Do you have a food that you associate with your childhood? Maybe peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or mac ‘n cheese? I definitely have several, but the most notable may be a food item that I didn’t personally eat all the time. I definitely ate it, but it’s because of my brother that I associate it with childhood.
He was obsessed with ranch dressing—the ubiquitous creamy white salad dressing in a bottle with a green top. Don’t get me wrong, I love ranch dressing just as much as the next person, but for my brother, ranch dressing was more than a salad dressing. It was a spread, a sauce and a dip. He put it on almost everything that he put into his mouth, except for chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Ranch was so ever-present that I now can’t see it without thinking about my brother, remembering him drizzling it over the top of a slice of pepperoni pizza.
My second daughter definitely takes a page from my brother’s book, although her level of ranch dressing devotion hasn’t quite reached the impressive heights that my brother’s did. Yet. I’ve started making ranch dressing from scratch so that I can feel a bit better about packing it into my daughters’ lunch boxes, accompanied by fresh veggies for dipping.
To throw an added wrinkle into things, my second daughter is lactose intolerant. Traditional ranch dressing is a combo of buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, herbs and spices. Coming up with a non-dairy buttermilk option is easy—just make your own with some lemon juice and your choice of non-dairy milk! (See recipe notes for directions.) Sour cream might seem a bit trickier, but the non-dairy solution is simpler than you might think! California Avocado. Pure and simple.
My older daughter loves anything spicy, so I recently whipped up a spicy version of this avocado ranch dressing by adding some smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. She sometimes likes to add a splash of hot sauce as well, so keep that in mind if you want to increase the heat!
This dressing is delicious on salad (I love it on a kale salad or taco salad), as a dip for fresh veggies, a sandwich spread or whatever else your heart may desire! Whether you are lactose-intolerant or not, this avocado version will make your tastebuds happy. Vegan? I’ve got you covered too!
Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing Recipe
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 large ripe California Avocado
1/3 cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo, if making vegan)
1/3 cup buttermilk (see recipe notes if making vegan)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
- Blend the avocado, mayonnaise, buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together in a blender until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the parsley, dill, and chives. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Cover the bowl and chill before serving.
*Recipe Notes: Don’t have buttermilk or are lactose intolerant? Make your own! For every cup of buttermilk needed, simple put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in your liquid measuring cup, then fill up the measuring cup to 1 cup with whatever non-dairy milk you are using, I suggest cashew milk, stir, then let the milk sit for 10 minutes before using it. For this recipe, you only need 1/3 cup of buttermilk, so put 1 teaspoon in your measuring cup, then fill it to 1/3 cup with your non-dairy milk.
If you happen to have fresh herbs on hand, you can use fresh parsley, dill and chives as well! Just increase the amounts to taste.