When earlier this year, my family decided to start trying to eat real food with an eye towards eliminating GMOs, pesticides and artificial flavorings, we were surprised at the number of items in our fridge that were ruled out from future consumption. Conventional ketchups, salad dressings and mayonnaise were just a few of the items we quickly found that contained Canola Oil, high fructose corn syrup and other newly forbidden ingredients.
Mayonnaise, ketchup and most of our salad dressings were pretty easy to swap out with homemade versions, but we found that we really missed our ranch dressing, especially our two kids. But goodness, look at the ingredients on a typical bottle of ranch dressing, and it quickly becomes apparent that no one should be eating this stuff. The first ingredient usually listed is likely to be a chemically produced, genetically modified oil that is about as far from a real food as the bottle it comes in. And right after that comes some low-fat milk related product that even further ruins the nutritional profile of this dressing.
So clearly, conventionally produced ranch dressing had to go. But what to use in its place?
It turns out that making a pretty zesty and enjoyable ranch coconut oil dressing is not nearly as difficult as I had originally feared. Almost every recipe that I could find online for ranch dressing used mayonnaise as a base, and branched out from there, adding some variety of additional ingredients. Well, that’s doable, I had already found a coconut oil mayonnaise recipe that was quick and easy, and quite tasty, maybe I could use that as base to my coconut oil ranch dressing instead of using canola oil as my base!
After settling on my mayonnaise, in which all of the ingredients work with my real food theory, it was time to check out the other ingredients in a few other dressing recipes. I liked the idea of buttermilk in my dressing, especially if I get to use the buttermilk from pasture raised cows that have never been feed antibiotics or GMO feed. Also, many of the recipes that I saw used yogurt, which works for me as well.
But I had to be sure that I was using full-fat yogurt, none of that low-fat stuff for me. After those two major ingredients, it was mostly spices and herbs that were combined to make this version of olive and coconut oil ranch dressing, which again, works quite well with my goal on eating mostly real and whole foods and not the overly processed items we used to rely on at mealtimes.
One important thing to keep in mind with this dressing… Coconut oil solidifies at temperatures in the low 70’s, and certainly anything cooler than that. So if you plan on keeping this olive and coconut oil ranch dressing in your fridge, make sure to pull it out maybe 30 minutes before you want to use it, or it may be a bit tough to pour out, it may be a little chunkier than you were expecting!
A nice work around for avoiding solid ranch dressing when coming straight out of the fridge is to swap out your coconut oil for a good MCT oil. Many people think they are getting lots of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) when they eat coconut oil, but it really depends upon your definition of “medium”.
Coconut oil contains four different types of MCTs, of four different lengths, with some debate on whether the best known, Lauric Acid, actually behaves more like a medium chain triglyceride or a long chain. In either case, if you are ok with dropping the lauric acid content of coconut oil from your ranch dressing, then simply use MCT oil, which stays liquid in this dressing recipe, instead of coconut oil.
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 bunch of basil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup yogurt w/ live cultures
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup mct oil
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor
- Turn on food processor until thoroughly combined
- Pour into local farmer's cool glass milk bottle and refrigerate
Once again, I find myself trying to put together a nutrition panel with probably limited success. My guess is that I ended up with almost four cups of dressing, but a little less. I then decided to split the overall dressing recipe into 16 servings, to be on the larger side of serving sizes, which would come out to 1/4 cup or so. That equals four tablespoons, so in my mind, when using the dressing, I shoot for 3 tablespoons for a serving, and then feel like I’m on the light side of the nutrition panel below, and feel pretty good about my self restraint!