Fresh Herb Ranch Dressing

The blog world has been on fire this summer with dozens of recipes of homeade ranch. I have to confess a long-held love of ranch that began at Denny’s. Yes, that Denny’s – of the 24-hour diner and Grand Slam fame. I worked at Denny’s for over two years when I was in high school, and mostly I really liked my job there. I worked with a great bunch of women, learned how to tie a men’s tie (and how easy it is for said tie to end up in a ramekin of pancake syrup), and sharpened my serving and selling skills, which led to later working in fine dining restaurants.

But back to ranch. One of the “sidework” jobs after shift was to make the gallon buckets of salad dressing…one of those being Hidden Valley Ranch. You’d take your bucket and pour in 2 gallons of buttermilk, one gallon of mayo, the packet of ranch seasoning and a cup of lemon juice. Yeah, that’s a LOT of calories. And then you’d take a giant whisk and get your upper-body workout for the week and whisk for ages until it magically turned into ranch dressing. And it was good. In my time at Denny’s I’m scared to think of the amount of ranch I consumed on salads, dipping chicken fingers in it, or….dipping mozzarella sticks in it. Yeah – all of those things would pretty much kill me now in the gluten-free era.

When all of these lovely ranch dressing posts started appearing on the internet, it was only a matter of time before I would whip up a batch for myself. And truly – this is the best ranch I have ever eaten…and may be my last.

I should have known better. Dairy and I have a rough relationship, so I’ve rationed my small dairy consumption into homeade ice cream for the last several months, and I’ve done fine with it. Well, after 2 days of eating ranch I felt a little oogey (very techincal medical term). My hands flared up again with painful dermatitis, which is what happens when I either eat gluten, or overwhelm my liver with something else I probably shouldn’t eat – like ranch.

So, if you love ranch dressing (and don’t have a problem digesting dairy), give this a try. It was amazing drizzled over grilled squash and fresh greens, and is revelatory when tossed with crisp, local cucumbers. Enjoy.

Ranch Dressing

Makes about 3 cups

1 cup organic buttermilk
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup 2% greek yogurt
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 T fresh dill, chopped
2 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder (not garlic salt)

  1. Combine everything in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine until smooth. Store in a quart jar, and drizzle over fresh veggies or salad of your choice.
  2. Note: the flavors will blend and intensify overnight, so don’t over-season on the first day. You can alway add a bit more salt/pepper the next day.

5 thoughts on “Fresh Herb Ranch Dressing

  1. that dressing does look mighty tasty. I used to eat ranch with everything too but haven't had any in ages! i have a friend who is gluten and lactose (and probably soy) intolerant. i hear and witness all the horror stories from him, so i feel for ya on the dietary stuff. i'm just glad more people are recognizing the need to offer g-free products/menu items – finally!

  2. Love that the dressing uses buttermilk, mayo and greek yogurt – definitely a healthy angle to the whole ranch dressing thing.In college, we used to always order Avanti's (local Italian) for dinner. They had bread that was to die for and always sent a side of ranch with the bread. Forget about the pasta, it was all about the bread and ranch.

  3. Well, I *guess* it's an improvement in healthiness over other versions, but still – it's about the most decadent thing I've made in awhile. Truly incredible to dip crisp cuke wheels in…too bad it made me pretty ill. 😦

  4. Pingback: Simple Green Salad with Vinaigrette « The Whole Kitchen

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