Do you have a spare 15 minutes? Because if you do, you have time to make your own Best Ever Light Ranch Dressing and Dip. Before coming across a recipe for ranch dressing a few months ago as I was looking for some ideas for homemade salad dressing, it never would have occurred to me to make ranch dressing. Aside from “something creamy”, I would have had no idea what the ingredients would even be. From ranch dressing in a bottle, I knew there were flecks of green stuff in it, but could not tell you what they were. To me, ranch had it’s own distinct flavor and I didn’t know where it came from.
As it turns out, the ingredients in ranch dressing are not exotic, nor hard to come from, nor is the ingredient list particularly long. The “something creamy” includes buttermilk, Greek yogurt and light mayonnaise, at least in this lighter version. For the buttermilk, you can use either fresh or powdered (which is what I use because it’s easy to store, and produced locally). Don’t try to use a soured milk substitute as you won’t get the rich buttermilk flavor that ranch needs. The flavoring comes from shallot, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and dill. For the last two, make sure you use the leaves only. You don’t want any big chunks of stems floating around in your dressing.
This dressing really could not be easier to make. You just have to do a little mincing of the shallot, cilantro and dill. Then toss everything into a small bowl and whisk it all together. It can even be made ahead, and actually gets to taste better if you do. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can use this recipe as either a vegetable dip, or for salad dressing. If you’re using it as dip, follow the recipe omitting the addition of water at the end. You will end up with a thick, creamy dip. If you want salad dressing, you will likely need to add a touch of water to thin it out. Unless you want super thick dressing. Follow the recipe without the water then assess the consistency. If you want it thinner, add 1-2 Tbsp water at the end.
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (see note)
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp minced shallot or red onion
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp minced fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- pinch cayenne (optional)
- 1-2 Tbsp water (optional, see note)
- Whisk ingredients together in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until needed. Will hold for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- I use dried buttermilk (follow instructions on can), but real, fresh buttermilk will work great too. Don't try to use a soured milk substitute for salad dressing.
- Add water only if using as a salad dressing. For a thicker vegetable dip, omit the water.