Making a white, creamy salad dressing or sauce when you don’t eat dairy or cashews is not easy, but not impossible either. This dairy-free ranch sauce is made with almonds and hemp seeds, and a lot of spices and herbs.
It’s similar in taste and texture to the original ranch and can be used in so many ways: drizzle on salads and roasted vegetables, use it as a marinade, or as a dip sauce. Use it as a base to build on with more flavors and textures, like avocado, mustard, or roasted peppers.
What is a ranch dressing made of?
Dressings and sauces are not foods you want to buy in stores, no matter how delicious they may be.
These are the ingredients in a store-bought ranch sauce: vegetable oil (usually canola and soybean), water, sugar, egg yolk, salt, nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate, disodium phosphate, vinegar, spices, and many more preservatives. Even those marketed as ‘healthier’ versions are pretty scary.
Does ranch have dairy?
Yes, the traditional ranch has dairy. The main ingredient of a classic ranch sauce should be buttermilk, sometimes sour cream, and/or yogurt.
If you are vegan or can’t eat dairy, another option would be using cashew or soy dairy alternatives, but I personally don’t eat cashews or soy. Coconut dairy can be overpowering in the case of a sauce. So, what to do?
I often make hemp milk at home. I love that it is so easy to make, love its neutral taste, and hemp seeds are so healthy for us. So I thought, why not use a base of hemp seeds to make a dairy-free ranch dressing?
If, for any reason, you want to use another dairy-free milk, use almond milk.
I also added some almonds for more texture, and I’m pretty happy with the result.
Ingredients for a dairy-free ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds (soaked)
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion OR 1 small shallot
- 1 handful of fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dry chives (or 3 teaspoons fresh if you have)
- 1 teaspoon dry dill (or 3 teaspoons fresh if you have)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup filtered water
If you prefer, you can use garlic powder and onion powder instead of fresh onion and garlic.
Dried herbs come in handy because you will not always have access to fresh chives and dill. But you can use fresh if you find them.
To make the ranch dressing, just blend all the ingredients in a high-power blender, adding water gradually until achieving the desired consistency.
Taste and season if necessary.
This homemade ranch dip will go with almost anything, but it will perfectly match my Mustard Sage Crispy Wing Platter.
Cauliflower Salad with Homemade Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
This is a delicious and healthy way to use this dairy-free ranch dressing. Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl:
- 1/2 al dente boiled, steamed, or roasted cauliflower, cut into small pieces;
- 1/2 cup pressure-cooked or canned chickpeas (can be replaced with sweet potato);
- 1 carrot, grated or cut into ribbons
- one generous handful of parsley, chopped
- kalamata olives, as much as your heart desires
- 4-5 tablespoons of dairy-free ranch dressing
Season with more lime or lemon, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste.
If you wish, you can also mix in some greens, such as arugula or andives
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A multi-purpose creamy and flavorful sauce or dressing. Soak the blanched almonds in filtered water for a few hours before making the dressing. Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine until creamy and smooth. You can add more water if it needs more liquid. Adjust taste to your preference, adding more lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, or pepper. Store in a closed jar for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing (Lectin-Free)
A multi-purpose creamy and flavorful sauce or dressing.
Soak the blanched almonds in filtered water for a few hours before making the dressing.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine until creamy and smooth. You can add more water if it needs more liquid. Adjust taste to your preference, adding more lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, or pepper.
Store in a closed jar for up to 3 days in the fridge.