I’m a big fan of a tangy ranch dressing and will literally use it on anything and everything. I’m not such a fan of additives and preservatives and, where possible, prefer to make from scratch if I can, which is tricky when it comes to ranch dressing and so doesn’t happen very frequently.
Recently I read about two things that come together perfectly for this weeks recipe, namely aqua faba and vegan mayonnaise. I was aware that aqua faba (the liquid in a can of chick peas) could be used to create vegan meringues, but I hadn’t made the link that it might also be used to create vegan versions of other egg-based dishes.
The other thing I read (confession: I actually saw it on a video) was an easy and foolproof method to make mayonnaise using a stick blender. No more would making mayonnaise entail standing by a blender going full tilt and adding the oil drop by drop, crossing everything that it wouldn’t split. No – in this method, you add everything to a tall container at once, stick in your stick blender and in less than a minute, you have deliciously thickened mayonnaise. There is, of course, a little trick to just how you blend the ingredients – but it’s still incredibly stress free and simple.
So here we have a combination of all the new things I learned coming together in a wonderfully tangy vegan ranch dressing.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
This recipe uses all of the liquid from a single can of chick peas, and makes a very generous amount of finished dressing. If you’d rather save some of your aqua faba for other things, just halve the recipe. I’ve also used a mixture of fresh and dried herbs, but you can go with all dried at a pinch to make this a genuine storecupboard dressing.
200ml aqua faba (all the liquid from 1 can of chick peas)¹
2tbs mild yellow mustard (I used American)
1tsp ground white pepper
1tsp coarse black pepper
2tsp dried garlic granules
2tsp onion powder
350ml vegetable oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
2tbs dried parsley
1tbs dried dill leaves
4tbs fresh parsley, chopped finely
2tbs fresh dill, chopped finely
- Put the aqua faba, salt, mustard, peppers, garlic, onion powder and oil into a tall container or jug.
- The oil will settle in a layer on the top.
- Put your stick blender into the container/jug until the head of the blender is resting flat on the bottom.
- Start the blender on slow speed and keep the head of the blender on the bottom of the container.
- The spinning of the blades will slowly draw the oil downwards and mix it evenly with the other ingredients.
- When the bottom layer has been thoroughly mixed, keep the blender going and slowly lift it upwards, gradually drawing more oil into the mix. You’ll need to brace the container with your other hand as the spinning blades create quite some suction.
- When the blender reaches the surface, tilt it to the side a few times and incorporate some air into the mixture, which will help thicken it.
- When the mixture is thoroughly combined, stir through lemon juice to taste (I like to use 3-4 tbs, use more or less as you prefer), the fresh and dried dill and chopped parsley.
- Store in a covered container the fridge.
I like to use this dressing on everything: caesar salad, potato salad, and especially this salad that I’ve been enjoying ever since I worked in the Middle East in the 1990s. It’s based on a Lebanese salad called Fattoush, but over the years it’s become more and more loosely related. Now it’s more Fattoush-ish. Bonus: it uses the chickpeas from making the dressing!
There are no rules as such for this salad, more like a couple of guidelines. You can pick and choose with whatever you have to hand. The three core components are lettuce, toasted pita bread with herbs – for crunch! – and cooked chick peas. This version is vegan, but feel free to turn it into a main course salad by adding some cubed cheese, nuts or other proteins.
2tbs olive oil
a mixture of dried herbs – rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage, etc
lettuce (gem, cos/romaine)
cooked chick peas, drained
fresh parsley, finely shredded
fresh mint, finely shredded
sumac (authentic, but optional)
- Split the flatbread and toast the outsides under a grill.
- Brush the insides with the oil and sprinkle over the dried herbs.
- Toast the insides. Be careful not to overdo them, because the bread is already thin.
- Set aside to cool.
- To Assemble
- Rinse and pat dry your lettuce leaves and arrange in a bowl.
- Scatter over your prepared salad ingredients. I like to be able to see all the different ingredients in a single layer, but you can also toss them together if liked.
- Break the toasted flatbread into small pieces and add to the dish.
- Sprinkle over the shredded parsley and mint and sumac if using.
- Serve with the above ranch dressing or your own favourite.
In Case You Missed It: over on Deja Food, this week’s recipe is Harlequin Salad
¹ 200ml-ish is fine – The amount of liquid can vary in a tin, but anything from 180-210ml is fine.