Did you know there really was a “Hidden Valley Ranch”? It was a resort in California, owned by Steve and Gayle Henson, the place where ranch dressing was invented. Steve Henson’s, simple mixture of mayonnaise, buttermilk and herbs has become our favorite way to liven up lettuce.
However, commercially bottled ranch dressing is made with unhealthy soybean oil, then loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors and finished with a dose of monosodium glutamate, a known neurotoxin. This is far from what Henson served his guests at Hidden Valley Ranch. Let’s return to the ranch and make our own healthy Ranch Dressing.
I’ve meant to come up with a healthy Ranch Dressing for some time. A big bowl full of mixed salad greens is a daily staple around here. I was inspired to tinker with using a dairy-free version of “buttermilk” after my friend J3nn used canned coconut milk to make a coleslaw dressing. I gave her recipe a try and it was actually pretty darned good. I don’t have an aversion to my homemade mayonnaise, so J3nn’s recipe is just another alternative to healthy creamy coleslaw. But she gave me the idea to use coconut milk as a dairy-free replacement in making a creamy salad dressing.
There’s a well-known trick for making buttermilk by simply adding vinegar or lemon juice to cream or milk. I used this trick, with my favorite canned coconut milk, to come up with a dairy-free version of buttermilk. It worked beautifully and the result was a wonderful dairy-free version of ranch dressing. By the way, the Native Forest brand is my favorite because the can is not lined with BPA, the thickness and consistency after shaking is perfect and it does not have an overpowering coconut taste. I use this brand in most of my dairy-free recipes.
Finally, if you are wondering what’s so “unhealthy” about soybean oil, the oil found in just about every single bottle of salad dressing on your local grocery store shelf, here’s your answer:
What’s so bad about soybean oil?
Two specific types of fat, as well as free radicals, prime our body for chronic inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids and trans-fats stimulate the body’s production of inflammation causing chemicals. Omega-6′s are found in vegetable oils, like soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil & sunflower oil. Trans-fats are found in products that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Chronic inflammation is a symptom of almost every disease process. The list of diseases and disorders that involves chronic inflammation is long, from cancer to arthritis to heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.To learn more about inflammation’s effect on health and disease check out the outstanding book, The Inflammation Syndrome by Jack Challem.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12 – 2 Tbsp.
- 1 c. (less 1 Tbsp.) Canned Coconut Milk
- 1/2 c. Homemade Mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Chives
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Dill Weed
- 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/8 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
- In a one cup measuring cup add 1 Tbsp. vinegar and then fill to the top with coconut milk.
- Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk together all ingredients and then pour into a pint jar with a lid.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.