Live Real. Eat Real.

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

I wasn’t going to post a recipe but, well, I’m all out of random today (to say nothing of running extremely late).  Unless you want to hear me carry on about how The Young One has already outgrown/worn out the shoes that I bought him just 4 months ago.

No?  I didn’t think so.

Anyhoo.

Since going dairy-free, one of the things that have become problematic have been salads – mostly because my favorite salad dressing is ranch.  Oh, I can (and freuqently do) whip up a mean vinaigrette, but there’s just something about a creamy, zesty ranch dressing – I just love the stuff.

So you can imagine my dilemma when I began planning the menu for our holiday party – I always do a crudité platter, the center of which is a container of ranch dressing for dipping.  I thought for a bit about just making my regular ranch dressing for it (minus the powdered buttermilk – because it’s all powdered, you know), but then I wouldn’t be able to eat it…and that would make me a very unhappy .

So, it was off to the interwebz to do a search for Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing!  And, by golly, there are about a million recipes for it – this one is based on the recipe at simplygluten-free.com.  It’s a good, solid recipe except for the vegan “mayonnaise” (I guess it would be okay if you’re avoiding eggs) and agave nectar (I hate to break it to you, but agave nectar is highly refined; even the “raw” stuff undergoes a certain amount of processing).  I tweaked it with real food ingredients, including homemade mayonnaise and raw honey, and it is just wonderful – you wouldn’t know it is dairy free if someone didn’t tell you.  My guests ate it up.

Note:  I use a lot of coconut milk as a dairy substitute, both in recipes and for things like creamer in my coffee.  All of the coconut milk I purchase is organic and when I can find it I buy fair-trade milk in cans that are free of BPA.  And because all of the fat in the recipe comes from the coconut milk and mayonnaise, a serving of this ranch dressing contains about 1/3 fewer calories than commercial dressing – and no industrial seed oils or refined sugars.

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

16 servings, or about 2 cups

1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chives, finely minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely minced

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the lemon juice and vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth and  creamy; cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld and the dressing to thicken.

Keeps well refrigerated for up to one week.

Nutrition (per serving): 88 calories, 9.2g total fat, 8.5mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 43.1mg potassium, 1.8g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.1g sugar, <1g protein.

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