I am a salad guru. I often eat big salads for dinner, especially in Summer. I know i’m a guru, because my husband tells me so and guests always comment with yummy noises if i serve a salad at dinner. My hubby never liked salads, and i remember him being tentative to commit to “salad for dinner” the first time i sprung it on him. Well, he’s a changed man, now!
Miranda salads are NOT side salads. They do not accompany protein, protein accompanies them. They take up the whole plate and often spill over if not handled carefully. Although tossed well, my salads always leave delicious bits at the bottom, to be savored at the end of the meal. My salads are not, however ever the same. Similar but contingent on what’s in season or on sale: avocados in Winter, snap peas in Spring, Tomatoes in late Summer. I think my salads are the reason i haven’t been to the doctor in over 6 years…. salads and homemade chicken stock.
This post is not actually about my salads, however. I just wanted to give you an idea about what sort of meal we’re talking about here. The dressings i make for my salads often make them really pop, but i’m always careful not to cloud the fresh flavors of produce with too much dressing and i CERTAINLY NEVER use store bought dressing (aka corn syrup/msg/sodium/sugar/preservative syrup). I usually top my salads with fresh and dried herbs, a drizzled of olive oil and some good vinegar. Sometimes i make honey mustard dressing (so easy and delicious,) and other times a vinaigrette. That plum jam i made recently makes a killer vinaigrette base, in fact. This recipe is about ranch dressing. Ranch: the pizza and veggie dip used for convincing children across America to eat their veggies by slathering them in fat, sugar and preservatives. How does that make sense? My husband loves ranch, so i thought i’d give it a shot. Miranda style.
Miranda’s Ranch Dressing:
- 1/2 pint yogurt, preferably homemade
- 1 heaping spoonful real mayo (this is store bought, as i no longer have chickens for making it from scratch)
- 2 heaping spoons of parmeson cheese (okay, this ingredient is really naughty: Kraft parmeson, which i grew up calling “shaker cheese” – feel free to use real parmeson instead, or even crumbled feta or blue cheese a la Toby’s dressing! I actually plan on trying that soon)
- 1 green onion or small bunch of chives, finely minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 t garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
Making dressing from scratch is hard, right? It takes ages and uses specialty kitchen gadgets like whisks, doesn’t it? Nope: measure all ingredients into a pint jar, put a lid on it and shake. That’s it. Seriously.
The great thing about this recipe is that there is zero sugar (unless it’s hiding in the mayo), few preservatives and is chock full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes from the yogurt. Up the mayo if you want it creamier or reduce if you want it lower fat. This won’t be as thick and dip-able as your ‘normal’ ranch, but that’s okay. In fact, it tosses even better. Give it a shot! Oh, and those croutons are homemade too: a piece of bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and garlic powder, chopped into cubes and toasted to med/dark in a toaster oven (or broiled in the oven).
Do you make your own dressing, or is your fridge door full of bottles and jars of the store-bought stuff? If you do buy bottled, would you be willing to take the extra few steps to make your own?