Monday, February 27, 2012

Original Recipe - Shelly's Cashew Ranch Dressing

If you knew me back in the day before I started eating a plant based diet, you knew me as fat and unhealthy with an IV in my arm that was dripping ranch dressing. I used it on everything and it showed.

I am trying to not use processed oils unless I have to so I wanted to come up with a dressing that I could use that would keep me satisfied and away from my favorite dressings that were made with olive oil.

I wanted a yummy vegan ranch that did not use any sort of processed oils, tofu, nut milk, non-dairy sour cream or non-dairy mayo.  I wanted a dressing that had a great mouth feel - thick, creamy, rich and delicious.

I made this a subtle flavored dressing because veggies taste good... they don't need a strong flavor overpowering them. Dressing should enhance, not cover. Plus, the cashews give you the natural fat that you need to help digest the veggies!

If you want a yummy ranch dip for veggies, just add less water. I created this recipe using dried herbs because it's February in Illinois and that is what is available in my house right now!

TIP:  Make spice packets for later. Set out individual bowls and measure out the spices into each one. Place the spice blend from each bowl into a baggie. Then you just have to add a baggie of the spices to the cashews and water when you want to make it. Saves time! It's just like buying packs from the grocery store except this doesn't contain MSG and crap ingredients.

Feel free to share my recipe but I want you to link back to this page on my blog when doing so. Thank you!

Shelly's Cashew Ranch Dressing

1 cup raw cashews (soaked at least one hour.. go 4 hours if you don't have a VitaMix or BlendTec)
3/4 to 1 1/8 cup water (depends on how thick you want it)

4 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried chives
2 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed if you can)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (regular is fine too)

1. Soak cashews in water for at least an hour.
2. Drain the cashews, rinse and combine them with 3/4 cup fresh water in a strong blender.
3. Blend until it's basically smooth.
4. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend, blend, blend until it's nice and smooth.
5. Add as much of the remaining water as necessary until you reach the desired consistency for dressing or dip.

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