Tangy Ranch Salad Dressing


After my recent LENGTHY post on Lillian Hellman and pot roast I believe my readers and I deserve something short and simple today.
I’m nibbling on any greenery I can get my hands on at this time of year–usually augmented with apples, nuts, and dried fruit. So I thought I’d share with you my most recent salad dressing.
A few days ago I had a hankering to make the ranch dressing my neighborhood matriarch, Mary Parker (a.k.a. Gam), used to make. Hers was the first ranch dressing I ever tasted, about 30 years ago. I loved its smoothness, its tang (from buttermilk), and its gorgeous flecks of herbs.
Unfortunately, the file that contained Gam’s recipe has mysteriously disappeared from the Tinky laptop. The laptop is not, alas, the most reliable of electronic devices.
Instead I used some of what I remembered from Gam, took a look at a few other recipes in cookbooks, and came up with my own version of the dressing.
It isn’t exactly Gam’s formula, but it certainly perks up a salad. You’ll find it a little thinner than commercial ranch dressings (which probably contain mysterious thickening agents). It still adheres nicely to a lettuce leaf or a carrot stick. And its complex, fresh flavor beats that of any bottled dressing I’ve ever tried.
Cutting the Herbs

Cutting the Herbs

Not Gam’s Salad Dressing
fresh herbs to taste (I used 1 handful parsley, 1 handful dill, and a few basil leaves)
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise (low fat is fine if you’re dieting)
1/2 cup sour cream (I should think Greek yogurt would also work very nicely, although I haven’t tried it)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
several turns of the pepper grinder
several drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch paprika
Chop the herbs as finely as you can. I do this by crowding them into a small, narrow glass (like a juice glass) and sticking my scissors into the glass. You may need to chop your herbs in batches.
Combine the herbs with the other ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is smooth. Place the dressing in a covered jar and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before using it.
Makes a little more than 2 cups of dressing. Use within a few days.
I love having herbs on my window sill at this time of year!

I love having herbs on my window sill at this time of year!

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6 Responses to “Tangy Ranch Salad Dressing”

  1. Mary Collins says:

    Wow–sounds yummy! I love the buttermilk ranch combination; makes my mouth water.

  2. Can’t wait to try this one! Love ranch dressing, hate packages of chemicals. And anything with buttermilk is good.

  3. Cathy Cosby says:

    Just in case you would like Gam’s recipe for Herbed Buttermilk Dressing ……..

    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup mayonaise
    1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped parsely
    1/2 teaspoon dried chives
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon dried basil
    1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

    Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store refrigerated.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank you, Cathy! I loved seeing what I remembered and what I didn’t. And thanks for stopping by, Abigail and Mary. Enjoy the dressing……..

  5. grad says:

    I’ve been off the net for a while with company and what not. I really want to read your post on Lillian Hellman. The only thing I read by her was Pentimento. So, I’ll try to do that tonight. Perfect recipe here, Tink, since I was planning on making a big salad for dinner tonight. Still fighting those holiday bulges.

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Same here. I have some pre-holiday bulges as well……. Bon appetit!

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