6.15.2012

Vegan Ranch Dressing

I am on a salad dressing roll this month!  Ok, so this is my third one, but since we're only halfway through the month, I'd say that's a lot!  Find my other two dressings featured this month with Vegan 1000 Island at this link, and Miso Ginger Dressing at this link.  Since corresponding with a few new E2Lers, several have asked if ranch dressing is ok to have on their salads since that is their favorite.   My response to this was to extremely limit full fat dressings and shoot to make as many homemade dressings as you can.  Here is my ultimate solution to those of you who want your ranch and eat it too!

Ingredients: (please note that all spices are the dried versions, and not fresh herbs)

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a microwave, heat a bowl with two cups of water until the water is steaming.  Place the raw cashews into the steaming water and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes before draining the liquid.
  2. In a blender, blend the cashews, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, and rice vinegar until creamy and smooth.
  3. Next, add all of the dried spices and herbs to the blender, and blend for several seconds.
  4. Taste test with a carrot or celery stick and adjust spices to your liking.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy on salads or as a veggie dip!
Amy's notes:  I like to soak my raw cashews before blending them because I don't have a professional blender and it needs a bit of help processing everything, but if you feel that your blender can handle it, soaking is not necessarily needed.  As a substitute for cashews, raw sunflower seeds or raw pine nuts will work just as well.  For new E2Lers, please keep in mind that while this dressing is much much better for your than traditional Ranch, its base is raw cashews.  If you are limiting your consumption of nuts to 2 oz a day, I would say 3-4 tablespoons should be your limit.

Since I am on a salad dressing rampage this month, are there any salad dressings that you used to love pre-E2L that you would like for me to try to recreate?

30 comments:

  1. Amy, you can post as many salad dressings as you'd like and you will make readers like me very happy!! :) Excited to try this one too. Since you asked, here are a couple other requests...
    -Raspberry Vinagrette
    -Peanut/Ginger (the one they put on thai salads...maybe using 1/2 cashews, 1/2 peanuts??)
    -Caesar

    Thank you!!!

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    1. I love your suggestions! The peanut/ginger idea has the wheels spinning in my head trying to think of how I could do that. Raspberry vinaigrette was another one of my favorites pre-E2L, so I would love to recreate that one, but I'm going to have to wait for the raspberries in my parent's yard to be ready, which could take a few more weeks.

      I've also been pondering how I might make Caesar dressing, probably with the help of nutritional yeast... Caesar is my fiance's favorite salad dressing, so I would be ecstatic if he would eat my homemade one rather than the terrible greasy and fatty store-bought dressing. He's visiting from the other side of the state in two weeks, so I'll have to do some test runs before that and let you guys know what I come up with.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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    2. Awesome! I made your ranch but I think I went too crazy on the dill. :-) Also it seems to firm up quite a bit after refrigerating so I found I've needed to add a bit of water before using it each time. But I think that's pretty normal with nut-based dressings.

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  2. Can't believe how good and good-for-you this is. Thanks again!

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    1. No problem Joanna! It's definitely nice to be able to use a dressing as liberally as you want in a salad or as a dip and know that it isn't counting against you nutritionally like most oil and dairy-based SAD dressings. Enjoy!- Amy

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  3. I just found your blog via CarrieOnVegan! And so glad I did! I have been trying really hard to make salad dressing recipes instead of using store bought. Especially since I eat at least one huge salad a day. My big downfall is Trader Joes Goddess dressing! If you could recreate that it would be amazing!

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    1. Welcome to my blog Bobbi! I try to do my best with making homemade dressings, but I understand that when it comes down to a time crunch, the store bought versions can be very convenient. I often like making dressings like the one on this post, with not really any quickly perishable ingredients (fresh fruit or veggies), that way I can make more at once and have something available for longer. I have never tried the Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing before, but I got some yesterday when I was there. I will do my best to recreate it! It looks like it is tahini based, which sounds awesome! Stay tuned to see that post sometime this week! - Amy

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    2. Finally made this dressing when I got home from work tonight! Fabulous! It will be going with me tomorrow instead of my TJ Goddess! Thanks!

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  4. I have tried a few other recipes for dressings and was sadly disappointed, none of which were from you blog. I am curious does this really taste like ranch dressing?

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    1. I think it really does taste like ranch dressing. Because I am not a strict vegan, when I made this recipe I tasted the real thing right next to my version. I say that it is very comparable, if not preferable in my opinion The best thing about this dressing is that I know I can put as much as I feel like on my salad or use it as a dipping sauce, and not feel guilty about it. When you store the dressing in the fridge it might thicken up a bit too much, and if this happens to you, just add a tablespoon or two of water and shake. Hope you give it a try and it works out for you! - Amy

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  5. I made this dressing today and enjoyed it very much, I think it's the best vegan ranch I have made so far :)

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  6. I would love to make this dressing for my whole family, but my daughter is allergic to nuts. Do the cashews play a key role (flavor-wise) in the dressing? Could I use something else in it's place other than nuts? Thanks!

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    1. The cashews are what gives this recipe its thick, dressing-like consistency, so it would not do very well left out. I would suggest trying to replace the cashews with sunflower seeds if she is not allergic to that (I happen to be lol). Or you could replace the cashews with silken tofu. Another option might be to use white or cannenelli beans. Please let me know if you give this a try and how it works out for you!

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  7. I also just found your blog via Carrie On Vegan. And...I just made this dressing and may I say.....YUM!!!! Very, very nice. Have you done the Caesar dressing yet? I know...now I'm getting pushey...sorry. How about Blue Cheeze? Now I've gone from pushey to downright unreasonable, haven't I? Once again...sorry....sorta

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    1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the dressing! It is one of my favs! I actually have Caesar dressing on my recipe-attempt list this week, and I will post when I get it just right. I have not done a blue cheese one yet, but maybe sometime in the future! In the meantime, have you tried my Vegan 1000 Island dressing? (http://amysnutritariankitchen.blogspot.com/2012/06/vegan-1000-island-dressing.html)

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  8. This is the best nutritarian ranch ever! My sister and I are definitely from the ranch generation and ranch has been what we've missed the most since switching to ETL. I have tried a few other recipes (have you tried tofu-based ranch? Barf, seriously), and was honestly afraid to try this one ... but I like some other cashew-based dressings so decided to try it. Can't say enough good things ... the seasoning combo is perfect! The ONLY thing we change is to reduce the amount of cashews (only half-cup, since we are 6-week challenging) for drizzling on salads, and likewise use less "milk" if we want a thick dip. Just discovered your blog -- LOVE <3

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    1. Thank you so much for the wonderfully positive feedback! I make this ranch recipe all. the. TIME! I guarantee less salads would be eaten if I didn't have this one. Thanks for reading!

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  9. OMG yummy! You made this vegan very happy! :) thank you for sharing!

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  10. Amy, the ranch dressing was soooo good! It was difficult to break away from the oil&vinegar dressing I used to make, but this was a great no oil option.

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl! This is one of my favorites of all time. Ranch was one of those comfort food/flavors that I missed when going Nutritarian, but this recipe is a perfect substitution!

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  11. I couldn't find raw cashews at the store so I used raw almonds. It's pretty good! I am excited to try it with cashews.

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    1. I've never tried this dressing with almonds, but I have substituted half of the nuts for cannellini beans, which gives a very similar taste, but a lot less fat from nuts. :)

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  12. I have not seen a vegan recipe for French dressing. That is my husband's favorite. Would you have one?

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    1. Hi Lyn,

      I have never made French dressing purposely, but this recipe I made a while ago has a simple dressing that would be very similar. http://amysnutritariankitchen.blogspot.com/2013/05/dr-fuhrman-warm-lentil-salad.html

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  13. Hi Amy, I'm new at this so forgive such a novice question! What do you mean by "non dairy milk". Do you mean almond milk, etc? What do you use to make the ranch dressing? Thank you! Love your blog! Ellen

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    1. Hi Ellen, For non-dairy milk, I mean for you to use your favorite. There are so many plant-based milk alternatives on the market now it would take me ages to list them all off. Some of my favorite are almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, and oat milk. :)

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  14. I just tried this. Wow, what a delightful flavor. This dressing will go on my steamed veggies and potatoes regularly from now on.

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  15. I made this dressing and it is WONDREFUL! Even my husband loves it! We have had lots more salads as a result! More greens = better health! Thank you for posting this lovely recipe:)

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