By Cassie Johnston
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Ready in 35 minutes
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I’ve been officially off diary for about five months now, and, I have to say, it’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I miss a really good cheesy pizza, but other than that (and, okay, mac and cheese), I’m really not missing many dairy foods. Which is a total shocker, because I’d say before my daughter was diagnosed with a MSPI intolerance, a very large portion of my diet came from dairy foods.
The biggest reason why it hasn’t been a huge change? My beloved friend, the coconut. Between coconut milk and coconut oil, I’ve pretty much been able to substitute for almost every single dairy food I’d normally eat. I’ve even got my family cooking with coconut milk! I loved coconut before I had to give up dairy, but now, I’m absolutely obsessed with it! I doubt I’ll be dairy-free forever (I <3 feta), but I do think even after Juniper outgrows her intolerance, I’ll still stick to many of my favorite coconut substitutes—like this super healthy, super tasty coconut milk ranch dressing.
This dressing is, obviously, delicious on salads, but I’ve also found a bunch of other tasty uses for it in my kitchen. I’ve been using it as a sauce on a chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza. The creamy, flavorful sauce almost makes up for the fact that there isn’t any cheese on the pizza. I’ve used it as a marinade for chicken. I’ve used it as a dip for cut veggies (because, as much as I love bean dip, I need a little variety in my life).
To give this dressing the most flavor, you’ll want to use fresh herbs wherever you can. But since it is January, chances are, you’ll probably be using mostly dried. That’s cool, too. I’ve listed the amounts for both fresh and dried. If you do use mostly dried, just make sure to let the dressing rest in the fridge for a good hour or two before using to help bring out the flavors. And if you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful, booming windowsill herb garden, use the heck out of those fresh herbs! It’ll add some much-needed bright, fresh flavor to this gray and dreary month.
If you’ve made the commitment to a healthy lifestyle in 2015, easy swaps like this ranch dressing are a great place to start. Store-bought ranch dressings are notoriously unhealthy. At the very least, most are huge calorie bombs, and at the worst, many pack artificial flavors and nasty chemicals. Seems kinda counterproductive to drizzle that stuff on your veggie-packed salad, eh? This coconut milk ranch dressing is full of 100% real and healthy ingredients, and it’s a much lighter option—it clocks in at about 80 calories per serving, which is about half the regular store-bought ranch dressing.
4.5 from 4 reviews
This coconut milk ranch dressing is a light, healthy and dairy-free way to enjoy your favorite salad.
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Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. How long can u keep this in fridge? Although it doesn’t sound like it will last that long!
If you use dried herbs, I’d say two weeks or more, fresh herbs, I’d go a little shorter—maybe a week?
Can’t wait to try, this looks awesome!
I try to be more dairy free myself because it just doesn’t sit well with me. I too cannot give up my feta and don’t even get my started on sour cream! ;)
As for you wanting mac & cheese, check out this recipe: http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-green-chili-mac-n-cheese/ It is SO GOOD! I made it for a NYE party at our house and our cheesy friends loved it.
YUM! Do you think the Nutritional Yeast is a must? I’ve tried so hard to like the stuff, but I just can’t get on board.
Some think that “Brewers Yeast” is the same as “Nutritional Yeast” – it is NOT. Brewers Yeast has a very disagreeable taste – whereas Nutritional Yeast has a much lighter, almost cheesy taste and is a bright yellow color.
Brooke, have you tried Tofutti’s Sour Supreme or Better than Sour Cream? They are dairy free and I promise the taste is SO close to the real thing, even my cat loves to sneak a lick off my plate ;)
God Bless you for including the variations for dried/fresh. Thank you for recognizing its January!
My mom and I were JUST saying how we want to start making salad dressing, and then I see this post on my Bloglovin’. Perfect! I can’t wait to try it out! Coconut milk sure is a lifesaver, huh?
This sounds good- thanks for sharing. We are not daily free but we like to add pureed butternut squash to our mac & cheese (usually half noodles & half cauliflower) in order to reduce the amount of milk and cheese in it. It makes it creamy and so delicious my kids love it.
Thanks for sharing- it looks yummy! We are not dairy free but we add butternut squash puree to our mac and cheese to reduce the amount of milk and cheese in it. It is creamy and very delicious that my kids gobble it up.
This looks incredible. Also, may I suggest Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cooking? http://www.theppk.com/ I got her “Isa Does It” cookbook for Christmas last year and I cook out of her vegan recipes constantly. I just made a batch of the “Nacho Cheese” (made with cashews) and for lunches over rice and beans with kale chips this week. OMG SO GOOD. Also, she’s super fun. Here’s a variation on it for “Mac and Cheese”: http://www.theppk.com/2013/10/roasted-red-pepper-mac-cheese-video/ Anyway, always interested in your dairy-free recipes, even though I love everything cheese. Sometimes vegan recipes sneak up and surprise me as being as good/better than my cheesy recipes – and I feel better afterwards. SCORE!
Unfortunately, so many of those vegan “cheese” recipes use nutritional yeast to get the cheesy flavor, and I no matter how many times I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to get on board with the flavor. :(
Here’s a really good cheese sauce recipe that doesn’t use nutritional yeast flakes..
We love it.
I haven’t eaten dairy in years and years, partly because I’m lactose intolerant and because I’m vegan. One of the first things I made was creamy salad dressing and used coconut milk. It is now my go-to for all things creamy! This looks incredible!
This sounds great! Question – do you use the coconut milk that comes in a can, or the coconut milk in the carton that’s in the refridgerator section?
In the can. :)
Do you know the nutritional information for the dressing? I’m trying to count calories etc.
Nope, I don’t count calories. But there are lots of great nutrition calculators out there that can help you out. :)
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made this dressing. It is perfect. Unfortunately, it’s obnoxiously high maintenance, haha (for me anyway – workin’ on that). But every time I have it on hand I’m so glad to have it. Especially right now on a ridiculous low-sugar, non-dairy diet. It’s on my favorites list!
Has anybody tried making this sans mayo? We can’t do eggs, I’m thinking that the solid cream from the can of coconut might work out, with a bit of lemon for added flavor lost from the mayo. I’ve been eating dairy-free the last couple of months, and I find that solid coconut cream (I appreciate Native Forest for taste and insane amounts of solid cream, more than half of every can) slightly warm, with a tiny sprinkle of salt makes a wonderful butter substitute on scones, muffins, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, et cetera. Delicious.
I just tried this without mayo very close to what you suggested. Mostly just used the fat from a can of coconut milk plus a bit of the water to thin it out. I also added a few teaspoons of olive oil to add just a touch of that mayo consistency. I cut the herbs mostly in half since I only had about half the base ingredients. Only used ACV since that’s what I had on hand. It turned out REALLY well. The texture after being in the fridge all night is sort of like whipped butter, so great as a veggie dip. Maybe more of the coconut water next time if I’m going for salad dressing. Flavor is spot on.
Just wondering how mayonnaise is dairy free…
Mayonnaise is made up of eggs, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. No dairy! https://wholefully.com/2014/08/07/how-to-make-mayo-at-home/
I just mde it and love love love it!!!
Mayonnaise has dairy in it.
Sorry, I was wrong. It doesn’t have dairy. I was thinking eggs. We can’t have either in our house. I’m just getting it all confused. The recipe looks great though!
I thought the recipe given might be *too* herb-y for my picky kids, so I doubled the coconut milk and mayo and used the same amount of herbs and seasonings.
Yum! And it hasn’t even chilled a while yet to let the flavors mingle! My youngest, who is SOOOOO hard to please with food, gave an immediate two-thumbs-up!
I’m very excited to try this, but I can’t have mayonaise. Do you know if there are any egg-free substitutes that be used?
This is an awesome recipe, and I use it often when having guests. Ive never made more than a single batch at a time, and never have any left over, but Im wondering:
How does this freeze? The recipe only uses maybe 1/4 of the can of milk, and I am always at a loss for what to do with the rest. Im thinking maybe just making like a quadruple batch, and freezing it for future use, but I have no idea how it’ll come out once thawed.
Anyone tried this?
I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it would freeze well – I suspect it would separate oddly when you thawed it. But you could pour the extra coconut milk into an ice cube tray and freeze that, then thaw it in the future for more batches of dressing!
Instead of the Mayo I used 0% FAGE yogurt and it was amazing!
Oh, that is a great idea!!
I’m new to the Paleo lifestyle … I wonder if the yogurt is workable? Guess I better look around for an answer!
Great post! Have nice day ! :) maesv
This is the best dressing in the world! I make it often and even my dairy loving people enjoy it and can’t tell any difference. So glad I found this recipe.
Hi im interested in making this salad dressing, but I would like to know how long this product will last, because im doing it for a food processing project.
do you use unsweetened or sweetened coconut milk?
Unsweetened – the kind that comes in a can!
New to the Paleo lifestyle … do you know if this recipe is Paleo? The Mayo is my main concern – I guess I could make my own Mayo & then make this recipe. Hmm … any other suggestions on what I could use for Paleo. I know I should know what I can & can’t have with Paleo – but I’m still learning.
*AND this recipe sounds wonderful!!
It sure is paleo, if you use paleo-friendly mayo—which you can either make yourself (it’s so easy!) or you can buy paleo mayo brands at most major grocery stores now. Good luck!
Great dairy free option for ranch dressing. Can this be frozen to be eaten at a later time?
I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!
This is super simple to make and so tasty!! It was a hit in my home :P
I will make this from now on and ditch anything store bought!!
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