Monday, March 26, 2012

Healthier Ranch Dressing

In an attempt to find healthier, fresher food options, one thing I don't eat much anymore is ranch dressing. Now, I love me some ranch...on salad, french fries, even pizza.  No matter how you pour it, dip it, dunk it...I love it.  But that delicious, store-bought ranch boasts 70 calories/Tbs and has a not-so-delicious list of ingredients.  And the "light" ranch seems to be rather light on taste, in my opinion.

Looking for a better choice, I stumbled upon a variation of this recipe claiming to be high-protein ranch.  With a few tweaks, here's what I came up with...a thick, creamy ranch with only 28 calories/Tbs and a healthy dollop of protein-power to boot!

Here's how to home-make it:

- 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 4 tsp ranch powder
- 1/2 cup (divided) non-fat buttermilk (can sub skim milk or even water for less calories)

Dump the cottage cheese, ranch powder, and half of the buttermilk into your blender, and puree it up.  If your blend has one of those handy removable spouts in the lid, stream in however much more buttermilk you need to get it to the consistency you want.  (I wanted mine runny enough to be used as a salad dressing but thick enough to still be creamy so I used the full 1/2 cup of buttermilk.)  Puree it all until it's nice and smooth.

Add it to an air-tight storage container and pop it in the fridge.  It will keeps as long as the use-by dates on your cottage cheese and buttermilk containers.

It really tastes yummy and has that thick, creamy, cheesy quality that ranch dressing should.  If I had it on a salad and didn't know it was homemade, I really don't think I could tell the difference except that it tastes fresher.  And it's about 60% fewer calories than the store bought stuff that would cost about 60% more.  Sold!

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