Before I became a vegan, I was obsessed with ranch dressing. Obsessed. I’d put it on pizza, salad, veggies, as a dip for crackers or crisps… you name it, I’d eat ranch with it (ok, maybe not sweet things). For my non-American readers, ranch is somewhat similar to garlic and herb dressing. It’s smooth, creamy and incredibly versatile, hence why it is so popular in the US. Also not very good for you (but whatever).
After becoming vegan, I was still obsessed with ranch but could no longer eat my favorite brand as it has dairy in it. So instead I would try making my own by using vegan mayo and mixing in different seasonings. That was ok for a while, but store bought vegan mayo has a LOT of oil in it, and it kind of coats your mouth if you eat too much of it (gross, I know).
So instead I took it upon myself to make my own ranch from scratch. I have had a lot of success making creamy dressings and soups using cashews, so that’s where I started. With a creamy cashew base, I played around with different ingredients until I got just the right flavor, consistency and texture that I remember so fondly. This dressing is slightly unconventional in that I use cucumber as a base ingredient, but I find it lightens the flavor a bit, and makes for a really cooling dip which can be eaten with spicy foods.
What you do with this dressing is entirely up to you. I like to use it on salads, in wraps and on cooked veggies (and pizza, of course), but I have also used it as a raita to go with Indian food (just add some shredded cucumber, cumin and coriander powder to the end).
- 80g cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
- 75g cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
- 50ml unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 15g shallot, roughly chopped
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- A few pinches of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- Add all the ingredients apart from the herbs into a small blender and blitz until you get a very smooth, creamy consistency.
- Stir in the herbs and mix well.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container and consume within a week.