If there were one thing I got obsessed about during my travels in USA a few years ago, it was Ranch Dressing. Ok, there was probably two – Buffalo Wings was another. However it was creamy, tangy Ranch dressing that really got me – I loveeeed it. I don’t quite know why it hooked me so much unless it was something about the fact we don’t have it in Australia. Well we do, but it doesn’t taste like the American stuff.
Ranch Dressing was developed by the owners of Hidden Valley ranch in California in the 1950’s. The dressing became so popular they began to bottling and selling it. It got so popular they ended up having factory. Eventually were bought out by a large company who changed the formula to so that it was more convenient by using powdered buttermilk. Today it is the most popular dressing in the USA.
Anyway, I took home quite a few of Hidden Valley packets (which contain dried ingredients and you just add cow’s milk and mayonnaise and voila). Those packets kept me going for a while and have had friends bring me back some as well. Sadly all my Hidden Valley packets have long gone, so the other week I decided it was time to see if I could actually replicate this myself.
Now MSG is a key ingredient in the packet mix, so home-made meant that I could omit the nasties, and ensure I was creating a healthier version. I have also used fresh herbs instead of dried (which is traditional) and I think the fresh herbs really add dimension but feel free to used dried instead.
I’ve used mayo and buttermilk and the dressing is quite thin, which I like. For a thicker dressing add in a little sour cream (about 1 tblspn). Buttermilk is low fat, so you could also use low fat sour cream or reduced fat mayonnaise also if you are watching your calories. I like Hellmann’s brand, but you could substitute with S&W if you prefer.
You could add fresh or dry chives if you have them (1 tsp). If you think you would prefer to use fresh garlic, instead of the powder, I would suggest bruising a whole garlic and adding while you combine the ingredients,then remove so you get only a hint of flavour.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m sorry Hidden Valley our love affair is officially over… my Ranch Dressing rocks. Please give it a try and let me know if you get hooked.
Its great with Taco’s, or breakfast bacon and egg Tortillas, superb with grilled or BBQ chicken or Buffalo wings. I also love it over potatoes or fresh corn, or as a salad leaves or even as dip with carrots sticks or Chipolata sausages. The possibilities are endless.
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tblspn sour cream (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (gluten free variety)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
A good grind of freshly ground white pepper
Whisk together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavours to develop then check for seasonings.
Makes about 1 cup