I don’t plan too much before grocery shopping. I make sure my fridge and pantry are always stocked with my Lean Pantry staples and then I supplement with lots of fresh produce and some specialty ingredients. So, when I get cauliflower at the farmers market and decide to do buffalo cauliflower last minute, I love having this rich & creamy ranch dressing recipe up my sleeve. Yes, I love creamy dressings flavored with fresh herbs, but in some situations, a pantry-friendly version using only dried herbs, sunflower seeds, vinegar and olive oil is the best option, not to mention a delicious one.
I chose sunflower seeds for this recipe because their pale color when blended mimics that of traditional ranch dressing and keeps the dressing nut-free. While I don’t soak cashews when making my cashew creams, I soak sunflower seeds because they aren’t as soft. Any blender works for this, but to achieve a super creamy texture, a high speed/power blender is kinda necessary. Once blended, I simply stir in some spice rack staples and my acid of choice, that’s it.
Got fresh herbs and garlic? Scallions? Chives? Add some of those instead of the dried versions, there’s no right or wrong. I always have lemons and oat milk on hand, but if you don’t, vinegar and water are easy substitutes. I like to emphasize how customizable cooking is. Learning methods is more important than learning recipes, and this right here is a great method to learn.
Lean Pantry: Vegan Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
3/4 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/2 teaspoon onion granules or powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 teaspoons vinegar (white wine, apple cider or fresh lemon)
non dairy milk or water, to consistency
Add sunflower seeds to a small heat-safe bowl and cover with near boiling water. Allow sunflower seeds to sit for an hour, drain.
Blend soaked seeds with 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt until super smooth.
Combine sunflower seed cream with remaining ingredients. Add non-dairy milk or more water to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and more pepper, to taste.