Ranch is a buttermilk-and-mayonnaise based dressing named after the ranch in Hidden Valley, California where it was first served almost 60 years ago. My homemade dressing isn’t trying to emulate the stuff that comes in a bottle, because if that’s what you’re craving, then I honestly believe only the original will do. Instead, what I was aiming for was a tangy rendition, packed with herbs, with enough body to coat greens and vegetables, but not overpower. In this recipe there’s some yogurt to lighten the mix, and basil brings extra fragrance and sweetness, while the paprika lends a smoky note. It’s my variation on a classic, and a favourite in its own right. —Tara O'Brady
teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
yogurt or sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
smoked paprika, optional
honey, as needed
In This Recipe
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yogurt or sour cream. Screw on the the lid and shake the jar to combine. Stir in most of the buttermilk. Check for consistency, and add more if needed. Taste, then season with salt, pepper and paprika. If the dressing is too sharp, drizzle in some honey to mellow the acidity. Taste again, and adjust if needed.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour before using, to allow the flavors to blend and develop.