Homemade salad dressing is easier to make than you might think, and this sun dried tomato ranch dressing is no exception. Loaded with fresh herbs and savory sun dried tomatoes, it’s like your childhood favorite all grown up! Jump to the recipe here, or read on.
Homemade salad dressings are the bomb. Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t make everything from scratch 100% of the time. I don’t even make most things from scratch 100% of the time — there are plenty of times when convenience just wins out. I mean, eating store bought ketchup never killed anyone. (Unless maybe they were allergic to tomatoes, but that’s beside the point.)
Salad dressing, however, is one of the exceptions. I haven’t bought bottled salad dressing in almost five years, because really, homemade dressing is so easy to make, and so much better. Once I’d figured it out I was never even tempted to buy it. I’m not exaggerating, zero temptation.
Homemade dressing has two big advantages over the bottled stuff. First, store-bought dressings are often loaded with sugar (ahem, corn syrup) and preservatives, and second, when you get a pre-made dressing, you’re stuck with it. Maybe it’s delicious, maybe it’s not, but either way you get what you get.
Homemade dressings are the opposite of both of those things. They contain little or no sugar (I like a little honey in some of mine, but that’s totally optional), zero preservatives or colors, and if you don’t like the way it tastes you can tweak it and adjust until you get it just the way you like it.
Most of the dressings I make for myself are simple vinaigrettes, because they come together in ten seconds flat, and I’m a huge fan of bright acidic dressings that help balances out the rest of the meal. I make creamy dressings less often, but every once and a while I get a serious hankering for a good caesar dressing (this is one that’s especially good made from scratch), or ranch.
Yes, when I was a kid, I had a thing for ranch. Who didn’t? It’s flavor always seemed kind of mysterious to me, though. What does ranch dressing taste like? Well, ranch dressing, of course! It turns out, there are three components that make up that unique flavor, and they are parsley, dill, and chives. Of course, the pre-made stuff and ranch powders are made with dried, pulverized version of these ingredients, so it’s no wonder you can’t really detect them. When I make ranch from scratch, I prefer to use fresh herbs. They come together to create that signature ranch flavor, without getting lost — you can still taste them all individually, if you try.
It’s like a grown-up version of the bottled stuff I grew up with, and to my grown-up tastebuds, so much better.
Adding some sun dried tomatoes to the mix was a spur-of-the-moment inspiration I had, which makes this dressing a little extra special. The flavor still screams “ranch!” but the tomatoes add an extra layer to it which I like. If you prefer your ranch plain, feel free to leave them out you’re good to go! That’s the beauty of making things from scratch — your dressing, your rules.
- 3 TBSP real mayonnaise
- 3 TBSP sour cream
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 TBSP finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (this was about 2-3 tomatoes from my jar)
- 2 TBSP fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 TBSP fresh chives, finely chopped
- ½ TBSP fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
- ¼-1/2 cup cultured buttermilk, as needed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Peel the garlic, and crush it into a paste, along with a pinch of salt, using a mortar and pestle. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can finely chop the garlic and smash it on your cutting board with the side of your knife.
- Add all of the ingredients except the buttermilk, salt, and pepper to a bowl, and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk to thin the dressing to desired consistency -- you can keep it thick like a dip, or thin it down to make a dressing. If your buttermilk is too thick to thin the dressing as much as you'd like, you can add a little water.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and if you feel it needs a little more of one herb or another, or a bit more lemon juice, adjust as needed.
Add the sun dried tomatoes and garlic to the food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and process until completely smooth (adding a little buttermilk if necessary). Add in the herbs, some of the buttermilk, and lemon, and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped and evenly distributed throughout the dressing. Add more buttermilk as needed to thin to desired consistency, and season to taste with more salt.
Recipe adapted from THIS RECIPE from Foodie Crush.