Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Salad Dressing Series: Buttermilk Ranch

I have heard many people say that they will often order a salad when eating out, simply because it tastes better when someone else has had to do the work. I have to say - not so, for myself. Cooking is, to me, largely therapeutic, and I also find it incredibly satisfying to be able to create a healthy meal. Thus, over here, making a salad (with all that chopping and all those healthy vegetables) could basically be called a hobby.

I buy salad ingredients every week, and always manage to make it a meal at least one night; a side dish the other 2-3. What I've had trouble finding; however, is salad dressing that I really love. There are good ones out there (Opa Greek Yogurt dressings are a particular favorite), but nothing ever quite tastes exactly the way that I want it to. So, I've made it my mission to find for you (and me, who am I kidding) some really great and easy homemade dressings to spruce up your everyday salad. First up: the classic, buttermilk ranch.

[pictured here on a veggie/protein bowl]

I will be the first to admit that I love ranch dressing. I love it on salad, I love it as a dip with carrots, and I even love it as an accompaniment to pizza crust. Unfortunately, most of the ranch I find bottled at the grocery store is so thick and artificial tasting that I'd rather eat my carrots sans dressing. This one, with its buttermilk base and abundance of fresh herbs and lemon, is just the right consistency and has a bright, tangy finish.

-1 cup buttermilk
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs
  (a mix of dill, chives & parsley is great)
-juice from 1/2 lemon + a few grates of zest
-1 clove minced garlic
-salt + pepper to taste

-Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl or cup. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This dressing somehow manages to elevate even the simplest of salads to meal-status and can tie together a bunch of disparate leftovers into something worth eating. Please think twice next time you start to shake that gross white glop out the plastic bottle and make this ranch instead. :)

[recipe just barely adapted from Real Simple Magazine]

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