I don't know about you, but I think homemade ranch dressing is one of those good ol' American comfort foods that makes everything twice as good.
It's a lovely dressing for a simple mixed green salad, and, of course, ranch makes an awesome dip for veggie slices, indulgent fried foods, and even sandwiches.
I worked for many years in the restaurant industry, and I've read labels on every ranch dressing I could find in grocery stores. The problem with just about any pre-made salad dressing is that it's usually filled with a bunch of junk – MSG, nasty vegetable oils, fillers, thickeners, and artificial flavors.
This easy homemade ranch dressing was inspired from a recipe I found in my friend Kristen Michaelis's book, Simply Salads by Season.
Unlike many ranch dressings recipes I've come across made with yogurt, mayonnaise and buttermilk, this recipe simplifies things for cooks like us who tend to make things from scratch. Homemade mayo is super easy to whip together, and soooo much better in taste and quality than the store-bought kind. I combine it here with tangy yogurt.
Like Kristen, I also prefer to use dried onion and garlic, as opposed to fresh, to give it a softer, more home-style taste. Feel free to play with the herb mixture to find your favorite combo or use whatever you may have in your garden, fridge, or pantry.
Easy homemade ranch dressing
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise (recipe below)
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (learn to make easy raw yogurt here)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup chopped fresh* herbs (I prefer a combination of parsley, dill, chives, and tarragon)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste – my favorite sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
*Don't have fresh? Use 3/4 tsp. each dried chives, dill, and parsley.
Combine all ingredients in a quart-sized jar. Shake well to combine. Add more salt and pepper to your taste.
For the mayo
- 2 eggs, at room temperature – learn how to buy eggs here
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup refined coconut oil, (does NOT taste like coconut), melted and cooled – I buy this coconut oil in bulk
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – my favorite California olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt – my favorite sea salt
- 1 T. fresh whey, from draining yogurt – optional
- Food processor
Easy homemade ranch dressing method
- Separate one egg, discarding or saving the white. Add the yolk to the food processor with the other egg (yolk and white), mustard, lemon juice, optional whey, and sea salt and blend for 20 seconds.
- Using the drip feature on most food processors, slowly – drip by drip – add the cooled coconut oil and olive oil as the food processor continues to run.
- Continue adding the oils slowly. When completely combined the consistency is typically thinner than conventional mayo, but not runny.
- Adjust seasoning with additional salt and lemon, as desired. With whey, mayonnaise will last several weeks in the fridge. Without whey, it will last about one week.
Salads in the winter? Here's why…
Even in the middle of winter, it's still important to include a smattering of raw fruits and veggies each day.
I'm not personally a fan of a full-on raw food diet.
In Chinese Medicine, too much raw foods is believed to weaken the digestive system and ‘dampen' the body. But on the flip side, balance is important, and raw foods provide the body with essential enzymes which “decrease the load on your pancreas, preserve your your body’s own natural enzyme potential, and thereby reducing your risk of chronic diseases.” (source)
We all know salads are good for us, but it's easy to fall in a rut, eating the same few boring ingredients day after day until you would rather skip salads altogether.
On top of the boredom factor, most store bought salad dressings are filled with so much junk that you might as well be topping your salad with a candy bar.
Enter Simply Salads by Season by Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade.
This lovely ebook is packed with dozens of salads for every season plus just about every dressing you can imagine – all made with wholesome, real food ingredients.
Some of my winter favorites include her hearty broccoli salad, a classic Roquefort pear salad with a simple pear vinaigrette, and a fun clementine and whipped cream dish that can double as dessert!
Click here to get your copy of Simply Salads by Season to keep your diet healthy and fresh all year long.