Most ranch dressings are equal parts of buttermilk and mayonnaise. My homemade recipe uses mostly buttermilk and a small amount of regular mayonnaise. The result is a ranch dressing that tastes as good as its high-fat counterpart. This recipe will become the base for many of the dressings I feature on Skinny Kitchen. Amazingly, the dressings themselves are not ranch dressings. The common factor is simply that they all use Nancy’s Skinny Ranch dressing as a base and as a replacement for oil or mayonnaise. This reduces the grams of fat from the usual 6-7 grams per tablespoon in full fat dressings to an incredibly low 1-2 grams of fat per tablespoon. The skinny for 2 tablespoons of Nancy’s Skinny Ranch, 48 calories, 3.7 grams of fat and 2 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS. That’s a huge saving in fat particularly since most of us use more than a tablespoon of dressing on our salads. So versatile, use it on most salads, as a dip for veggies or a topping on baked potatoes. ***Be sure to check out the Quick Tip below…It uses 1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch instead of all the seasonings below. I hope you enjoy this dressing a much as my family does!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour (to thicken)
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons Best Foods (Hellman’s) Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
*1¼ teaspoon dried parsley, see quick tip for all seasonings
*½ + ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
*½ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
*½ + ⅛ teaspoon Accent
*¼ + ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
*¼ + ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
*¼ + ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
*¾ teaspoon xanthan gum (thickening agent)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Pour into an airtight container or jar.
2. Refrigerate for at least one hour to thicken, before using.
3. Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing will keep in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks.
Makes 2 ⅓ cups (each serving, 2 tablespoons)
The original ranch dressing was created in the 1950’s by Steve and Gayle Henson at their dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California. It was called the Hidden Valley Guest Ranch. Today ranch dressing dominates the dressing isle of the supermarket.
Buttermilk, in the old days, was the liquid left over after butter was churned. Today it’s nonfat or reduced-fat milk that has been treated with special bacteria which causes the milk to thicken and gain a tangy flavor.
This dressing contains a lot of buttermilk, which, despite its name, contains very little fat. It is loaded with bone-building calcium and has a great deal of vitamin-B, which facilitates nerve function and promotes healthy skin and good vision.
Accent is a flavoring which is monosodium glutamate (MSG). It’s used as a” flavor enhancer,” because adding to many foods (like ranch dressing) makes them taste better. It got a bad rap in the 1960’s as having negative side effects, but these fears are generally admitted to have been over-blown. Although a few may be allergic to it, the FDA recognizes MSG as “generally safe” when “eaten at customary levels.” And, most of us are not allergic to it because we unknowingly consume it all the time in the many of the foods we eat without any physical reactions. Almost all ranch dressing sold in supermarkets or served at restaurants contain MSG. If you decide to omit the MSG from my ranch dressing, it will taste like something is missing. But, if you leave it out and use this ranch recipe for the base of all my other dressings, it will not affect the taste of the dressing at all. The beauty of this scratch recipe is you can leave it out, if you desire!
Xanthan gum is an excellent all-purpose thickener for dressings, gravies, and sauces. Most other thickeners need to be heated to work. You can buy xanthan gum in most health food stores such as Whole Foods, New Frontiers and many regular grocery stores like Ralphs and Vons in the baking aisle or health food aisle. Bob’s Red Mill’s website sells it at http://www.bobsredmill.com or Amazon.com. **If you can’t find it, add 1 extra tablespoon of mayonnaise to thicken the dressing.
Best Foods Mayonnaise (Hellman’s) is the only brand I recommend. I’ve tried several different brands and Best Foods Mayonnaise is the best tasting for this recipe! I do not recommend any reduced-fat version for this dressing either. My recipe calls for such a small amount and the full-fat mayo really makes it taste like a high-fat recipe.
Accent can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets.
To save time and effort, you can substitute 1 package (1 oz) of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix for all the dry seasonings. You’ll still might want to add ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum to thicken it. Or, add 1 extra tablespoon of mayonnaise to thicken it. Still chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour!
Weight Watchers (old points) 1
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 2
|SKINNY FACTS: Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing for 2 tablespoons
48 cal, 3.7 g fat, 3g carbs, 9g protein, 0g fiber, 154mg sodium, 1g sugar
|FAT FACTS: Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing for 2 tablespoons
140 cal, 14g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein, 0g fiber, 260 mg sodium, 1 g sugar