May 23, 2020

Ricotta Ranch Dressing

May has been unusually cool and rainy, so our lettuce hasn't bolted yet!

I've been experimenting with making salad dressings for awhile. My goal is to make them from ingredients I commonly have on hand. I haven't come up with anything particularly noteworthy, but I keep on trying. Are they even necessary? I don't know, but they sure do dress up a salad, and we like them for a veggie dip too.

Ranch used to be a staple at our house, until the ingredient list on the bottled brands convinced me I no longer want to buy it. Homemade recipes for Ranch dressing call for mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk. The problem is, these aren't ingredients I keep around. I recently stocked up on coconut oil mayonnaise (75¢ a pint!), but I don't buy or make sour cream, and my buttermilk is from butter making, not the cultured kind used in salad dressings. Since I'm not inclined to go to a lot of trouble making individual ingredients for only one recipe, I'd given up on one of my favorite salad dressings.

The other day I made a soft creamy ricotta from my mozzarella whey and wondered why it wouldn't be a good base for a salad dressing. I experimented with an idea, and both Dan and I agree it's a keeper! I won't miss store-bought Ranch any more!

I'm posting the recipe here, so I'll remember what it is. With whey ricotta, skimmed milk kefir, and no mayo, it could be almost zero fat. With the kefir, it's probiotic! My measurements are in parenthesis, but this could be adapted for any amounts and taste preferences.

Ricotta Ranch Salad Dressing

Equal parts of:
  • ricotta (that recipe here) (¾ cup)
  • kefir (and that recipe here) (¾ cup)
To taste:
  • Himalayan salt (1 tsp)
  • black pepper (¼ tsp)
  • onion powder (1 tsp)
  • garlic powder (⅛ tsp)
  • parsley flakes (sprinkle)
  • pickle juice (1 tbsp)

Blend all ingredients until creamy. Add more kefir if needed for the desired consistency. Pour into a recycled salad dressing bottle, and refrigerate until serving. This would also make an excellent veggie or chip dip.

Future experiments:

Parting shot: Here's what I served that salad with. . . .

Ricotta gnocchi and meatballs in pizza sauce sprinkled with
grated fresh mozzarella. The links will take you to the recipes.

A yummy meal (if I do say so myself).

Ricotta Ranch Dressing © May 2020 by Leigh


wyomingheart said...

That looks awesome, and we will definitely give these recipes a good try, Leigh. Thanks very much for sharing, as we are a ranch dress8ng household! Have a terrific week!

Cockeyed Jo said...

Leigh, sounds yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Sounds and looks delicious Leigh!

I have never yet had luck making ricotta with my leftover whey, but now that I am back on the cheese wagon I will have to give it another shot.

Ed said...

That salad looks delicious!

Boud said...

That meal looks amazing. I never buy buttermilk, but I sour regular milk with lemon juice to make it.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, thanks! The idea is to use products that are part of our homestead food production flow, right? :)

Jo, thanks!

TB, my whey ricotta tends to be iffy, and I haven't been able to figure out the nuances yet. Sometimes I add vinegar, sometimes I don't have to. It probably has more to do with pH than anything else.

Ed, it was!

Boud, that sounds like a very simple way to do it. I know it's possible to use buttermilk as a culture, but I usually just use my whey. Finding different alternatives is fun. :)

wyomingheart said...

👍... yessiree!!!!!

Retired Knitter said...

It all looks delicious. I am heading into the kitchen now. Hungry!

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, challenging, but such fun when something works out. :)

RT, nothing beats a good salad!

The Happy Whisk said...

I love this post! I've been making fun dressing at home too and it's a hoot. I don't do dairy or eggs or mayo. I used to eat this egg-free mayo and then I had 5 teeth pulled out and after that, my mayo buds died. I cannot even stand the smell of it. So weird. Anyway, love your Ranch mix and will give it a go next time I make a new batch of dressing. Hubby LOVES ranch. Thank you!

The Happy Whisk said...

It's weird. I can't copy and paste your formula. I will jot it down old-school. With pencil and paper. Go me! And go you for posting this. Thanks, again.

Kristin said...

Oh goodness Leigh! I just went down the rabbit hole! So. Much. Good. Information here (as always). I'm making ricotta on Saturday and was going to use it on pizza but now I'm thinking I might need to make extra just for this salad dressing.

Question about kefir though. Is it like kombucha in that you need a 'mother' or 'scoby' to get it started? And can you make that mother/scoby yourself? I've been trying to figure out how to make kombucha without purchasing a scoby or getting a scoby from somewhere. It had to start from scratch at some point right?!?!


Leigh said...

The Happy Whisk, 5 teeth! Yikes! I think you will like this recipe, it doesn't taste like mayo but has that satisfying creamy texture. Of course, the seasonings are to taste.

A number of years ago I had someone copy a whole bunch of my blog posts and put them on some other blog they tried to pass off as their own. I inserted the no copy code after that. It's inconvenient for me too, but not as bad as trying to track down a content theif!

Kristin, you're correct, kefir needs kefir "grains" to get it started. You need a source for them, but if you contact me by email I'd be happy to send you some next time mine need to be thinned. They keep on multiplying, so some have to be passed on or fed to the chickens from time to time. In the meantime, you could use plain yogurt if you have it on hand. :)

Sam I Am...... said...

Thank you! I have not been able to give up my Ranch Dressing but now there's hope!

Leigh said...

Sam, there's always hope! And there are several substitutes that would work well for this, I think. ;)