Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

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.

Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

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.

Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

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.

Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

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.

Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

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.

Do you have a favorite childhood dressing? I loved me some ranch, but I also went through a weird, bottled-French-dressing phase… but we don’t need to talk about that.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Homemade dressing is easy to make, and so much better than store-bought! Fresh herbs bring this ranch dressing to life, and the addition of sun dried tomatoes adds an extra dimension of flavor.
Author:
Serves: about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Notes
The chopped sun dried tomatoes make this dressing a little chunky. If you'd prefer a smoother dressing, you can make it this way:

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.

 

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13 Responses to Sun Dried Tomato Ranch Dressing

  1. Derek @ Dad With A Pan May 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    Wow this sounds like it’s full of flavor, and perfect for summer weather!

  2. Lisa @garlicandzest.com May 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

    I think we are sisters – I never buy bottled dressings — just make my own because they’re easy and taste better. My daughter had never seen bottled dressing until she went to her friends house and they set out 8 different bottles at dinner. She had no clue what was going on! Your photos are brilliant!

    • Willow Arlen May 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Oh yes, I grew up seeing several bottles of dressing on the table at dinner! I think when I first considered making homemade dressing, the thought of not having a ton of options on the table at once seemed like a problem, but once I started putting a little thought into my salads (as in, more interesting than just a bag of pre-washed lettuce), it made way more sense to have one dressing that was meant for that particular salad, that complimented it really well, than a bunch of different ones for people to choose from. Then again, if you were way more on top of things that I am you could totally have a variety of handmade dressings in the fridge… but I rarely plan that far ahead. They’re so quick to make, I usually whip one up while the rest of the meal is cooking! :)

  3. munchies and munchkins May 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    I have never ever thought to make my own ranch sauce, not sure why! This version looks great and I love the addition of sun dried tomatoes – they always feel like little bursts of summer flavour to me.

    • Willow Arlen May 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

      Same here! Sun dried tomatoes make everything better. :)

  4. Boastful Food May 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    This is perfect! I’m always looking for new salad dressing recipes. Thanks for sharing this one. Sounds so creamy and delicious:)

  5. Kim Beaulieu May 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    This looks SO good. I love homemade dressing. Your photos are incredible.

    Okay, so that speckled bowl….where does one procure such a bowl? Ha. Food bloggers, we’re always hunting for props.

    • Willow Arlen May 13, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

      Thank you, Kim! You’re too sweet. And I actually made that bowl last year when I was taking pottery classes. It’s a little clunky in real life, but hey, it works! :)

  6. Ellen May 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    How long would this keep in the fridge?

    • Willow Arlen May 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      Great question, Ellen! It should last up to the expiration date of either the sour cream or buttermilk, whichever comes first (possibly a little longer, but it all depends on the dairy). I hope that helps!

  7. Grace May 24, 2016 at 2:21 am #

    Healthy stuff! Thanks for sharing this.

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