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Back in the day, my big man played basketball at a college on the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho. He came back putting ranch on everything from fries to chicken and mashed potatoes. When it comes to his taste buds, if a food is savory and dunkable, it requires ranch.
I grew up with a ketchup and mustard dad, so my hubby’s love of ranch kind of caught me by surprise. But he does have a point, it is pretty darn good on a lot of things!
Due to my autoimmune dietary restrictions, I’ve had to put a lot of effort into cleaning up our food.
With the encouragement of my doctors, my focus is on eating real, nutritious food from natural sources. I make a lot of our food from scratch, and what packaged food I do eat has to be from real food ingredients. I’m learning to read food labels and ingredient lists. And oh my glory, I had no clue how difficult any of this would be!
Up until recently, I wasn’t even aware that conventionally bought ranch packets are full of fillers, gums, seed oils, MSG, artificial flavors, tertiary butylhydroquinone (think paint and varnish), high fructose corn syrup, EDTA (also found in laundry soap and cleaners), sodium benzoate (used to make fireworks and linked to depression, ADHD, and DNA damage), and even dyes like titanium dioxide, an ingredient used to make sunscreen and face lotion.
Needless to say, after all I’ve been through, I don’t want any of that in my body.
While the state of our food system is overwhelming and frustrating, in some ways eating healthier can be pretty easy. Making ranch at home is incredibly simple, inexpensive, and can be as clean and healthy as you choose!
Using herbs you might already have in your pantry, you can make ranch seasoning in 5 minutes or less.
You could have your seasoning mixed up and ready to go in the time it takes just to find your keys to go to the store for a HV packet! Easy, inexpensive, and you can customize it to your own dietary needs and personal taste. I like a dilly ranch, so I go a little heavy on the dill weed. If that’s not your thing, try using 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 3. Want to add some heat? Sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. You dig?
I love basic recipes like this because you can just play until it makes your taste buds happy!
Mix 3 Tablespoons ranch seasoning into:
1/2-1 cup mayo (start with 1/2 cup & add more depending on how thick you like it)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
dash of vinegar
dash of Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce (totally optional, but yummy!
Just a note- the buttermilk isn’t required. For example, I can’t use it when I’m making an AIP friendly ranch. In place of the buttermilk, you can absolutely use the milk of your choice, but buttermilk really does give the best, old-timey flavor. So, if you don’t have dairy restrictions, I’d totally suggest using it.
Don’t have any buttermilk? It’s super simple to make a substitute at home!
Pour 1/2 Tablespoon (or 1 1/2 teaspoons) of vinegar or lemon juice into a measure cup then add enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Stir, then let sit for about 5 minutes. That’s it!
Add it to the recipe and you are good to go!
Mix 1 Tablespoon seasoning into 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt. Add more (or less) seasoning to taste. You can make this dairy free and even vegan, depending on what type of sour cream or yogurt you choose.
While cleaning up MY ranch has been simple, cleaning up the family ranch has not been easy so I won’t lie and say that I’ve won the war. My ranch loving big dude still hasn’t converted from his Hidden Valley powder. Maybe someday. Crossing my fingers.
In the meantime, I have found that making my own homemade ranch seasoning can be tasty and extremely versatile. Plus, by mixing up ranch powder at home, I’m able to tweak it to fit in my own dietary restrictions, which is a major bonus! I use this seasoning mix all the time on my roasted veggies and to flavor meat. It’s also yummy stirred into hummus!
See, I’m telling you, super versatile!
If you’re on your own journey towards health whether it be AIP, diabetes, cancer, or something else, I’d love to hear what little tweaks you’ve been making that have helped keep eating fun. Please share with me in the comments below or message me on Instagram!
Happy & Healthy Eating!