I love ranch dressing, but I hate that the second ingredient in the popular packaged mix, salt being the first, is MSG. Yikes! In fact, the only herbs in the mix are dried onion and parsley. That's really not that healthy, is it?!?! I've tried various store brands of already made ranch as well, but for the most part, they all contain preservatives and chemicals, and many are expensive. I've wanted to make my own, but just never seemed to find the right recipe.
Until now. Enter Pioneer Woman! She has a great recipe in her cookbook, and I decided to try it out the other day. It contains a wonderful blend of herbs, and I just planted 10 different potted herbs for this summer, so I thought I would try them out in it. However, you could also use dried herbs (I used a few) and it would turn out just fine as well (just use about half the amount of dried herbs, because they are stronger). I was very happy with the results, but I knew my husband would be the final judge, so I was glad to see him go back for seconds on salad, just so he could have the dressing.
I did adapt her recipe slightly, so I'll type out her recipe and put my changes in italics.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
I N G R E D I E N T S :
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. sea salt in my version)
1 garlic clove, chopped (I used a teeny clove so it would not be too overpowering)
1 cup real mayonnaise (I only used 1/4 cup and loved that it wasn't too mayonnaisey or thick)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk, depending on how thick you want the dressing (1/2 cup buttermilk*)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have that much yet so I used a little fresh and about 1/8 cup dried)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives (I used these but then went back and sprinkled some more dried chives in for extra flavor)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (I only had dried, so I went with between 1/2 and 1 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (I'm afraid of this stuff so I just used a teeny pinch)
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Dash of hot sauce (I didn't use any)
D I R E C T I O N S :
Here is a summery of PW's directions-they call for beginning by sprinkling the salt over the garlic, and then mashing them together with a fork to make a paste, then adding all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stirring together gently, adjusting the seasonings as needed, and as she says "make the ranch dressing all yours-add in more of what you like. Chill the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving. Thin with milk if needed.
I simply placed all the ingredients in my food processor and blended, adjusting the seasoning as I desired, and then chilled until dinner time.
*I didn't have any buttermilk, so I made the following homemade subsitute, which I also found in PW's cookbook:
If you don't have any buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar to just under 1 cup low-fat milk and stir together. (I used whole milk. I love how this is substitute is so mild and doesn't give a sour taste.)