Reviving the classic ranch dressing with tahini to create a deliciously creamy vegan combination powered by a good kick of garlic and herby flavours.
What is Ranch Dressing?
Ranch dressing is by far one of the most popular salad dressings in America. Invented in the 1950s, this creamy salad dressing has now overtaken Italian dressing as the best-selling salad dressing in the country.
And its popularity goes beyond salad dressings. Ranch dressing regularly turns up to parties as a dip for French fries, chicken wings, vegetable crudites and anything that likes a good dunk.
Plus, you can find “ranch” flavoured seasoning, corn chips, pizza sauce, sodas and even pop tarts!
What Makes Ranch Dressing, Ranch?
Start with a creamy base of buttermilk or sour cream, then stir in generous amounts of finely chopped herbs such as dill, chives and parsley and add flavour with garlic and onion. Finally, season well with black pepper and salt.
What Does Ranch Dressing Taste Like?
The ingredients together create a creamy combination with a tangy finish.
The classic mixture is not overly heavy because it uses buttermilk or sour cream as a base. I like the allium pull of garlic and onion mixed with bright green herby flavours.
Is Ranch Dressing Vegan?
No, classic ranch dressing is not suitable for vegans as it uses buttermilk or sour cream as a base. To make a vegan version, I substitute buttermilk with tahini.
By using tahini, this vegan ranch dressing retains its creaminess but with an added nutty flavour.
What is Tahini?
Tahini is toasted and ground-up sesame paste. What has always been a staple in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, you will now find tahini being used in many different types of cooking.
It is fantastic to add to salad dressings, dips, stir through stews or even drizzle on falafel.
You can buy tahini made from hulled or unhulled sesame seeds. Unhulled tahini is darker in colour and more robust in flavour.
Red onion: You can use brown onion for this recipe, but I prefer red as it is sweeter.
Chives / Dill: Classic herbs used in ranch dressing includes dill and chives. Dill brings a hint of licorice, whilst chives will add delicate oniony flavour. You can also add parsley and thyme.
Garlic: Traditional ranch dressing recipes call for garlic and onion powders. However, I prefer to use fresh garlic to give an extra punch.
Tahini: There is a difference between good and bad tahini. Good quality tahini is mildly nutty, creamy and savoury.
The luxurious texture is the stuff you want to eat with a spoon. Bad tahini has a chalky mouthfeel, slightly bitter and even acidic. Be sure to buy a good quality brand of tahini.
As you may only use a few tablespoons each time, tahini stores well in the fridge.
Water: As tahini is too thick to add straight into dressings, we usually add a little water to break it down and thin it out.
Olive oil: Good quality olive oil is always needed in the pantry for salads.
Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice brings balance to the mixture. It helps to cut through the richness of the tahini.
Dijon mustard: Tangy and sharp, Dijon mustard adds a little spice to tahini ranch dressing.
Maple syrup: Maple syrup is a great vegan alternative to honey. This helps to add natural sweetness to balance the nutty and creamy flavours.
Salt and black pepper: To taste
Finely chop ¼ red onion.
Wash and finely chop dill and chives.
Crush garlic cloves with a garlic crusher or knife.
In a small mixing bowl, add tahini and water. Mix well together. You want a thick but smooth consistency. If still too gluggy, add a little more water.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, chives, dill, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Mix until well combined.
Taste and then season with salt and black pepper.
Best Salad For This Dressing
An uncomplicated side salad with grilled little gem lettuce and a punchy vegan tahini ranch dressing. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity; the flavours will surprise you.
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Tahini Ranch Dressing
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- Finely chop ¼ red onion.
- Wash and finely chop dill and chives.
- Crush garlic cloves with a garlic press or knife.
- In a small mixing bowl, add tahini and water. Mix well together. You want a thick but smooth consistency. If still too gluggy, add a little more water.
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, red onion, chives, dill, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Mix until well combined.
- Taste and then season with salt and black pepper.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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