HEALTHIER HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING


When I was in highschool, my dad worked for a consumer products company that owned a handful of manufactured food brands. Included was a restaurant supplier that made Mozzarella cheese sticks….quite the novelty back then. Whenever my parents went out of town, my brother and I would throw unsanctioned ragers, which inevitably ended with us pulling out the industrial-size bags of frozen Mozzarella and brewing up a bubbling pot of frying oil. Lucky for us, my dad’s company also owned Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, which was the perfect condiment for fried cheese. Perhaps more fortunate still, was that nothing injurious ever resulted from a group of tipsy highschoolers manning a deep fat fryer.

Although I’m pretty certain I haven’t touched a fried cheese stick since I was about 16, I can’t say the same about ranch dressing. I do like the stuff, as do my kids. But, it doesn’t make the cut on the shopping list; I’m not so nuts for the ingredients. The few times I’ve tried to pass off the organic brands for the real deal, I get a grumble from the kids (and the hubby). So, I figured it was time to make my own.

My aim was to create something lip smackingly delicious, but lower in fat and calories, and purer in ingredients, than Hidden Valley (although they too now make an organic version that doesn’t have the MSG or artificial flavors of the original). Instead of buttermilk for the dressing’s signature tang, I opted for plain yogurt. It’s something I always have on hand, plus, I don’t like to toss out the leftover buttermilk that inevitably results. Sour cream and a touch of mayonnaise round out the richness. Chives and garlic give it zing. The whole thing gets whirled all at once in the food processor.

My kids uniformly agreed this homemade version beat even the original. They’ve enjoyed it over tomato, cucumber and hearts of romaine salad, as well as in their lunchboxes with carrots and peppers for dipping.

As to how it pairs with fried Mozzarella, I’m sure I’ll never know.

HEALTHIER HOMEMADE RANCH DRESSING

The dressing is a little on the thick side. For a vegetable dip, keep it as is. If using it to dress a salad, whisk in a little milk or olive oil until it thins to your desired consistency. You can play around with the amount of garlic, cutting it to half of a clove to start, particularly if your kids are sensitive to the taste.

• ½ cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
• 1/3 cup light sour cream
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (regular or light, whatever you have on hand)
• 2 tablespoons minced chives
• 1 small clove garlic, peeled
• 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Black pepper to taste

Put the yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, chives, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Whirl until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the garlic and whisk all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.

Store in the fridge.

Makes about ¾ cup

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13  Comments

Comments

  1. Monica
    01.22.2012 at 9:26 AM #

    I just made this for my playoffs party and it’s so delicious! Much better than the bottled stuff and gets me so much more excited about putting out my crudites!

    • katiemorford
      01.22.2012 at 9:36 AM #

      Thanks for sharing that. Enjoy your party!

  2. 11.27.2012 at 1:33 PM #

    Hello,

    Pampered chef has a ‘garden pizza’ recipe that uses mayonnaise and RANCH dressing as the pizza sauce… but I want to make my own dressing.

    Have you baked a recipe with this dressing in it before? I might have to experiment with your recipe ….

    Thanks!

    • katiemorford
      11.27.2012 at 5:42 PM #

      I have not baked this but would love to hear how it goes if you do! Katie

  3. Lorri
    04.02.2013 at 6:11 PM #

    Do you have the nutritional information for this recipe?

    • katiemorford
      04.02.2013 at 6:21 PM #

      Hi Lorri, I haven’t done nutrition analysis on this. You can run analysis for free using this tool: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Good luck! Katie

  4. 04.18.2013 at 2:50 PM #

    This looks great!! My son tried ranch at school today, and this looks like a great recipe to make at home!!!

  5. Daveena
    09.26.2013 at 10:09 AM #

    Wonderful! Fantastic! Perfect! Tastes Great!!! Are just a few words that come to my mind when describing this Healthy homemade recipe! I have just decided to go healthy (eating), after finally realizing the effects of all the “junk food” (and by junk food I mean all the foods on the store shelves that are not filled with pure, natural ingredients) that I have consumed over the years has done to my system. So, I’ve been doing more salads (organic vegetables), and since I LOOOVE Ranch dressing, I googled “healthy homemade ranch dressing” and yours was one that popped up. I actually added “bacon” to it, because I love bacon Ranch. Well, after properly seasoning it, I HAD to let you know and THANK YOU.

    Dee Kelly

    • katiemorford
      09.27.2013 at 4:40 AM #

      Thanks Dee…I so appreciate hearing from you…and good for you for working on healthier eating. Bacon ranch sounds delicious!

  6. 01.29.2014 at 8:56 AM #

    I want to stay away from anything soy so what could I sub for the mayo. I have tried making my own mayo with coconut oil but haven’t had much luck. Thanks

    • katiemorford
      01.29.2014 at 9:33 AM #

      Hi there

      Earth Balance makes an olive oil mayo that is soy free. Vegenaise also has a soy free option. Alternatively, you could play around with upping the amount of yogurt or sour cream. It’s not a lot of mayo in the recipe, but it does add a tiny bit of sweetness. If you skip the mayo, maybe a drop of honey? Hope that helps!

      Katie

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