I love vegan ranch dressing in the summer. It's refreshing on a summer day. It's perfect on top of a salad, in a buffalo wrap, or for dipping vegetables or breadsticks. It works in so many different ways, I almost always have a jar in the fridge. So I thought what about a cool dill-based ranch dressing for the hot days ahead?
While making a ranch dressing with vegan mayo is incredibly simple, making a whole-food plant based version is nearly as simple: soak some nuts, and then add spices. Sure, you need to get out the blender instead of merely the whisk... but the health benefits are worth the extra effort, right?
Pretty easy, right? You'll enjoy a cool dill flavored, garlicy, citrusy treat in under 10 minutes. I feel like using dill instead of parsley for this one adds an extra cooling flavor for the hot summer days. I use this in my summer wraps as a thick dip that holds everything together (drizzle it with some hot sauce too!), and this week I mixed a bunch of cucumbers with this dressing for a refreshing side salad.
Soaking cashews or almonds
Soaking the nuts in advance of blending will make the dressing a bit creamier. The longer the soak, the creamier the dressing. The pictured dressing was a fairly quick almond soak, so expect a creamier dressing if you give the nuts the whole time. And try different nuts for different texture and flavor profiles. I tend to prefer cashews for this, but the pictured vegan dressing was made with almonds and the result was great.
Submerge the nuts in warm (not hot) water in a large glass container. You will want to use about twice as much water as the amount of nuts, as they will expand as they soak the water (for example, 1 cup of warm water for 1/2 cup of nuts). Add about 1 tsp of quality salt for every cup of water. Let sit at room temperature for about 6-8 hours, covered loosely with cheesecloth or a towel. Thoroughly rinse the nuts after soaking, and use immediately.
Note: If you are not using the nuts in a recipe right away, then you will want to dehydrate or roast them to remove the water content so they do not mold.
Follow the method above, but use boiling water instead of warm water, and let soak for about 10 minutes instead of 6-8 hours. Note that due to the boiling water this will remove some of the nutritional benefits of using raw nuts, such as live enzymes.
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