Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
Creamy and full of flavor, this Dairy-free Ranch Dressing is my take on the store-bought version that’s full of dairy and a lot of unpronounceable ingredients. Raw cashews and my secret weapon, zucchini, create a smooth and creamy base that is mixed with different herbs and seasonings to provide that household ranch taste.
Highlights of this ranch dressing:
- Raw cashews. Since we’re not using dairy, we need a just-as-creamy alternative. Enter: raw cashews. They provide that desired rich mouthfeel, while also adding healthy fats and a variety of nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, and copper.
- Zucchini or yellow squash. My secret weapon for providing water (as it has a high water content), an extra boost of nutrients, and fiber. The fiber contributes to a smooth consistency while allowing water to be adding that doesn’t just thin the dressing out.
- Herbs. Beyond vitamins, minerals, and fiber, high concentrations of phytochemicals like terpenes are found in herbs. Terpenoids are the plant chemicals that provide the intense colors, aromas, and flavors to the different herbs. Not only that, but those terpenoids benefit the plant and thus our body in a variety of ways – the oils usually providing some medicinal quality such as having anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties.
How easy it is to make:
Creamy and complex flavors. Besides serving with salad, use as a dip, to make kale chips, mix
into zoodles, or use as a sauce for something like tacos.
- Raw cashews, soaked until softened, 20-30 minutes, and drained
- Zucchini or yellow crooked-neck squash, chopped
- Lemon, peeled and chopped, or juiced
- Raw apple cider vinegar, optional
- Celery, chopped
- Water, as needed
- Fresh garlic, minced
- Granulated garlic, optional
- Onion powder
- Fresh parsley, torn or roughly chopped
- Fresh or dried dill
- Ground cumin
- Pinch kelp or dulse flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a high-speed blender, add about equal parts cashews and zucchini to a high-speed blender. Add as much lemon as desired, start with about half if unsure, and a splash of raw apple cider vinegar if using. Lastly, add the celery, about 1 stalk is a great place to start. Remember, you can always add more ingredients in after tasting, but can’t take away.
Blend on high, slowly streaming in water to help blend (remember the squash has water in it) until you reach desired thickness and it becomes very creamy. Use less water to make a dip or more water to make a pourable dressing.
Taste. Assess the thickness and taste. Adjust with more lemon or water if needed. If you’ve added too much water, blend in additional squash or cashews to make it more thick.
4. Now, let’s add the seasonings, which are all to taste. Add as much of the remaining ingredients as desired. If unsure, try about 1 teaspoon of each of the dried seasonings and add more as needed after tasting. If incorporating using the blender, blend on low to prevent the garlic and herbs from getting completely macerated. If whisking the seasonings in by hand, make sure to chop the herbs ahead of time.
Taste. Assess the flavor and adjust by adding in more herbs, spices, or even lemon if desired.
This stores in the fridge for several days, up to a week, so can easily be made in a large amount and use throughout the week.
This dressing thickens as it sits, especially if it sits overnight. A splash of water may need to be added.
*For those that don't know, my recipes are made as whole and nutrient-dense as possible, but still incredibly satisfying. I share my recipes without measurements and hope they equip you to not feel confined to a recipe, but rather confident in your kitchen to be able to create something unique, nourishing, and delicious all on your own. So take this recipe as inspiration and enjoy! Head on over to my IG @noelle.parton and tag me if you try this out, or contact me if you have questions or comments.
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