This buttermilk ranch dressing is my all time favourite for fresh leaf lettuce. It is a light, refreshing creamy dressing that won’t weigh down tender new greens and is bursting with flavour thanks to fresh herbs.
Uses for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Fresh leafy greens or loose leaf lettuce beg for a light dressing that will complement their delicate texture and flavour. I usually choose this ranch dressing or my Lemon Chive Vinaigrette for the job. These dressings taste great, take advantage of fresh garden herbs and aren’t so heavy that they’ll cause those tender greens to be weighed down.
I like to arrange a mix of leafy greens, baby kale, spinach, fresh herbs, edible flower blossoms or whatever is available on a platter. By serving the dressing on the side, I keep the salad looking it’s best, I can keep leftovers in the fridge (dressed leafy greens do not store well) and everyone can add as much or as little dressing as they like.
But don’t limit this dressing to salad – here are some other ways to enjoy buttermilk ranch dressing.
- topping baked potatoes, perogies, falafel or boiled baby new potatoes
- alternative dressing for tuna, potato or egg salad or chicken salad
- substitute for sour cream
- dressing for any salad – not just the tender leafy greens – try it on salads made with dark leafy greens, romaine, pea shoots, chickpeas, pasta, whole grains, arugula, veggies, etc.
- use it for a creamy cucumber salad instead of my Classic German Cucumber Salad
- drizzle it on corn on the cob (for real!)
Recipe for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp vinegar
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh herbs to taste (dill, parsley, chives)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously or stir until smooth.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
What is Buttermilk?
It sounds like it’s rich, high fat and buttery, right? Well, it’s not. Buttermilk is the liquid left over when you make butter – all the fat goes into the butter, the liquid that is left behind is old-fashioned buttermilk and is virtually fat free. This slightly sweet liquid would usually be fermented so it would store longer. This gave it a slightly acidic flavour, which gives buttermilk its signature flavour and makes it perfect for buttermilk pancakes and biscuits.
Today, buttermilk is made by adding beneficial lactic acid bacteria to milk. The percentage of fat in buttermilk varies according to the fat content of the milk used, so look for skim or full fat buttermilk in the grocery store.
Buttermilk is a little thicker than regular milk with a slightly acidic flavour. Imagine the flavour and texture you’d get if you mix equal parts milk and yogurt.
The acid in buttermilk is what makes it ideal for baking, salad dressings and meat tenderizing. Because of this, you cannot simply replace buttermilk with milk. You need to somehow incorporate some acid. Here are my favourite ways of making a buttermilk substitute.
Milk & Lemon Juice – Add one tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup then add enough milk to make one cup. Stir well and let rest at least 5 minutes.
Milk & Yogurt – Mix equal parts milk and plain yogurt, stir well.
HOW TO STORE THIS SALAD AND DRESSING?
Once you dress tender fresh greens, they will not store very well at all. To keep your salad as fresh as possible, dress just before serving or better yet, serve the dressing on the side. This way, each person can add their desired amount and any leftover salad can be kept for another day.
Store this dressing in the fridge and use it and other creamy based dressings within 5-7 days.
If you make this dressing let me know what you think and how you used it. Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram at #getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.