Good-for-you ranch dressing!

Remember how you love ranch dressing?

mmm…. ranch dressing…. *dreamy face*

Hidden Valley Ranch had some great commercials back in the day, showing an idyllic world where everyone was happy, and kids ate their veggies…

However, they might be more appropriately named “hidden very-bad-for-you-ingredients ranch”, based on their ingredients list!

ranch_orig_nutrients_ranch

What sticks out to you most from this label? Is it that soybean & canola oil are the first ingredient? Is it the MSG? The many preservatives? The artificial flavors? The fact that sugar comes before buttermilk in the list? In my humble opinion, any of those would be pretty good reasons to NOT consume this product.

How long has it been since you have enjoyed creamy, tangy, delicious ranch dressing without feeling twinges of guilt?

What if I told you that you can have all the yumminess and nostalgia of ranch dressing, and not only is it not bad for you, but that it’s really good for you???

Think of the possibilities!

  • dipping fresh crunchy veggies…
  • drizzled over a crispy, satisfying salad…
  • pizza dunking…
  • chicken salad…

I recently made this recipe from riddlelove.com and I really like it! (Consequently, I’m eating it right now along with her enchilada sauce recipe, for a chicken enchilada ranch salad…yum)

Riddlelove’s Creamy Probiotic Ranch Dressing

Makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup créme fraiche* (made with raw cream is best) – directions below
  • 1 1/2 cups kefir* – I used to get this kind at Market Basket, but now I make my own (see note below)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions or chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (I get Braggs at Market Basket)
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced dill, fresh or dried (optional)
  • Not in the original recipe: for a little extra flavor & kick, I add a couple dashes each of paprika, cayenne pepper, & ground mustard

Place all ingredients in a quart-sized mason jar, screw the lid on, and shake until combined.

*If need be, you can substitute buttermilk and Greek yogurt for the creme fraiche & kefir…maybe equal parts? Also if you live locally, I’ll gladly share my kefir starter with you! it’s a “just add milk” kind – no grains necessary!

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dressing pre-shaking up

Besides being super yummy, here are some of the benefits of this dressing:

  • both kefir and creme fraiche are cultured dairy products, which means that they have
    • beneficial bacteria, which in turn support pretty much EVERY aspect of your health
    • many important vitamins and minerals
    • healthy fats that allow you to absorb the important fat-soluble vitamins A & K from your veggies
  • fresh garlic and herbs are very health-promoting
  • raw apple cider vinegar helps digestion, among many other benefits
  • unrefined sea salt contains many important trace minerals that help balance our body’s pH and hydration

I hope that you get a chance to make this dressing, and enjoy the smiles of your family, knowing that you are loving on them without compromising their health.

Making Creme Fraiche

This is a really easy process. You only need two ingredients:

buttermilk & heavy cream (try to find organic kinds that don’t have carrageenan)

 Combine the buttermilk & cream in a glass jar in a ratio of 1 Tbsp buttermilk per cup of cream. Cover it tightly and let sit at room temperature (warmer is better) for 24-48 hours, or until it has become quite thick. If you warm the cream on the stove first (no hotter than 90 degrees), the culturing process will go more quickly (about 12-24 hours). If you don’t feel like doing that, it will just take longer and you will just have to be more patient. I usually go for the no-heating method…one less pan to wash. 🙂

Use your new creme fraiche to top EVERYTHING (fruit, oatmeal, soups, stews and curries, steamed veggies…it’s like using sour cream or yogurt, but with a higher fat content and pretty much no protein or sugar. Plus, it’s French, so you can channel your inner Julia Child!

Bon appetite!

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2 thoughts on “Good-for-you ranch dressing!

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