When K and I were still living in Athens, we were invited to a barbecue.
I’d not met these friends before, but they’d heard that K had swept an American girl off her feet, and that this American girl had since become his permanent plus one.
We arrived, introductions were made, and my new friends began showing us around the enormous amount of food they’d prepared. Greeks are known for being hospitable, so I wasn’t surprised when they presented me with my very own bottle of ranch dressing.
“We bought this for you because we know that in America you love ranch!”
Surprised, no. Embarrassed, yes.
Of course that characterization was pretty spot on, and my teenage calorie intake was approximately 1/3 ranch dressing—but it was embarrassing because ranch had come to be known as the oxymoron of salad dressings, destroying the health benefits of anything it was globbed over.
But a strange, beautiful thing has happened. Fat has slowly begun to clear its name. And classic, nostalgia-inducing ranch dressing made with high quality ingredients is experiencing a revival of sorts (according to Bon Appetit).
It certainly has at my house.
But I’m talkin’ homemade ranch; the oddly non-perishable bottled stuff is not invited to this ranch comeback party.
We actually absorb more of the vitamins in vegetables when we eat them with a little fat–but the kind of fat that our bodies really want is the stuff found in nature (i.e. not highly processed oils like soybean oil, or canola oil). The real egg yolks, pressed oils, and dairy fat in a good homemade version is what we’re after.
So here’s how this probiotic ranch goes down:
- Start with some really good sour cream or crème fraîche (to amp up the flavor and probiotic health benefits, make your own–it’s easy!)
- Add in some homemade mayonnaise (It takes less than 1 minute and you will never look back!!!)
- Thin it out with some kefir (I used store bought, but you can make that too if you’re feeling extra ambitious)
Kefir is fermented milk, sort of like drinkable yogurt, and it’s one of the highest probiotic foods you can eat according to Dr. Axe. Here’s a few reasons why you should throw it into your grocery basket on your next shopping trip, it:
- Fights cancer
- Supports detoxification
- Boosts immunity
- Builds bone density
- Helps allergies and asthma
- Improves digestive issues
I love it in homemade probiotic ranch, of course, but I also add it to smoothies or anywhere you might use buttermilk, like pancakes.
So once you have your base it’s time to season—there are the usual suspects of chives, dill, onion, and parsley, but the secret ingredient here is organic white miso paste.
Lots of store bought ranch dressing contains MSG, which is one reason you feel like you can’t stop eating it. Adding the miso paste really gives the ranch that umami punch without the negative health effects of MSG.
(I usually avoid soy products, but fermenting soy increases its nutrition and nutrient availability, and adds gut-friendly bacteria—just be sure to look for organic as soy is heavily sprayed with pesticides).
There it is. Reincarnated ranch that looks, tastes, and feels like the classic and comes packed with a probiotic punch.
Make it. Get nostalgic. Do all the guilt-free finger licking you’d like.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- 1/2 cup sour cream or crème fraîche (preferably homemade)
- 1/4-1/2 cup kefir
- 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp white miso
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- squeeze of lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add vinegar and miso paste in a bowl or glass jar and mix to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients, thinning ranch to your desired consistency with kefir.
- Store in refrigerator and use within 1 week.
I really recommend using your own sour cream/crème fraîche here. If you do use store bought, look for organic options without additives or preservatives. I don't typically recommend store bought mayonnaise, but Primal Kitchen does make a healthy version with avocado oil if you can find it!
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.