Ranch Dressing (vegan)

I love cooking dinner for non-vegans and surprising them with how delicious and ‘normal’ the food I eat is.  Last night I had a friend over for dinner who freely admits she is picky, a meat and dairy lover and scared to try new foods.  I dove into the challenge of veganizingn a menu she would recognize.

Menu:

  • Garden salad with ranch dressing
  • Garlic chive bread
  • Creamy tomato mushroom pasta
  • ‘Parmesan cheese’
  • Fudge cakes 

I will post all the recipes for this menu starting with this amazing ranch dressing.  I think most vegans have discovered the wonders of cashew cream, it is a great substitute for sour cream in countless recipes and the base for the ranch dressing I love to make for salads and dip.  The cashew cream recipe I have adapted is originally from hotforfoodblog.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of soaked cashews (soak in water overnight or in boiling water for 15 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high powered blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. In my Blendtec this takes 3-5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.  Press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any remaining cashew chunks.

Refrigerate this mixture for at least 30 minutes before using (it will thicken in the fridge).  This cashew cream will keep in the fridge for up to a week.  It is great on baked potatoes, tacos, or as a baking ingredient. 

To make the ranch dressing add the chopped herbs and the additional vinegar.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

This dressing was perfect for a simple salad of spinach, cucumber, carrot, tomato, pine nuts, dried cranberries and coconut ‘bacon’ bits.

Tonight I added 1/4 cup vegan Mayo to the 1/2 cup dressing leftovers along with some additional chives to make chip dip.  This was a perfect match for some home made microwave sea salt potato chips.

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