Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vegan and Soy Free Ranch Revised

  Before we found out about Jack's rice allergy, the very best way we'd found to make dairy free ranch dressing was to use soy free Vegenaise as a base. (Recipe here). Since we lost rice, we've found a few different yummy ways to make salad dressings and dips that are creamy and tasty, but they were never quite right.

  Well this recipe is still not 100% Hidden Valley, but it is so close I bet most non-vegan or allergy restricted partakers would not think it was dairy free. ((Since this is made with nuts, one of the top 8 allergens, it's probably wise to inform your guests about it's ingredients before they eat it though).

  I used my Blendtec blender for this. If you do not have as powerful a blender, you can still make this recipe but you may have to blend it for much longer, or ideally soak your cashews in water the night before.

Vegan and Soy Free Cashew Ranch

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2+ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil

In a blender, add cashews and water and blend until smooth (Using the Blendtec I went to speed 2 and let it run it's whole cycle twice). This could be 5 or more minutes using a less powerful blender and unsoaked cashews.
In a separate small bowl, add almond milk and lemon juice and allow to sit for a few minutes until 'curdled'.
Once the cashews are smooth, add the almond milk/ lemon juice mixture, olive oil, and all seasonings to blender and blend until completely combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. We ended up using about 1 tsp salt altogether.

You can also add other seasonings to this such as chipotle powder or pepper corns. The cashew cream, olive oil, and almond milk/lemon juice mixture makes an excellent base for lots of dips and dressings, more than once we have a had a great tasting salad dressing that I can never recreate because I just threw things into the blender, so feel free to experiment!
It even makes a pretty good mayonnaise substitute (add salt). It should not be watery, if it is add more cashews to the mix and blend again. It will thicken even more in the fridge.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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