Friday, February 28, 2014

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I am a voracious salad eater. But salads need dressing, I'm sorry. And they need fat to make them good. And as long as it's the right kind of fat, there's nothing wrong with that. 

My usual has always been the vinaigrette. I love all the varieties of oils one can use, as well as the choices in vinegars available today. One of my all-time favorite dressings is simply extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. It really doesn't get any more basic than that. So clean, refreshing, and alive with flavor.

There are so many great "fats" to choose from: walnut oil, avocado oil, truffle oil, pumpkin seed oil, and of course EVOO, but also a fully ripened avocado and silken tofu. There are probably a hundred different vinegars on the market. Some of my favorite are herb vinegars, citrus vinegars, balsamic and champagne vinegars.  The most recent thing I saw at Trader Joe's that I want to try is pomegranate vinegar. Sounds good. But my husband is not as fond of vinegar as I am, and sometimes I just need a change from all these vinaigrettes anyway. 

My husband is a big fan of creamy dressings, Ranch especially. I have shied away from it all these years because of the completely unhealthy ingredients found in not only the old stand-by, Hidden Valley, but in nearly all the other copycats on the market as well. Take a look at the ingredient list sometime. It's horrifying what's in there. The option of course is to find something healthier at the local health food store, but the ones there lack the traditional flavor I'm looking for. So naturally, when in a quandry about how to resolve the situation, I make it myself. 

Do try it. It's so easy, I promise. And the taste is so fresh, you'll wonder why you hadn't made it before. No need to ever buy bottled Ranch again.

Makes a little more than 1 cup.

Homemade Ranch dressing

Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Chill at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop. Stir well before serving.

NOTES: You can tweak it so that it is just right for you. I use less mayo and more buttermilk, like 1/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup buttermilk. If you do that, the consistency will be a bit thinner. One way around this is to add buttermilk powder or a little sour cream to thicken it up. If I don't have fresh dill, I use dried. I also probably use a little more than the 1/4 tsp. garlic.

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