Although it might not be Homemade Ranch Dressing, America’s favorite salad dressing is definitely Ranch. Tangy, but at the same time mild-flavored, the creamy salad dressing climbed to number one in the United States in 1992, when it beat out Italian. And since then, Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix has been America’s idea of an essential ingredient in “Homemade” Ranch Dressing.
But trust me, you definitely do not need the help of Hidden Ranch to make a great Ranch Dressing…
If it makes sense to do so, I honestly don’t have a thing against cutting corners to save time. But using Hidden Valley dressing packets to make “Homemade” Ranch Dressing doesn’t make sense when you read the list of ingredients below:
First of all, if you are after a Homemade Ranch Dressing with superior flavor, there is just no way you can end up with optimal results using processed ingredients like the ones listed above. But I am most concerned about the fourth ingredient: Monosodium Glutamate (also known as MSG).
Even before I radically overhauled my diet back in 1998 at the age of 22, Monosodium Glutamate was one ingredient my mom had banned from the house years ago. Back in the early 80’s my dad (who turns 90 years old this year!) would get the most incredibly disabling headaches that seemed to come out of the blue. He would get about 4 or 5 headaches a month and the only way he could get rid of them was by drinking a massive amount of water and forcing himself to sweat (usually by intense exercise or sometimes by sitting outside in the sweltering Florida heat.) He would then have to go to bed and sleep off his headache for hours. Dad’s headache episodes went on for years and there wasn’t a doctor in town who had any idea of what to do to stop them.
Then one day my mom happened to read an article in Reader’s Digest that said Monosodium Glutamate caused headaches in some people. The article never said it was an unhealthy ingredient, only that some people were highly sensitive to it. She immediately stopped buying any food with MSG, and salad dressing packets were one of the first to go!
I didn’t know a thing about eating clean or reading food labels back then, I just knew MSG was not good. And as long as dad didn’t eat it he didn’t get those awful headaches.
Well, it turns out MSG is not only not good—it’s downright TERRIBLE. MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage (or even death) and can actually damage parts of the brain. It crosses the blood brain barrier and is really, really bad stuff…for all of us! And, if you are like me and have any sort of neurological issue (mine is MS) this really is a dangerous ingredient. Unfortunately, MSG is still used a lot in processed foods, including most “homemade” salad dressing packets.
But luckily, you can make a better tasting and highly nutritious Homemade Ranch Dressing all from scratch in less than 10-minutes. It tastes just like Ranch, only way better (wink.) Although it is dairy-free, my version below owes it’s rich and creamy texture to cashews and hemp seeds. If you just make it once, I promise you’ll never go back to buying those dressing packets ever again…
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- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon organic Worchesteshire sauce (here’s a gluten-free option)
- Pink Himalayan sea salt (to taste)
- Coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
P.S. Looking for More Clean Salad Dressing Recipes?
A delicious salad dressing is often all it takes to really enjoy eating your greens. And if you enjoy what you eat, you will undoubtedly eat more of it! If you liked the Homemade Ranch Dressing above and you are looking for more healthful, clean and delicious salad dressing recipes, be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine Superfood Cookbook (only $2.99 as a digital download). The book includes 40 superfood salad dressings, smoothies, sauces, dips, desserts and more!