winner!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Nina. Thank you so much for sharing! xo

  12. Régine says

    OMG! This was SO good! I am on a very strict diet, and was thrilled to see that all the ingredients listed were allowed on my plan. I made a triple batch, as you recommended and I am so glad I did! Next time, I’ll tone down the lemon juice a bit (maybe I’ll try some lime juice). I put less salt than called for and added some kala namak for an umami kick. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Régine. Thank you for sharing! xoxo

  13. Dee K says

    Yum, yum, I love cilantro so this was calling me. I did add a little more sunflower seeds after I initially blended it as it seemed a little thin. I’ll be keeping this on hand.

  14. Sherri Neil says

    Sad to say I only have a big blender hahaha. Yummy. So glad I had to triple it.

    I’m thinking this might be good with Basil as well.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Sherri! Agreed – basil would be delicious!

  15. Brooke says

    Ohhhh my…this dressing exceeded my expectations big time! And thank goodness because I was ballsy and made a triple batch in my vitamix! I didn’t have any cilantro so I used a mix of dill, parsley and chives. It’s just out of this world. I’m dipping green beans in it right now and can’t wait to dump it all over a leafy salad later! Thank you for the easy peasiest most delicious dressing recipe ever!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yumm, we love to hear this! Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing what you changed, Brooke! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kelly, you could definitely soak the sunflower seeds first and then drain. Just measure the seeds before soaking vs. after so it doesn’t end up too liquidy. Let us know how it goes!

  16. Tammy Thiele says

    You are magic! Adding this to our menu planning to make a meal around it as soon as possible. The sun is out, and is sure to be a summer staple!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We love to hear this. Let us know what you think when you try it, Tammy! xo

  17. Jenn says

    I’m going to try this recipe, but use sun butter instead. I don’t have seeds on hand. Thanks for the idea!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! We haven’t tried it but we think it should work. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try! xo