Monday, June 20, 2011

Cobb salad with Home made Ranch Dressing

In the continuing spirit of not turning on the stove  if at all possible, we have been eating lots of salads at this house.  Cool, refreshing, it's an uncomplicated dinner that everyone can customize just how they like which means - no complaining.  The only problem is, salad can be kind of wimpy.  A handful of microgreens, gently drizzled with  fat-free vinaigrette would not get real far in this house, especially when salad is the main course. I pile on  lots of protein rich goodies for a dinner that sticks to the ribs, but also packs  plenty of veggie servings.

Which brings me to, the salad dressing.  Dressing of choice at this house is good old American ranch.  Oh we do plenty of oil and vinegar combinations, but the ubiquitous  green and white bottle is something that gets pulled out quite often.  I decided the other day, that there had to be an other alternative.  Something fresher, tastier.   Ranch dressing was originally developed in the fifties at an actual dude ranch.  Tourists came to ride horses, but came home raving about the salads they were served with this unique home made dressing.  The ranch owners started selling the dressing, and eventually sold their brand to a major food manufacture. The big food guys, put their crack team of scientists on the job and they figured out how make a dressing that can sit on your shelf for half a year.  Hmmm, I'm guessing the original recipe never included calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate.

What I came up with was a combination of fresh herbs and garlic, blended together with buttermilk and a little mayonnaise.  Light and flavorful, it is the perfect topping to a salad, or a dip for fresh veggies. I have a feeling we'll be making this all summer long. 

Ranch dressing:
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of mayonaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 garlic clove
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1-2 dashes of worchestershire sauce
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp minced fresh dill
1 tsp minced fresh basil

Combine buttermilk, mayo and sour cream.  You can use the low fat version, if you like.  Finely chop garlic.  You will look at that measly little 1/2 clove and think you need to add more, but don't!  The garlic gets stronger as it sits.  Sprinkle the salt over the garlic.  Use your knife or a fork to chop the salt into the garlic, until you kind of get a paste going.

  Dump garlic into the buttermilk mixture.  Mince up herbs very finely and wisk those in. Or do what I did and dump everything into a jar, and shake well.  Add Worcestershire and onion powder.  Taste for seasoning.  Does it need a little salt?  Maybe an extra dash of Worcestershire? Chill for a couple of hours and serve.

This is a basic dressing that you can vary so many ways. Don't have fresh herbs on hand?  Try it with dried.  Don't like dill? Leave it out.  Have a lemon half you don't know what to do with?  Squeeze it in there.

Cobb salad ingredients that we like:
  • Start with a  bed of mixed romaine and iceberg lettuce.  This salad needs a good, sturdy crunchy lettuce as a base
  • Tomatoes
  • Avacados
  • Bacon
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Cucumbers
  • Grilled chicken 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
Now go forth!  And get your salad on.


  1. Mmmm, sounds delicious! Now I need to make this very salad for dinner this week.

  2. That looks real yummy, I'll have to give that one a try. I have a soy milk salad dressing, that I use a lot.

  3. Can't wait to try this one!