Over the weekend I treated myself to lunch at a local vegan restaurant in Ketchum, Idaho named Glow Live Food Cafe. Although I am never disappointed with their delightful menu and staff, I was truly amazed during this particular visit. I chose the Sun Valley Wrap; Cabbage greens filled with avocado, mixed greens, carrots, tomato, and quinoa. The woman taking my order promptly asked, ‘What dressing would you like with that?’. Scanning the menu my eyes landed on the hemp ranch, ‘Is the ranch vegan?’ I asked. With an ‘of course it is, this is a vegan restaurant,’ look in her eyes she responded, ‘Yes it is’. ‘Perfect, that is what I’ll have,’ and off she went.
Normally I wouldn’t order a wanna-be-processed-whole-food such as ranch. When I went vegan, then eventually raw vegan, I didn’t indulge in the ‘substitute foods’ which support people through the transition from processed foods to whole foods. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, they simply weren’t foods I was interested in. The veggie hot dogs, vegan bacon, meatless slim jims and tofurkey italian sausages, to put it plainly, frightened me. These foods are more processed than many meats! I’d rather eat an organic elk pepperoni stick, shot, cleaned, and processed by a friend, than any meatless ‘Primal Stick’. I wanted to change my eating to include whole foods, natural foods, and plant based options, not replace the processed foods in my diet with different processed foods.
By eating nothing but whole foods I stopped buying dressings or dips because of the added chemicals which help the shelf life of the product. To this day I mainly dress my salads with vinegar and oil and possibly salt and pepper, although I do try and avoid salt (if it were up to me I would have already eaten all the salt in the world, but having high blood pressure at 23 was a bit alarming- I’ve been trying to quit ever since). But on this outing to Glow I was inspired. Not only to try a new recipe, I was inspired because I knew I was tasting whole foods the way they are made to taste: creamy and fresh while adding nutrients which feed the body.
I remembered ranch wasn’t created by Kraft Foods. It was created by Americans mixing buttermilk, garlic, salt, and dill to make a heavenly dip for their vegetables. Glow simply took out the dairy and added seeds to create the creamy taste. In keeping with this original recipe, I have blended the best of many different vegan ranch dressing recipes out there together, creating SUPER VEGAN RANCH!
What You’ll Need:
Vita-mix (or other high power blender)
1 ¼ cup raw cashews
¾ cup water
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp agave or maple syrup (or honey which would make it vegetarian)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp diced onion
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp horseradish
½ tsp cayenne pepper
What To Do:
Measure cashews and put them in a bowl. Fill bowl with water and allow cashews to soak for 1-4 hours. Drain cashews.
Put all ingredients into blender, including pre-soaked cashews.
Blend well for 1-2 minutes (if using a Vita-mix only go to variable speed 10).
This dressing has 50-60 calories per tbsp. It is a ‘whole food’ and packs essential fats, proteins, and immune fighting anti-inflammatories. I can’t think of a healthier way to enjoy salads, flaxseed crackers, zucchini chips, or (my husband’s’ favorite) organic chicken wings grilled on the barbecue, smothered in homemade sriracha, and dipped in delicious creamy ranch dressing!
Dressing is ready! Store in a glass jar with a tight lid.
It will last 10-14 days, but will probably be gone sooner!
Panthers vs. Broncos: Who do you want to win?
As far as I’m concerned, football ended three weeks ago when Green Bay lost in the divisional round, but I’ll take the opportunity to enjoy veggies dipped in ranch!