Soybean and canola oil, phosphoric acid, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid and calcium disodium edta. Is this what makes an authentic ranch dressing? Nope, not likely, if you ask from me. However, if you ask from the food industry, the answer is unfortunately yes. The ingredients above belong to one of the most popular ranch dressings.
I simply don’t see any reason in this world why anybody should torture herself with that kind of mock food which contains food additives and other suspicious stuff. That’s true especially when it’s so ridiculously simple to make perfectly healthy ranch seasoning mix and dressing very quickly and easily.
There are recipes for home-made ranch seasoning mixes, but most of those use powdered buttermilk. I try to avoid powdered milk and buttermilk, because they tend to contain oxidized cholesterol. I’m not afraid of cholesterol as such, but oxidized cholesterol is completely other thing. As you might know, the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood consists of bigger and smaller particles. The bigger particles are in fact good ones, but the small particles are harmful, if they get oxidized. The consequences are all kinds of symptoms and diseases, for example type 2 diabetes. That’s why I prefer my milk and buttermilk fresh, not powdered.
Tips for making the seasoning
If you are unsure how you like this seasoning, you can start with just halving the ingredients and checking out how you like the result.
It’s a good idea to mix the ready seasoning mix before using it. The heavier garlic and onion powders tend to sink to the bottom of the jar, whereas the lighter chives and dill tend to lie on top.
A nice presentation and gift idea is to layer the spices in a spice jar. I wanted to try that out, but unfortunately didn’t have any chance to get a nice jar when I was writing this post in my summer cottage in the middle of nowhere. Like mentioned above, you have to place the heavier ingredients (like the onion, pepper and garlic) more to the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Especially the chives tend to climb on top of the seasoning mix.
But let’s take a quick look how to make the seasoning. It’s very simple, but I wanted take some progress photos because I just love photographing.
Get all the spices you need.
Combine them in a jar and close the lid tightly.
Shake the jar until the spices are well mixed.
That’s it! Now you are ready to make delicious dressings, dips, sauces or whatever you fancy at the moment.
My experiments with the seasoning mix
I actually don’t remember when I started developing my own ranch seasoning mix. I think it was one of those times when I wanted to have ranch-flavored dip, but was very disappointed with the commercial seasoning mixes because they contain so many unnecessary and harmful ingredients. Well, necessary for the food industry but not necessary for the consumer.
Thoughts raced through my head. I was surfing and trying to get ideas which spices would create the best tasting and the most authentic ranch seasoning mix that I could use in dressings, dips or perhaps as rub.
I tried different spices and ratios. Onion powder, garlic powder and dill were the spices I was using all the time. I also tried paprika, but that wasn’t the right flavor at all for ranch seasoning, at least in my opinion. And I used far too much paprika at first.
Black pepper seemed to be one of the right spices for the ranch seasoning mix. However, I used far too much of that in the beginning. Even a pinch too much, and it was dominating.
Parsley was also a great spice for ranch seasoning, but later I switched to chives. I was tasting and tasting, comparing the flavors and decided to use chives in the end. The flavor suited somehow better to my needs and I simply liked it more in the seasoning mix.
Defining the amount of garlic powder wasn’t really a breeze. It needed some serious fine-tuning. The garlic powder was easily dominating, but on the other hand you had to use enough to get some flavor.
I didn’t want to add salt to the seasoning mix because in the end it most probably wouldn’t have been enough — you anyway have to add salt to the dressing, dip or whatever you make with the seasoning. I even seasoned burgers with the ranch seasoning mix and it worked well together with some freshly crushed garlic.
In the end, I even bought a bottle of original ranch dressing just to try out how does the authentic American and the most popular ranch dressing taste. I was surprised when I found a bottle of that dressing from the shelf of the nearest grocery store — here in Finland.
I have eaten plenty of commercial ranch-flavored stuff like potato chips and dips earlier in my life — when I still ate junk — however those have been local, Finnish brands. It was an exciting moment to taste something authentic American, something so popular.
Enthusiastically I opened a bottle of that ranch dressing and just tasted. I grimaced with disgust! The stuff was tasting and feeling so artificial that I was completely aghast. It was tasting like glue (yes, I have tasted glue when I was kid…) and the mouthfeel was completely weird. Is this really the stuff that is so popular and that people adore? That people consume millions of bottles yearly? Unbelievable! Disappointment crept up on me. Does the greedy food industry really think people favor this trash? Instead of authentic, real flavors we are fed this artificial junk.
I want to challenge you all: please try to make your own ranch seasoning mix and dressing, either with this recipe or some other one without any food additives or powdered buttermilk, and check which one you really like more, the authentic, real flavors, or the fake artificial stuff. My family answers with one voice: the home-made is better.
Here is the recipe for the dressing I made with the home-made ranch seasoning mix. We all liked it very much (MUCH more than the commercial version), so I hope you like it too.
Nutrition information completely depends on that of the used sour cream as the other ingredients contain practically no calories.
The dressing is easy to make, but again I took some progress photos just because it was so fun:
Place the sour cream in a small cup. Add the home-made ranch seasoning.
Add the salt…
…and the vinegar.
Mix well. Fine-tune the taste if you think the dressing lacks something.
I made this dressing also by adding some mayonnaise and a couple of drops stevia to sour cream, but I prefer the pure and clear flavor of sour cream, so that’s why I have used only sour cream here. However, please feel free to experiment with mayo and stevia, if they please more your taste buds. Just be sure to choose good-quality sour cream with no food additives, and light olive oil based mayonnaise without sugar or artificial sweeteners. In case you are subscribed to my blog, you should have received the recipe booklet with 10 salad dressings. The ‘Easy Blender Mayonnaise’ is a good option for mayonnaise.