Thursday, October 18, 2012

Homemade ranch dressing (and Brussels sprout slaw)

Brussels sprout slaw with buttermilk ranch dressing
As a food blogger, I'm finding that it keeps my job interesting to interact (virtually) with other cooks and bloggers; it helps me see what kinds of recipes and techniques are trending and exposes me to ingredients or dishes that are outside of my regular repertoire.

To that end, I've been participating in Grow It Cook It Can It's Cook It 2012 challenge, as well as the monthly Secret Recipe Club. My latest venture has been to join the From Scratch Club's virtual book club, in which club members not only read and discuss but also cook from Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making.

This book is cleverly divided into chapters based on supermarket aisles: dairy, cereals and snacks, canned items, condiments, soups, baking needs, frozen foods, pasta, breads and crackers, drinks and candy and sweets. Each chapter includes a few recipes for making your own version of things normally found in those aisles. Every two weeks, the FSC book clubbers read two chapters and are encouraged to test out one of the recipes (member's choice).

For the last "meeting", I made nutella toaster pastries: seriously good. I even made them again, substituting a savory filling of ricotta and parmesan cheese mixed with pesto: perhaps even better!

The focus of the book club's second "meeting" is canning and condiments. Since I have done a boatload of canning and preserving, I decided to focus on condiments.

I was pretty darned excited to find an easy recipe for buttermilk ranch salad dressing.

For the most part, I've moved away from bottled salad dressings and simply make my own. However, I've never been able to part with bottled ranch dressing (organic, at least, to avoid the HFCS).

Until now.

The dressing is simple to whip up and tastes quite like the real thing. It won't keep as long as bottled dressing but, given how easy it is to make and how normal it is for me to have all the necessary ingredients on hand,  I doubt I'll be hitting the bottle again any time soon.

I used the bulk of my first batch on this riff on cole slaw. I love cooked Brussels sprouts but not everyone in my house is a fan (of pretty much anything green, but that's another post entirely). I thought if I disguised them as cole slaw, I might be able to sneak them in occasionally.

It worked. I simply used the slicing blade on my food processor to give the sprouts a more slaw-ish appearance and then tossed them with the ranch dressing and a generous amount of crumbled blue cheese.

Easy, cheesy and delicious -- The Ninj's perfect trifecta.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (from Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making)

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Minced parsley (1-2 teaspoons)
Minced chives (about 1 tablespoon)
Fresh lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all the ingredients together in a container. Season to taste.


  1. This does sound really easy and good! I have a kid who uses ranch dressing on lots of stuff; I'll have to try this version instead.

  2. I like a little fresh dill in mine as well (and since my herbs are all still doing well with the weather we've been having in the bay area, this might be on the menu this evening)!

    1. I'm jealous -- we've had at least 3 killing frosts already so no more herbs in the garden here in Vermont. Enjoy the dressing!