June 26th, 2017

Ranch Dressing Meets Paleo, For All Your Dipping Needs

Ranch dressing: It’s a favorite among most people, a staple in most refrigerators. Drizzled on salads or used as a dip for veggies, wings or even pizza. It’s thick and it’s decadent and, done right, not too good for you … but of so yummy.

According to Pioneer Woman’s homemade ranch dressing recipe, it contains mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk. While she’s quick to point you could use the low fat versions, I’m thinking we could take this a bit further. Sorry to all my ranch loving friends out there, whom I know there are many of: I may be about to commit ranch sacrilege. But, trust me, what I’m about to tell you will be OK.

Amy pointed me to one of the recipes in her rotation, pinned on We The Eaters board, for a paleo ranch. Since paleo cuts out dairy, you can’t use the sour cream or buttermilk. The base is a hand made paleo mayonnaise, made of egg, olive oil, lemon, mustard and salt. Seasoned with the usual ranch herbs and garlic, it’ll feed your cravings for the decadent dressing. If you’re going dairy free, doing a Whole30 elimination diet or just want to lighten things up a little, this is a great dressing to try.

Making your own mayonnaise might sound a little hard or complicated, but this recipe is super easy. I made this while doing the Whole30 diet a while back and found that the immersion blender works extremely well and quick. That little stick blender may be my favorite kitchen gadget of all time. You can make it by hand with a whisk and some muscle, but you risk breaking the emulsion, which, it turns out, can be fixed. The best part is, it can be used as a base for so many dressings, not just ranch. Or even just a base for tuna or chicken salad.

The best part, like the vinaigrette dressings Amy featured last week, you can treat this recipe as a blank canvas. There are many variations and possibilities. Kick it up with chipotle and lime, play with the herbs or add different seasonings, try adding curry powder or paste – seriously, you can’t go wrong.

Paleo Meets Pioneer Ranch Dressing
If you’re looking to lighten up your ranch habit, try this perfect marriage of a paleo mayonnaise base with the full flavor of Pioneer Woman’s dressing.

Paleo Mayonnaise
1-1/4 cup of light olive oil, divided
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 lemon, juiced

Ranch Ingredients
1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, fresh
2 tablespoons chives, fresh
dill, fresh, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the mayonnaise…
I find an immersion blender works best, but you can whisk by hand or use a blender or food processor. Crack the egg into a tall glass, if using an immersion blender, and add the salt and mustard. Start blending and begin to slowly pour in the olive oil. After you’ve added all the oil and the mixture has emulsified, add lemon juice to taste, stirring gently with a spoon to incorporate.

To make the ranch…
Peel the garlic and either grate or make a garlic paste by hand if you don’t have a grater. To do this, smash the garlic with a chef’s knife laid flat, finely chop, then sprinkle with a large pinch of kosher salt and start to mash it with the back of a fork.

Finely chop the parsley, chives and dill. In a mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, coconut milk, garlic and herbs. Mix till all is well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Give the dressing a taste, preferably with a bit of lettuce or other fresh veggie. Alter to your taste! Add more herbs, salt or pepper.

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Posted in Dear Diary