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Let's face it, besides cheese, ranch dressing is one of those foods that can be difficult to say goodbye to when going vegan or dairy-free. I have always had a love affair with ranch dressing and balked at the idea of giving up my favorite salad dressing and condiment. What would I dip my pizza in without ranch? If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I enjoy turning my favorite comfort foods into vegan-friendly versions without all the soy substitutes. This ranch dressing is so delicious that even your non-vegan friends will be amazed!
The secret to creamy vegan ranch dressing
If you are new to the plant-based lifestyle, you might be wondering how you can make a creamy ranch dressing without milk-based ingredients. I have tried all of the non-dairy milks and they each have their own place in plant-based cooking, but when you are wanting rich and creamy substitute cashews are where it's at. Cashews are very fatty and creamy and make the perfect plant-based substitute in recipes calling for heavy cream or half and half. Looking for the creamiest, dreamiest plant-based ice cream? Look no further than cashew milk!
Fresh herbs vs. dried
There is no substitute for fresh herbs in cooking. The flavor-packed punch that fresh herbs give to any dish is always preferred over dried herbs, but that doesn't mean that you can't get that in your salad dressings! While I always support the use of fresh herbs to get the best flavors, sometimes that's not possible and dried herbs can be used instead. When using dried herbs, the best way to get the flavor from them is to make the dressing the day before and allow it to sit in the fridge overnight so that it can rehydrate the herbs and soak in the flavor. If making this ranch dressing with dried herbs, allow it to sit in the fridge for at least two hours before using.
Easy Homemade Vegan Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
- 2/3 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 tsp. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I love to use my Fire Cider)
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. dried dill weed (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
- 2 tsp. dried parsley leaves (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
- 1/2 tsp. dried chive rings (or 1 tsp. fresh)
- 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
- Soak the cashews in boiling hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- While cashews are soaking, combine almond milk and lemon juice and set aside to "curdle", creating vegan buttermilk.
- Drain and rinse the cashews and add them to your blender.
- To the blender, add the almond buttermilk, garlic, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Blend on high until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the dill, parsley, and chives to the blender and pulse a few times until thoroughly blended in. If you blend the fresh herbs too much it will turn your ranch dressing green!
- Enjoy as a dip or dress your salads with it! Store in the fridge for up to one week.