Ranch dressing. It’s one of those things that seems really, really hard to replace. And you miss that creaminess, salty, tart flavor, especially on salads, buffalo, wings, or just with a veggie tray at a party. When Mary Kate and I started this blog, we began a list of things we missed desperately (okay, so it was a spreadsheet divided up by category, but anyway). I don’t think ranch even made the list. I don’t think it was even something that we considered being able to replace. But while I was researching replacement mayo recipes, I came across a recipe on Yummly.com that used cashew nuts to make a ranch dressing. Mary Kate and I didn’t think the flavor profile was quite right, so we messed around a bit with the spices. It was one of our first real successes and even people who can have real ranch dressing seemed to be shocked at how much they liked it. And it’s really pretty easy. I know this recipe won’t help those of you who can’t have tree nuts, but we’re posting another ranch recipe that will help.
Ranch Dip Using a Cashew Base
- 1 1/4 cups cashews (raw, unsalted, and if you buy cashew pieces it’s cheaper)
- 3/4 cup rice milk (original, unsweetened, or use rice milk powder following directions on container)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of red bell pepper flakes.
Grind cashews in spice grinder or coffee grinder, in small batches until the cashews are a nearly a powder, but not to the point they become a butter.
Place the ground cashews and all remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until combined and until mixture thickens a bit. Taste mixture and adjust spices as needed. Let sit for a couple hours before serving and the flavors will develop and the mixture will thicken further.
Some of the testers have found that this recipe does not hold up well overnight as it becomes more salty, but there’s been some debate about that. Also some of us preferred less salt and others preferred more. The recipe as written is using less salt.
Let us know what you think 🙂