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Organic, Real Food on a Budget – Homemade Ranch Dressing

by Deliciously Organic on May 31, 2011

This spring, I received numerous emails asking, “How do you make organic food affordable?”. Many readers want to make changes, but need some help obtaining organic, real food, without breaking the bank.

I’ve spent the last several years finding ways to cut costs and make organic food more affordable for my family and I want to share my ideas with you. All my posts this summer will be devoted to “Organic, Real Food – On a Budget”. I’ll share recipes, tips, tricks, and everything I know to reduce costs without compromising.

My first tip is to stop buying so many packaged foods and start buying whole foods instead. Packaging costs money. Why pay for cardboard and plastic when you could use that money to buy food? Most American pantries and refrigerators overflow with pre-made packaged foods. Even if the packaged food is organic, you’re still paying more than if you made it yourself. Take salad dressing for an example. Honestly, we don’t need to buy bottles and bottles of salad dressing. Most bottled dressing at the store contains preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and oils that don’t nourish. Homemade salad dressing takes minutes to prepare and will keep in the fridge for a week or two. It costs less, and you get the added bonus of knowing all the ingredients.

My everyday dressing consists of lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I actually squeeze the juice, drizzle the oil, and season directly over the lettuce. No need for another bowl. I toss the greens at least 15-20 times, taste, and adjust according to my whim.

We also enjoy making Ranch dressing, especially since you can use it for salad, or as a dip for chicken fingers and vegetables (I even like it on my mashed potatoes occasionally). My version takes a few minutes to prepare, uses dried herbs to keep the cost down, and keeps in the fridge for about a week. Make it and you’re well on your way to making Organic, Real Food – On a Budget!

Here are some other great homemade salad dressing recipes:

Hot Bacon Dressing from Organic Spark
Apricot Salad Dressing from Elena’s Pantry
Tahini Soy Dressing from Family Fresh Cooking
Kombucha Vinaigrette from Nourished Kitchen

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Serving Size: Makes 1 1/4 cups

Homemade Ranch Dressing

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can combine 3 1/2 tablespoons of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a small bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes until it curdles. That's it!

Ingredients

    For Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chives

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle May 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I’m looking forward to this series! We’ve recently made the switch to organic and whole foods and, while I’m starting to get a handle on it, the grocery budget has undergone many renovations.

(I also wanted to add that I just got your cookbook on Thursday and we’ve already made the coconut strawberry smoothies 4 times! The only change I made was to add a banana; that added enough volume to stretch the recipe to two servings. Delicious!)

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Caryn/TheMIdLIfeGuru May 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I just attended a cooking class on raw food cooking and am trying to make these changes in to our weekly menu. I am looking forward to getting more ideas from your posts this summer.

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Dawn (KitchenTravels) May 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for this Carrie. My twins love ranch, but the list of ingredients on a typical bottle is downright scary. We tried Annie’s organic brand, but frankly, it tasted terrible. Looking forward to giving this recipe a try. :)

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Kellyj May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Can you suggest a heathy brand of mayonnaise?

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Deliciously Organic May 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

My favorite brand is Wilderness Family Naturals (you can order it from their site).

I make my own mayonnaise and it only takes about 5-10 minutes to prepare. Here is one of my favorite recipes: http://www.organicspark.com/portfolio/simply-mayonnaise/

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Nisrine M. May 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

This dressing sounds delicious. I like your food philosophyand I’m trying to incorporate more organic options in my diet.

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marla May 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

This is great Carrie, I am looking forward to the new series :)

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Sara May 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm

This is great Carrie. My husband and I love ranch but don’t like buying the bottle ranch dressing from the store. I’m going to try this recipe tonight- we’re making a grilled quinoa salad and this would be great on top. Looking forward to your new series!

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Marcy May 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I’ve been wanting to try making mayonnaise just to use for some ranch dressing; I don’t care for it on sandwiches or anything like that. I get fresh free range eggs from the farmers market, but I still worry a little about the safety of using raw yolks; have you tried any recipes that heat the yolks enough to kill anything nasty? Or does the lacto-fermenting do the trick?

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Ronda Lynn November 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Hi Marcy,

wash the free range egg shells with soap and water prior to cracking see http://www.mercola.com (world known
MD on the web-organic all the way)

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Allison [Haute Box] May 31, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I am so glad you’ll be focusing more on affordable organic food! I look forward to your posts, Carrie.

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Katrina May 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I love ranch! This sounds awesome.

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Amanda@Easy Peasy Organic June 1, 2011 at 2:21 am

Awesome, Carrie! You know I’m all about organic on a budget, and I think it’s what holds a lot of people back. So I’m looking forward to your tips and recipes!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 1, 2011 at 4:56 am

I’m looking forward to your series on organic eating on a budget. I try to buy organic whenever possible and would love to hear some tips on how to keep costs down.

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. June 1, 2011 at 5:18 am

I am so excited about trying this recipe. Hope you had a great Memorial day!

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Caroline June 1, 2011 at 6:15 am

Do you have a suggestion for using fresh herbs? We happen to be growing all of these herbs in our garden and I’d love to use them freshly picked. Can you tell me how much should these ingredients be changed, if any? Thank you.

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Deliciously Organic June 1, 2011 at 7:47 am

If using fresh herbs then I would double the amount of each herb.

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Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) June 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

If I ever buy a bottled salad dressing it has to be really special. My standard dressing is so simple, it too, like yours, gets made right in the bowl with the salad.

I bought a small glass jar with a shaker top on it years ago and keep it filled with a mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dried sage, dried oregano, and dried thyme. After putting the veggies in the bowl I give this bottle a shake over the bowl and then drizzle in extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar and toss.

Sometimes I go even more simple and just toss on some dried oregano and then evoo and red wine vinegar. It goes so well with olives, tomato, and feta in a salad!

Also, I agree that the best way to make significant changes in your diet is to cut out processed foods. It can be a bigger hurdle than buying organic because then you have to be able to prepare the whole foods. But it makes such a difference.

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Marie Kenyon June 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

I came to one of your cooking classes a few years ago with my daughter-in-love, Michelle Fuller. I just discovered your website through Michelle’s FB profile. I just wanted you to know that attending that one class set me on a journey of changing how I eat. The first thing I did was buy the book, Nourishing Traditions. It has been a very interesting and informative journey. I now grow an heirloom, organic garden which my grandchildren love to help me with. So the change in healthy eating continues down through the generations. Thank you.

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Deliciously Organic June 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Hi Marie – Thank you for getting in contact and letting me know about the healthy changes you’ve made. What a blessing!

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Karen June 3, 2011 at 7:07 am

YUM!!! I made the chicken tenders and ranch dressing last night. When your husband says, “I don’t know whether to eat the chicken or the artichoke” with every bite, you know you’ve got a hit. My son, he’s eagerly awaiting lunch time so he can have the chicken tenders again :) Thank you Carrie! Everything I’ve made from your cookbook has been a HOMERUN in our home. Blessings!

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Deliciously Organic June 3, 2011 at 7:29 am

Ahh…thank you for letting me know! I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes!

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Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer June 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

I make mine very similar and it is soooo good!

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Ashley June 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

I just made this and substituted plain greek yogurt for the sour cream and it is delicious! I also didn’t have dill and added some onion powder. Yum! I have been buying organic ranch dressing a lot lately because I love having baby spinach and feta salad with ranch! I am so glad you posted this recipe, I don’t think I will buy ranch dressing again!

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Bryden May 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I substituted the mayo with more sour cream (my mother has a very narrow range of foods she can eat,) and added the cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, dill, and vinegar. This dressing starts off creamy, supported by a little kick from the pepper, and finishes with a beautiful aftertaste, reminiscent of a dill pickle. It’s a nice zesty ranch that will go great with the buffalo chicken dip I want to make with it.

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Deliciously Organic May 7, 2012 at 6:45 am

I love your variation! I’ll have to give it a try!

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Fawn May 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

How long does this keep in the fridge?

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Deliciously Organic May 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

It will keep for about 1 week.

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Cherish December 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Do you know a mayonaise recipe that does not call for egg yolks? Are egg yolks ok for kids and pregnant ladies?

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Deliciously Organic December 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

I don’t know of a mayo recipe that doesn’t call for eggs that I can recommend. My personal opinion is that raw egg yolks – as long as they are coming from healthy, organic, pastured chickens – are fine to eat, but I know not everyone agrees with my opinion. If you aren’t comfortable with raw yolks, you can buy pasteurized eggs in the grocery store, but keep in mind some of the nutrients might have died because of the pasteurization process. Here’s a great article for more information: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/eat-eggs-and-have-chicken-too

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brandy April 7, 2014 at 9:26 am

This dressing is awesome!

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