Creamy vegan ranch dressing made with heart-healthy ingredients. A lovely dairy-free ranch substitute that can be used anywhere you’d use classic ranch!
For most of my vegan life, I’ve never bothered making homemade ranch. (Except during my oil-free phase when I crafted an avocado ranch dressing). I always thought Just Ranch was pretty tasty and inexpensive so on the rare occasions that I needed my fix, I would just buy a bottle.
However, it seems to be that for most of 2019, Just products have been on back order and basically missing from the stores that I shop at. Craving something to dip spicy foods into, we tried a couple of the vegan ranch recipes we found online.
The results made us a little sad. They were overly thick, tasted strongly of cashew (and the slight sweetness that comes along with it), and didn’t have that tangy flavor we’d come to expect from ranch. Two teaspoons of lemon juice for an entire cup of cashews? C’mon!
Luckily, it only took a few tweaks to make my ultimate vegan ranch, which is amazing because:
- Hemp seeds add a little bit of a funky, buttermilk-esque flavor and balance out the cashew flavor
- Rinsing the cashews well after soaking also helps avoid too strong of a cashew taste
- Plenty of lemon juice and vinegar make this vegan ranch nice and tangy
- A single tablespoon of oil gives this dressing or dip a great mouthfeel
- Fresh herbs pack in the flavor so you won’t notice that there’s no sour cream or mayo!
- This dairy-free, egg-free ranch is also gluten-free, soy-free, and has no added sweetener, and is made from nutritious whole foods! Plus, it has come to my attention that it’s paleo. Nearly everyone should be able to enjoy this dressing!
If you’re looking for a ranch dressing or dip that is both vegan as well as low-fat, then you can substitute a third of the hemp seeds and cashews with silken tofu. The result is something that’s both higher in protein and lower in fat, so you can dip away!
Stay tuned for a couple more easy recipes to put this vegan ranch to use too!
Vegan Ranch Dressing (or Dip)
Made from heart-healthy cashews and hemp seeds, packed with flavor from fresh herbs and tanginess from lemon juice, this vegan ranch can be used anywhere you'd use the "real thing"! (This happens to also be accidentally paleo...)
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 cup hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp celery seed (optional - see note)
- 4 tbsp fresh dill, parsley and/or chives (mix and match to preference)
Soak the cashews in hot water for 15 minutes. You can pour boiling water over them, or alternately, put them in a dish with water and microwave for 2 minutes, then let stand. Then, drain the cashews and rinse them well.
Add the drained and rinsed cashews to a blender along with the hemp seeds, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, water, and the fresh garlic clove if using. Blend until completely smooth, which may take several minutes depending on the power of your blender.
Add the garlic powder if using, onion powder, salt, pepper, and celery seed if using, and blend to combine. Finally, stir the fresh herbs into the
CELERY SEED: Kind of a traditional ingredient in ranch, but it does have a unique and strong flavor so it's not for everyone. Also, you may not want to buy celery seed just for this recipe, totally fair! Therefore, it's optional - I tested the recipe with and without it.
FRESH HERBS: Longtime readers will know I'm not the biggest fan of dried herbs (except for woody herbs like rosemary or thyme). For this recipe, you can substitute dried herbs at a ratio of 1 tsp dried per 1 tbsp fresh; but I'm better endorse the flavor when fresh.
FOR THE UTMOST AUTHENTIC "RANCH" FLAVOR: If you absolutely must have a tangy buttermilk flavor then you can add a pinch of nutritional yeast for umami, and a pinch of lactic acid, to the recipe.
RANCH DIP: Reduce the water to 1/2 cup, adding more to thin as needed from there.