Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: Smackdown Week 5 Ranch VS Ranch: The Salad Wars


Smackdown Week 5 Ranch VS Ranch: The Salad Wars

A few weeks back a friend asked me to make ranch dressing my next smackdown and I am only too happy to oblige her. I was casting about for this weeks smackdown idea when I remembered her request, so Katie this ones for you.

I started this experiment by researching ranch dressing recipes. I tried several sites online and a couple favorite cookbooks and found out there are a lot of ranch dressing recipes in the world! 99% of them require...MSG. MMM nothing like a good old neurotoxin to get your heart pumping right? So the first order of my recipe was "NO MSG" and the second to make the best damned ranch dressing there ever was and banish that packet mix forever.

::Disclaimer- The last time I made ranch dressing from a packet was for Christmas and before that it had been about a year, much to my oldest sons disgust. I like my salad un-adulterated therefore I don't make it much. I also refuse to buy the bottled junk it is so disgustingly sweet.::

The contenders:

Ranch One
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
mix well and wait for the xanthan gum to thicken up

This is the traditional ranch mix that everyone is used to. It was, as usual, good and thick enough to float a spoon on. The five year old liked this one better than my homemade version. After reading up on the MSG and other delicious chemicals in this mix I was hesitant to let anyone try it but I figured once more would be fine. The price was very high at $3.29 for a 2 pack of mix plus milk and mayonnaise. The sodium content for one serving was 10% of your daily intake. Doesn't' seem like a lot right? That means if you eat 2 servings you will have consumed 1/5 of your salt for the day. Besides who really measures out 2 tablespoons anyway? No one I know except people watching their weight. So the taste was good (MSG working away there) but the chemicals, price and sodium really make this one a loser for me.

Ranch two

1 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup of nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons of dillweed
2 teaspoons of parsley
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt--more to taste
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk
taste and adjust salt and pepper to your preference

I was very pleased with this dressing. It was mighty similar to the Hidden Valley Ranch but without the chemicals. In fact my dear husband couldn't decide which was which and finally decided the store bought was mine because it was so thick (xanthan gum for ya'). Ha! He continued tasting trying to figure out what was different but never did. He liked mine better but would like it thicker 'more chewy' was how he put it. So price wise the herbs were bought in bulk so they were very inexpensive about 2 dollars total and I got enough to make 7-8 batches for that price. Plus mayonnaise, yogurt and buttermilk which are not cheap themselves. The sodium was negligible. Taste was great, price was great, no chemicals added and 4 out five in my house LOVED it. The only thing wanting in the homemade was 'more chewy' hunh I'll have to work on that.


  1. MMM RANCH!!
    I think one of my favorite things to do with ranch is to make porcupine chicken... you know, dip the chicken in ranch then crumbled up shredded wheat, then bake it... YUM

  2. oh yay yay yay! Recipe two will have to be tried, b/c I love Hidden Valley rance, but J can't have it b/c the whey allergy. This is a nice compromise! Mmm thanks!


Am I talking DIRECTLY to you? Well then let me know!