The Paleo Ranch Taste Test
There are several tell-tale signs that you are from the Midwest. Number one is the use of the word “ope”. Number two is the “dress in layers” approach (winter layers in the morning and evenings, summer in the afternoon). And last but not least, the bottle of ranch dressing in your fridge that gets brought out for every meal.
But have you ever looked at the back of a bottle of ranch? Half of the ingredients sound gross while the other half you can’t pronounce. For this reason, ranch is clearly off the clean eating menu.
Fortunately, there are many bloggers out there who have already cracked the code on how to make a the perfect clean eating mock ranch dressing. In fact, I’ve had several of them pinned on Pinterest for many years but haven’t had the opportunity to give them a try…until now!
This week I’ve had the pleasure to sample three of the top most pinned ranch dressings on Pinterest. All three are dairy free, paleo, keto friendly, and super easy to make. Read on to see which dressing brought home the title of MMB taste test winner! The results were shocking…
Meet The Contestants
Contestant number one is from a blog called 40 Aprons. The 40 Aprons website pretty much has it all. It is neatly organized, well designed, and boasts delicious looking recipes that can fit into any number of diets. The ranch recipe is a “dump and go” approach that takes very little effort.
The second recipe is from a blog called One Lovely Life. The One Lovely life website is colorful with a fun vibe. There are numerous links to kid friendly recipes as well as back to school ideas. So fun! This ranch had the least ingredients and included a list of ingredient substitutions designed to make customizing to taste and diet a breeze!
The third and final contestant came from a blog called Healthy Little Peach. The Healthy Little Peach website had a more modern and classy vibe. This site had everything from a podcast, to cookbooks, to meal plans and more. As a novice food blogger, I was truly inspired at the amount of beauty and professionalism on this site.
Now that you know a little about where each contestant came from, let’s see how they did stacked up to each other side by side. Honestly, the results amazed me!
This recipe is great for anyone looking to make their dressing completely from scratch. Essentially, step one is combining all the ingredients and blending to make your own mayonnaise base as opposed to using a mayo purchased from the store. Then, you add in all your herbs and milk to flavor and thin the mixture. The result was a nice subtle ranch flavor with a hint of garlic and herbs.
One Lovely Life
This recipe was the easiest and most closely resembled the generic ranch I buy at the store. I liked the use of apple cider vinegar and opposed to white vinegar because it brought out a better flavor in my opinion. This mixture was slightly thinner, but can be easily adjusted by simply reducing or increasing the amount of milk used. All in all, a quick, easy, generic ranch alternative.
Healthy Little Peach
The third ranch was right in between number one and two for amount of ingredients and difficulty. This recipe used both apple cider and white wine vinegars and added in dried chives. Since I had fresh chives on hand, I chose to substitute those instead. The result was a thicker, more flavor packed mix then the first two contestants. In my opinion, this ranch recipe was more like the top name brand ranches you’d find on store shelves.
In order to get the most unbiased opinion possible, I brought in two additional taste testers to help my choose. Both my husband and daughter are ranch dressing connoisseurs and were happy to oblige my request.
First up, was my daughter. I watched closely as she sampled each recipe, cast her vote, and then left the kitchen. Next up, the hubby. He too sampled each batch, but took longer to ponder his opinion. He finally reached a decision, case his vote, and left for work. Last up…me. I took my time evaluating the consistency, color, taste, and ingredient list complexity. Once I had my answer, it was time to compare results.
To my amazement, all three of us had picked a different ranch! Three different ranches for three different taste testers. Turns out, we were all looking for different things when it came to our ranch dressing. My husband liked the One Lovely Life ranch for it’s texture and mayo-light flavor. My daughter appreciated the garlicy vibe from the 40 Aprons ranch. And I loved the thick, herb flavor packed punch from the Healthy Little Peach. Who knew!
While my family LOVES a good taste test challenge, the results of this particular test were surprising to say the least. In the past, we all tend to gravitate towards one clear contest winner, but the mixed results of this taste test only prove one thing. Ranch preferences are about as diverse as the people that make up the Midwest.
So, whether you prefer your ranch thinner or thicker, subtle or bold, garlicy or dilly, or just plain silly…there’s an easy recipe out there waiting for you. Homemade dairy free ranch is so easy to make and WAY better than any paleo alternatives you’ll find in your health food department. To get started, give one of these three easy recipes a shot (particular the last one). Wink! You won’t be sorry!