Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas

Lookie what’s growing in my garden! Those cute little lettuce leaves will soon be cute big lettuce leaves.  I can’t wait!

lettuceingardenmay09sm.JPG

I don’t actually have an exciting salad recipe for you.  I’m not terribly creative like that.  My salad recipes almost always look something like:

  1. Wash and tear up a bunch of lettuce or spinach and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add whatever other raw veggies you have.
  3. If you’re feeling especially crazy, throw in some dried cranberries or raisins.
  4. If you want your salad to be your main dish, add some chicken, cheese and hard boiled egg.
  5. Grab a fork.

This is why I’m so excited about the above carnivals.  However, I do have a fun idea for a salad dressing that I discovered one day when I was dinking around in the kitchen.  Are you ready?  It’s a novel idea.

Orange juice.  The juice from an orange.  Fresh squeezed orange juicy goodness.

It’s refreshingly simple.  And yummy.  And it contains no high fructose corn syrup or MSG.

spinachsaladsm.JPG

Now that I’ve shared that enlightening salad tid-bit, I’m very excited to share another healthy salad dressing idea!

Rhonda sent me a wonderful Ranch Dressing Mix recipe!!  I used to use Simply Organic brand because I trust it more than other brands.  But now, thanks to Rhonda, I can make a super healthy (and much, much less expensive) Ranch Dressing any time I need to!

Ranch Dressing Mix

5 Tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoon parsley flakes
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix together and store in an air tight container.

For dressing: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower mayo) and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.  (I use buttermilk.)

For dip:  Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream or kreme fresh.

Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.

Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix
The jar on the right is the mix, which costs pennies compared to a packaged mix!  The jar on the left is the ranch dressing all made up and ready to go on our salad.

ranchdressin2sm.JPG
You HAVE to try this dressing!  It tastes so…so real.  And fresh.  And pure.  It’s delicious, simple and healthy!  Obviously, you eat it on lettuce and other veggies – so that gives you wonderful, healthy…healthiness.  (And of course, great servings of more fruits and veggies!)

Rhonda even suggested using this ranch dressing mix in my Ranch Potato Wedges recipe.  It works GREAT!

I shall never buy another ranch dressing packet again.  Rhonda - you rock!

And try squeezing an orange onto your salad sometime!  See what you think!  (Ever tried it before?) 

Comments

  1. Cindy says

    This is the closest to Hidden Valley that I have found. I blended it so it was more of a powder-if you do this you need to use less that 2 TB. I mixed it with half sour cream, half plain yogurt and just a little milk to make it runnier. It still needs a little bit of zing-I added some lemon juice and lemon zest and it was closer but it is differnt than HV.

    [Reply]

  2. says

    I just mixed up this batch of Ranch. I’m curious if you find it too onion-ie? I’ve made some into dressing and I have some left over mix. The dressing has been refridgerating for about 30 min and the onion is really overpowering.

    I’m wondering if a few more hours in the fridge will help or if maybe I should add more parsley to it?

    Any ideas?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, we’ve never felt like it was too onion-ie…but of course everyone has different tastes. Sure, adding more parsley would probably help.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I stand corrected! This ranch is AWESOME!!!! I’m guessing I was taste testing it too soon! It really does need an overnight in the fridge to mesh together! The 5 TableS onion to 7 TEAS Parsley scared me a bit! Thanks for sharing this!

    [Reply]

    Joyce Reply:

    I actually found it quite onion-y, but I used my own home-dried minced onion for the recipe, and it’s quite a bit stronger and fresher than what you would find in a store. It’s got a great taste, but for homemade minced onion, maybe halve the onion portion?

    [Reply]

  3. teresa white says

    I made the ranch dressing tonight about 30 min before we ate and it was delicious. the best I have ever made. Thanks for all your yummy recipes. I love your site.. You inspire me to cook healthy. Thanks, Teresa

    [Reply]

  4. says

    Do you know how long it will be good for or should we go by the ‘use by date’ of our liquid that we add to it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Mine have been great for a good two months in the fridge!

    [Reply]

  5. says

    Finally a ranch with no MSG, I am making it today. My aunt always adds a little dried dill to the HV packet, for a dill ranch, you could do the same with this, for an added twist. So happy for a healthy ranch option.

    [Reply]

  6. Christina says

    Okay…could I use fresh minced onion? I assumed the recipe was calling for dried onion and I am not sure the ratio of fresh to dried would be the same for this recipe? Thanks so much for the recipes!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It is calling for dried minced onion, but you could use fresh as long as you make the dressing right away. I don’t think the mixture would be good on a shelf with fresh onions…might get moldy.

    [Reply]

  7. Dody says

    I love this recipe but I do not like using all the mayo. Is there anything else I can use in place of mayo? I did not have parsley flakes so I used celery seeds and a smidgen of dill. Italian Seasoning or mexican oregano does not work.
    Would plain yogurt, cottage cheese in a blender, tofu, olive oil or something else work with fewer calories. What can be used to replace the salt ? Just asking ? To everyone, this recipe is the one you are looking for to replace HV and I am picky. Thank you, and thank Rhonda for this, my friend has been looking for a good recipe because MSG gives her a headache and there is to much sugar in it for me. I will be using this recipe until I get answers to the above questions . Just think how good this will be when I do have all the right ingredients !

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Um, I’m not sure if I’ll be much help as I’ve never adapted this recipe. I’d say just try it the ways you suggested with yogurt or whatever spices you have and see what you come up with.

    I don’t know of anything to replace salt that will give you the same result that salt does, but I use Redmonds Real Salt which is an all natural sea salt, unprocessed and not iodized…much healthier!

    [Reply]

    Kathy Reply:

    For the mayo I would try using lite mayo or nonfat plain yogurt or a
    combination of both. Try replacing up to %50 of the salt with
    potassium salt. If you are used to less salt you could probably add
    less total salt as well.
    Thanks Laura and Rhonda for this recipe!

    [Reply]

    Sarah F Reply:

    I hate store bought mayo because it’s sweet so when I make ranch dressing I use all buttermilk or homemade yogurt I have on hand with milk to thin it where we like it. it makes the mix a little bit more concentrated which is how we like it anyway. There’s more ranch flavor with less dressing

    [Reply]

  8. Dana says

    Would it be possible to freeze this dressing? I’m not sure how the mayo would react…

    I’m thinking I could premake and freeze some turkey-cheese-ranch wraps for a quick lunch.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would think that if you froze these into wraps with the dressing it would PROBABLY do okay. Not sure though!

    [Reply]

  9. Tracey says

    I tried your Ranch dressing recipe today and am worried. I used Miracle Whip instead of Mayo. It was really sweet tasted alot like just Miracle Whip. What kind of Mayo do you use? I don’t like all the fat in regular mayo (bc of low HDL) and was wondering if you use something other than just regular mayo. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use Hain Safflower Mayo – I love it.

    [Reply]

    Lindsey Reply:

    I used low fat mayo. It was a liitle runnier but tasted just like ranch dressing.

    [Reply]

    Brenda Reply:

    I us Helmans or Kraft olive oil mayo, it has 50% less fat than reg mayo and it tasted great.

    [Reply]

  10. Maureen says

    Laura,
    Would you happen to have a recipe for making mayo? My friend makes it from scratch but she never is able to tell me how…a little of this and a little of that!

    BTW thank you for all your recipes!! We are eating much healthier and the kids don’t even know it! Praise God!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I don’t have a mayo recipe yet. It’s on “my list” but I just haven’t gotten to it yet!

    [Reply]

    pam Reply:

    http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/43/Homemade-Mayonnaise

    2 large egg yolks whisk whisk oil in drop by drop
    3 Tbs. lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. salt
    pinch of white pepper
    1 cup oil

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I just had to tell you this! My MIL gave me an old cookbook a while back. It’s called Old Timey Recipes, and was printed in 1977. One of the recipes is Grandma’s Delicious Mayonnaise. Here is the recipe in it’s entirety. I doesn’t give a list of ingredients.

    3 eggs well beaten, add 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon mustard. 1 cup cream, 1/2 cup vinegar, add vinegar very slowly. Cook in double boiler until thick. Do not boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt when mixture is cool. 1 pint dressing.

    Sorry for the clunky way it’s written, but that’s how it is in the book!

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    Tropical Traditions has a GREAT mayo simple recipe that’s with oh so wonderful cocounut oil!

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I just made mayo over the weekend with my daughter and it turned out great. Here is the link, and wE used a magic bullet, but I’m sure you could do it in the blender.
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6690497_make-mayonnaise-magic-bullet.html

    [Reply]

  11. says

    OOOH, this sounds so good. I just went and mixed up the dry seasonings. I will have to get buttermilk.
    I am also wanting to learn how to make homemade mayonnaise.
    I found a recipe in an old kitchenaid recipe booklet that came with an older mixer and it looked really good.
    I also have a food processor, and I think you can make it in there better.
    I look forward to seeing your recipes. Looking forward to the ketchup one too!!!
    hope they come soon. Then the ranch dressing can be truly homemade!!

    [Reply]

    Shamberly Reply:

    FYI: if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can add a little vinegar to regular milk and it will “make” buttermilk ~ or at least an equivalent of it :o)

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    I have done this too, and it works really well. The milk has to be room temp. for a little bit, then put the vinegar or lemon juice in and let it set for about 20 or 30 minutes. I have also done it in a last minute time and it still served its purpose.

    [Reply]

  12. Stephanie says

    I use this mix to make a dip. I mix 1.5 T of the mix with 2 cups of strained, plain homemade yogurt. I strain my yogurt for about 8 hours before I make the dip. This makes it thicker and yummy, yummy. This way I have a nice, low fat dip that I don’t feel guilty slathering all over carrots. yum

    [Reply]

  13. Breana says

    to make buttermilk how much vin. would you add? I really would like to try this!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I wish I knew! I make my buttermilk like this: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/making-cultured-buttermilk-kefir-and-sour-cream so I don’t know the exact way to make buttermilk with vinegar. :)

    [Reply]

    Terri Reply:

    Use 1 tbls. vinegar OR lemon juice to one cup of milk to make a buttermilk equivalent. Works great!

    [Reply]

  14. Jennifer W-M says

    My family LOVED this recipe!! We all thought it was so cool that it tasted so much better than anything store bought.

    [Reply]

  15. says

    Hey, Laura! Just was wondering which brand
    of mayo that you use as all the kinds at the
    store all loaded with bad ingr.! My son
    LOVES ranch dressing (from the store), so it
    would be great if he likes this healthy kind;
    however, I need to find a healthy mayo, first!

    Thanks! ;o)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I just updated the post to show that we use Hain Safflower mayo. I’m in the process of figuring out how to make my own homemade mayo too!

    [Reply]

    Terri Reply:

    Homemade mayo is super easy if you have a blender. Although this recipe uses raw eggs, you will want to make sure you use only pastured, farm fresh eggs. (we have 9 laying hens in our backyard, so I know where my eggs come from ; ) )

    1 whole egg and one egg yolk
    1 tsp dijon mustard
    2 tbls lemon juice
    1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt
    1 cup safflower oil

    Using blender, blend egg, egg yolk, mustard. Add lemon juice and salt. Blend.
    Now, with blender running, slowly drizzle in oil. Do this slowly, and the mixture will thicken and not separate. Will keep 2 weeks in refrigerator.

    [Reply]

    Debbie Reply:

    The eggs must be at room temperature,not cold from the refrigerator or the eggs won’t whip up and the mayonaise will be ruined.

    Melissa Reply:

    I used a refrigerated egg and mine did fine. Of course, I only made one batch with one egg, but it was delicious.

    Brady Reply:

    Laura,
    I just saw this recipe for homemade mayo using Palm shortening (which I know you love) and thought of you!
    http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2012/04/12/easy-no-fail-mayo/

    [Reply]

  16. says

    We really like this ranch dressing!
    I have made it with mayo and buttermilk, but my favorite way is to make it with mayo and sour cream. It’s great!
    I also use the dry mix in a soup recipe that calls for dry ranch seasoning mix and it works well too. I just add 1-2 Tbsp.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

  17. Melissa Knight says

    Laura,
    Will this dressing keep longer than the expiration date on the buttermilk? I thought I read a reply of yours saying this keeps about two months but I can’t find buttermilk with a use-by date that long. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would think the dressing will last longer than the buttermilk date, but do whatever you feel comfortable with. I make my own buttermilk, so don’t have an expiration date, but I know that the dressing has lasted two months in my fridge without a problem!

    [Reply]

  18. Daphne says

    I love this mix! It’s way too salty for us though so I use half the salt (and was informed by my husband the other day I could use even less). I also pulse my mix a few times in my food processor to get the onions and stuff nice and fine. We love it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

  19. Amy says

    Could I make a large quantity of this and then can them in small jars? If so, would I use a water bath or pressure cooker to can the sauce?

    [Reply]

    Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers Reply:

    I’m not sure about that. IF you were to do it, it would need to be in a pressure cooker…but I’m really not sure about the shelf stability of doing this.

    [Reply]

  20. Jennifer says

    I am so glad that I stumbled upon your site. I am so excited about the ranch, onion soup and taco seasoning mixes. I was wondering if you have ever tried to make a beef stew mix? I love the McCormick mix but I wish i could make it on my own.

    Thanks!! Jennifer

    [Reply]

  21. Brittney dargusch says

    Just wondering if thys dressing is thick I like my dressing thick but still want it to taste like buttermilk ranch dressing

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’d say it’s probably a little less thick than store bought, but you could adapt the ingredient amounts to make it thicker (like less buttermilk and more sour cream).

    [Reply]

  22. says

    Thanks so much for posting these recipes! I just made the ranch dressing using nonfat yogurt and a bit of mayo for my kids to have with their lunch of veggies and nuts. They said it was the best dressing they have ever eaten! And, by the way, I love jars, too! I keep almost all glass jars and reuse them in my pantry and for things like dressings and leftovers.

    [Reply]

  23. Abbey says

    I added this to cream cheese with some chopped cucumbers from my garden for a spread and it was sooooo good!

    [Reply]

  24. Michelle W says

    Wow!! This was a hit with my family a few days back. Well, I made some today for a Labor Day cookout and my other family members said this was great. Thank you for this simple dressing…this has definitely made it to our 3-ring recipe binder.

    [Reply]

  25. april says

    Your website is such a help in our food choices – thank you.

    Where do you buy seasonings? There’s a healthy helping of dried onions in this. Do I need to look for/avoid anything in particular when buying such a product? Would hate to go to the trouble of making my own dressing only to find out I’ve contaminated it with some random freeze dried ingredient additive I did not know about. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have links on this resource page that will give you some good options for buying herbs and spices: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/our-whole-foods-pantry-freezers-and-refrigerator :)

    [Reply]

  26. Racheal says

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! This is fantastic thank you for sharing! I did not have sour cream, so I made it with mayo and fat free yogurt..my oh my.. i think I’m in love :)

    [Reply]

  27. says

    I love this recepe, I used regular helmans mayo, and buttermilk, and dry mix to make the dressing. It is wonderful, and HALF the calories and fat comparing the bottled Hiddenvalley ranch. So it taste better, has wholesome ingredients and is better for you, bye bye store bought! Thanks Laura!!

    [Reply]

  28. Faith says

    i made this dressing the other day and it was great! i also used it to make the ranch potatoes which were wonderful as well. thanks so much for the recipe :) i have a question i was wondering if you could answer though…my mother in law has a “taco soup” recipe that calls for a pkg of ranch dressing mix and one pkg of taco seasoning. do you know how much of the ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix of yours i would use to be the equivalent to that?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would say that 3 Tablespoons of each mix would equal the amount you’d find in a seasoning package.

    [Reply]

  29. Heather E. says

    FYI: I make a 6 times batch for a pint jar of mix.

    1.5 C + 6 T Dried Onion
    1 C. parsley
    1/2 C. Salt
    2 T. garlic

    Enjoy!

    [Reply]

  30. catloveschanel says

    Thank you for this. I have been married for 7 months and have been impressing my husband with my cooking. Now he has a few extra pounds and this is his favorite dressing. I put 1 spoon less salt in and used 2 cups of nonfat yogurt. When you put the non fat yogurt in the cup I pour milk around it – and this is an excellent buttermilk alternative. Thank you so much. Will try the Catalina, too.

    [Reply]

  31. says

    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been wanting to try it and recently stocked up on bulk spices to make larger quantities of things like taco seasoning (and I LOVE that sausage seasoning recipe!), but just hadn’t done it yet. Found myself at the grocery store…tired, getting late, eying a frozen “dinner in a bag” that was a cheesy ranch chicken kind of deal. Sounded really good, but at $6 that just completely went against my frugal nature. I ended up buying a block of American cheese and when I got home, mixed up some of this ranch dressing mix really quickly and then using cooked chicken breast, elbow pasta, milk, shredded American cheese, sour cream and this ranch mix to make my own. Threw in some broccoli and had a quick one dish meal. It was delicious!

    I read the comment earlier about someone not wanting to make it in large batches because of the ingredients separating out. I mixed up a double batch in a mason jar and blended it with my stick blender the first time and the parsley was finer and didn’t separate out like the bigger flakes. I used onion POWDER to begin with (1 Tb minced onion = 1 tsp onion powder) so it all mixed together nicely. I made another batch quickly while things were simmering and this time I put the parsley in first and ground it up a bit with the stick blender, then added the rest of the ingredients and blended well. I think that will virtually eliminate the settling problem.

    Again, thanks so very much for sharing this recipe. I quit buying processed foods a couple years ago and it’s so hard to find a decent ranch without MSG. I think I would use this most often as a seasoning, such as in a chicken coating or like I did tonight. We just don’t use a lot of ranch dressing in general. I am looking forward to trying it as a dressing/dip though!

    [Reply]

  32. Wanda says

    How many tablespoons of this mix would equal a packet? Like when a recipe calls for a packet of ranch?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I usually use 3 tablespoons for one packet.

    [Reply]

  33. Barbara says

    I have made ranch dressing from a recipe I found on the internet, it is great. I have a herb garden also like this woman that wrote this recipe. Not putting down this recipe, I will make it. It is very handy to have ready when you are in a hurry. I want to share this with you, It is so cute, recipe is just great. i AM NOT TO GOOD ON THE COMP. I am a senior. google
    “THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS” or .com to it.
    HOMEMADE RANCE DRESSING. It is so good on salad and as a dip, we went crazy with this. it is not low cal but can make it different, she even explains what you can add in. I also make up recipies like she does. thought this great including pictures.

    [Reply]

  34. Patty says

    Could I use greek yogurt in this? And if so would I just replace the mayo with the same amount of yogurt or do I need to mix the two? I just found this site and am looking forward to trying out your recipes.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never used Greek yogurt, but I think it should work just fine. Yes, I would say that you can just replace the mayo one for one in this recipe. Hope it works well for you!

    [Reply]

  35. EstherK says

    Any ideas on how to convert this to a nondairy recipe?
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    You might try coconut milk instead of buttermilk to see how that works.

    [Reply]

  36. CeCe says

    This dressing was great!!! Even my husband loved it (and he’s usually a die-hard oil and vinegar guy). Question, though: How long should I keep in fridge?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    It should keep for 2 months.

    [Reply]

  37. says

    I looked up conversion of dried minced onion to onion powder (I want to use as Kale chips and popcorn topping). It said 1T dried to 1 tsp powder. BUT if I want to just make up mix as ranch dressing rather than have TWO mixes on hand would I then still use 1 T to make up dressing? what do you think?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    That sounds good!

    [Reply]

  38. says

    I LOVE this recipe…I make up a 1/2 gallon canning jar of ranch dressing at a time cuz we love it so much for salads, pizza or the chicken fingers (from your e-book). So delicious! Using buttermilk is the best in it!

    [Reply]

  39. Cindy says

    Does this “pour” out of your jar, or do you have to spoon it out (thicker)? We were making our own homemade ranch for a while, but my husband does most of our dinner cooking, and wouldn’t think about it until just about time to sit down, then it was a hassle to make at the last second. I have started doing a bit more of the cooking, and I am tempted to try this again, especially if it would last 2 months. I might even try a half batch first. I am curious to the consistency though. I’m thinking you wrote that it is a little more thin than store-bought, and I guess I could control by the liquid I put in… Does it thicken with sitting in the fridge?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It does tend to be a little thinner than store bought, but if you just add a little less buttermilk, it may be thicker for you.

    [Reply]

  40. Jennifer says

    Do u happen to know how much of the mix to use if we are substituting that for the dry ranch packets you get in the store?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    About 3 Tablespoons.

    [Reply]

  41. Stephanie says

    Ok, I haven’t actually tried this mix of herbs yet… I just started making my own ranch because we ran out the other night on pizza night (you would’ve thought the world was ending) Anyway… I had the packets of ranch mix for dip/dressing, BUT I used a cup of kefir and a cup of mayo and it is THE. BEST. RANCH. EVER.!!! Plus I get to use the kefir and my family doesn’t even realize it! I’m going to try it next using this mix instead of the store bought! Thanks for all the recipes!

    [Reply]

  42. Jodi says

    I made this the first time with minced onion but my son wasn’t crazy about the texture. Now I make it with 2 Tbsp. onion powder instead and everyone loves it. I only use 1 Tbsp. of the powdered mix to 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup mayonnaise since the onion powder is stronger/more concentrated than the minced onion. Sometimes I add 1-2 Tbsp. pesto to give it some variety.

    [Reply]

  43. Brandi says

    I just figured out that I can put the ranch dressing mix into sour cream only and make french onion dip! It tastes just like the kind you buy in the store, but much cheaper. I love all of these mixes!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *