Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday’s Tips and Tricks Party

Everybody like ranch dressing, right?  I’ve always been a Hidden Valley snob, and it had to be made from the mix packet.  I don’t care for their bottled dressing nearly as much (or any other brand’s bottled ranch at all).  All of that was before I realized that Hidden Valley products contain MSG.  I know this from reading the labels, but (oddly) when I went to their website, I could not find any ingredient list.  However, you can view the nutritional labels at Amazon;  the buttermilk ranch packet’s first ingredient is salt, the second is MSG.  It’s a little farther down on the original ranch and the bottled dressing, but it’s still there.

I’m not going to get into the possible evils of MSG, other than to say that it is a neurotoxin, and I avoid it if at all possible.  And so the hunt began for an acceptable Hidden Valley ranch substitute.  I tried several recipes before I finally found one that fit the bill.  Some were downright bad, some were just okay, but this one, IMO, is pretty darn close to Hidden Valley. 

Ranch Dressing II (from allrecipes)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use olive oil mayo)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use low fat)
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Whisk all together in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.


Made as written, it is the consistency of a dip, and the kids love it with carrots and celery sticks.  Sometimes when I have the dip in the fridge but want dressing, I whisk in some milk to thin it out.  If you want dressing to begin with, use buttermilk in place of the sour cream (use this tip to make “buttermilk”).

It tastes just as good as Hidden Valley, and I know what’s in it…no questionable ingredients.  If I really wanted to be a stickler I’d make my own mayo, as I’m sure that the commercially prepared stuff is hardly health food.  I’ve yet to try that though; perhaps for another Tips post.

Your turn.  Please share your tips with us!

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I will delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme


Linky open until Monday Jan. 31 at 11:59 pm central.


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

That looks pretty good, and I like that you used all "real" ingredients. :) A friend made the dip version of the HV stuff on Friday night and it was so much better than the regular dressing!

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

That looks delicious--thanks for finding a way to use real food (and save money!).

Paula said...

Your version sounds much better. I'm glad that you told us that HVR has MSG in it. I'm really sensitive to it and now I know a brand to avoid.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Thank you for sharing. I have a really hard time finding Ranch I like. I usually only like restaurant ranch. Isn't that crazy. I gotta try this one.

Heather said...

Thank you SO much for this recipe. I found out I have food allergies a couple of years ago and I think with one substitution (Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream) I will be able to have ranch again for the first time in YEARS!! Thanks again!

Angela said...

Loved this recipe!