As you may have guessed by now, Jeff and I don’t have overly sophisticated tastes. When we went plant based, we pretty much had the DTs as we cut out Standard American Diet (SAD) favorites like Velveeta Shells n’ Cheese, Papa John’s pizza, and Breyer’s ice cream.
So lately, I’ve been working on healthier versions of all of the above, which I’ll be posting in the not-too-distant future. (Along with the carrot cake oatmeal I’ve been promising for months now, whoops.)
However, with crisp, summer-fresh veggie season starting right now, Jeff and I have been downright pining for good old-fashioned Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.
What finally nudged me into making a healthy copycat recipe, though, was making these cute and fun veggie dip jars. While any dressing complements these party-ready snacks, what I really wanted was straight-up, snowy white, smooth-and-creamy Hidden Valley Ranch dressing…
What I didn’t want? The soybean oil, egg yolk, and disodium guanylate that you find in “real” Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. I mean, what is disodium guanylate, anyway?
Nor did I want MSG. And as it turns out, MSG is how the folks at Hidden Valley make soybean oil, egg yolk, and disodium guanylate taste surprisingly good.
So I set out to create an oil-free vegan copycat Hidden Valley Ranch dressing made with actual food (!) that tastes every bit as good as the original.
Or better, even.
Copycat Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (vegan and oil free!)
Now I don’t want to dislocate a shoulder patting myself on the back or anything, but with inspiration from The Vegan 8 and Top Secret Recipes, I came up with a vegan copycat of Hidden Valley Ranch that’s a dead ringer for the original—no MSG required.
In fact, all you need is a blender, some pantry staples, and 5 minutes.
Then knock yourself out: This dressing is amazing on crisp salads, pizza crusts, buffalo cauliflower wings, and of course, fresh cut veggies!
- ¾ c cashews
- ¾ cup Whole Foods brand unsweetened plain almond milk OR water plus a few extra cashews (see note); more milk/water if needed to thin
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp white (distilled) vinegar
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 small clove garlic
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp parsley flakes
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- Blend all ingredients except parsley and pepper in a high-powered blender until smooth.
- Add parsley and pepper and whiz briefly--just enough to stir them in.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight, as the dressing will thicken dramatically. (Although I'm not good at waiting, so I often use it straightaway!)
-Do NOT substitute soy milk or any other brand of almond milk. For whatever reason, the only thing that makes this dressing taste like Hidden Valley Ranch is Whole Foods' unflavored, unsweetened almond milk (best) or plain water with a few extra cashews for thickening.
Note: I’m constantly tweaking this recipe, so if you come back and it’s a little different, you know why. I’m on a quest for perfection! Okay, and I really love ranch dressing. 😉 Last update: August 27, 2016.