Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing and a Newfound Seasoning Blend

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People are always asking “What are the best salad dressings to buy?”  The answer is easy–  All you have to do is look at the ingredient list on most bottled dressings out there and you’ll see for yourself what they are made of– low quality refined oils, sugars, mysterious additives and artificial colorings– I say, get into your kitchen and make your own.  This way your salad dressings are fresh, easy, and you know they contain good-for-you ingredients!

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water (or unsweetened almond or soy milk)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 clove raw garlic (optional)

Directions:  Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy.  Taste and add a touch more tamari or sea salt if you desire.  Toss in any other herbs or spices you like!

Refrigerate any unused dressing.  It will thicken a bit when chilled.  Enjoy over salads:

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Or even on top of cooked grains and veggies.  It adds a dill-icious ranchy flavor! Here I have arugula, steamed asparagus and mushrooms (mostly hidden) with quinoa and my homemade ranch dressing:

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The ingredients in this simple blended dressing are items commonly found in a well-stocked pantry.  Lemon juice, tamari, apple cider vinegar, nuts and a variety of dried herbs and spices can serve as the foundation for thousands of culinary creations.  I am trying to use up the spices I have in my overflowing cabinet now, but one new seasoning blend I recently discovered and bought (at BJs) is this Sweet Ginger Garlic by Simply Asia:

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I’ve only had it a few days but I’ve sprinkled it on everything like sweet potatoes and roasted veggies…and it makes a flavorful crunchy addition to salads on top of the ranch dressing:

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It’s a blend of yummies like ginger, white and black sesame seeds, garlic, red bell pepper, onion and coconut.  Yes, there is sea salt and sugar added– but considering the small amount of seasoning necessary I think it’s negligible.  Always be suspicious of the words “natural flavor”— MSG?  The Simply Asia website did not offer up that info but I have emailed them an inquiry.

For now, ignorance is bliss.  It’s that good!  However, you can’t remain blind to what you are eating day in and day out.  There’s a fine line between obsessiveness and mindfulness.  Everyone draws the line at a different spot.  For me, right now, I feel my diet is high enough in unprocessed, natural foods where I don’t want to be overly concerned about something this small.  But if you consume the majority of your foods from cans, boxes, instant mixes, frozen prepared foods and restaurants you are most likely getting way too much salt, sugar and bizarre additives and flavorings.

How much attention do you pay to ingredient lists?  Always read them?  Make it a habit!

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4 Responses to Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing and a Newfound Seasoning Blend

  1. This ranch looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it! And I’m an avid label reader; since I eat (mostly) salt, oil, and sugar free, it’s a must. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss, though! 🙂

  2. Corinne Goff says:

    I heard back from my inquiry on the MSG…and there is none in this product.
    “… Because of concerns such as yours, we are continually evaluating our products and formulating new items without the addition of MSG. We have successfully removed MSG from a number of our existing products. We will continue our reevaluation process to determine if the quality and flavor our consumers expect can be maintained without the presence of MSG. Whenever MSG is directly added to our products, it is always labeled in the ingredient statement.”

    I think contacting companies about their products is important– it shows them that we really do care about what we eat. It can even result in them reformulating– but if we blindly purchase products with unhealthy ingredients then of course these manufacturers are going to keep on making them that way.

  3. Trina says:

    Hi Corinne, I just found your blog and enjoyed looking through your recipes. This salad dressing sounds amazing; as soon as I get some dried dill I will be trying it!

    My current favorite salad dressing is:
    2 Tbsp tahini
    juice of 1 lemon
    pinch of dried oregano
    salt and pepper to taste
    I usually thin it a bit with a tablespoon of organic apple juice, or (I know this sounds weird, but it’s so good) a tablespoon of the liquid from a jar of organic kalamata olives.

    I added your blog to my RSS feed and I’m looking forward to your future posts!

    • Corinne Goff says:

      I love tahini-based dressings too. It sounds like you are balancing the flavors of sweet, salty and tart with your additions…it doesn’t sound weird at all– I do the same thing but usually I use a little maple syrup, tamari and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

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