Taking Back an American Classic

DIY-ranchIt’s hard to say whether the current status quo is due to an onslaught of commercials featuring kids eating carrots while playing in valleys or whether Americans have a group-mind when it comes to dressings, but one thing is clear: Ranch is just about everybody’s favorite dressing. I love the concept, too — you can’t go wrong with creamy, tangy buttermilk blended with summery herbs — but unfortunately commercially bottled Ranch strays far from that fresh, herbaceous concept. Here are a few of the ingredients you’ll find in Hidden Valley’s Original Ranch Dressing (taken directly from their website): phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, MSG, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, disodium guanylate. And the main ingredient is cheap soy oil. No, thanks.

So in the spirit of reclaiming our national dressing, how about making our own Ranch to grace our summer salads? I’ve opted for whole-milk Greek yogurt rather than buttermilk since yogurt is naturally thicker and also because it’s easier to buy a small container of whole-milk Greek yogurt than a quart of buttermilk (and frankly, the yogurt is more useful to have around). But of course you can opt for whole-milk buttermilk if you’d prefer.

DIY Ranch Dressing

Makes just over 1/4 cup dressing.

For the dressing:

1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. dried or fresh minced chives

1 tsp. dried or fresh minced dill

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

Green beans, trimmed and cut into halves or thirds

Canned tuna, preferably from BPA-free cans

Radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

Cucumber, thinly sliced

To make the dressing, whisk together ingredients in a small bowl. If the dressing is too thick to pour, add 1 tsp. of water and whisk again.

To make the salad, fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add green beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain promptly. Toss beans with remaining salad ingredients and top with dressing. So simple! Of course, you can use the dressing as a dip or a marinade, too. Just omit the water if your goal is to wind up with a thick dip.


Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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