Creamy Kefir Salad Dressing or Fake "RANCH" (gluten free, vegetarian, egg free)

In college, I worked at our campus cafeteria my freshman year. My worst shift was a 7 a.m. salad bar prep shift on Monday mornings. Part of it involved making HUGE quantities of tuna salad in enormous bowls, dumping gallon-sized jars of mayonnaise in with frightening amounts of pickle relish and tuna, and mixing with your elbow-length glove covered hands. Of the three of us that worked the shift, one girl was allergic to latex and couldn't wear the big gloves, and the other refused to do it. So, that left little old vegetarian me to take the fishy plunge. I was raised with a strong Midwestern work ethic.

The other horrible part of working the shift was making the Ranch dressing. Ranch dressing, in my opinion, is disgusting. It is overly creamy and goopy, with a fake yucky overly salty flavor that doesn't exist in nature, it only exists in the Hidden Valley from whence Ranch came. I think it ruins perfectly good vegetables, and should be removed from every salad bar on earth. But college kids love ranch. For everything. For french fries, for chicken fingers, for breadsticks, for pizza, for chips, for sandwiches, for pouring on their trays and making a mess just for fun. And some even put it on vegetable and salads. My fellow students went through frightful amounts of ranch. So, in response, they'd (more like, I'd) make it in huge batches, using a floor mixer that stood about 4 ft high and had the biggest mixing bowl I've ever seen. Buttermilk, mayonnaise, big pouches of Ranch powder, and other stuff would get poured in, and this huge mixer would whisk it all together. Gallons and gallons and gallons of Ranch would suddenly appear. Granted, it was homemade - they really used buttermilk and good mayo - and it wasn't filled with as much weird stuff as the Ranch one buys in the store. But homemade or not, it was still Ranch, and it grossed me out. Hell, seeing that much Ranch every Monday morning along would make anyone sick. The worse part of the whole thing was dumping in the Ranch powder, because it would kick up and you'd inhale it into your nose and it would make you sneeze weird Ranchy sneezes. Gross.

Ranch, it is time to go back to where you came from. Because there is a new creamy dressing in town, and its good bacteria is going to kick your ass all the way back to the Hidden Valley.

I've recently taken to making a salad dressing dip thing out of goat milk kefir. It almost reminds me of Ranch. But it is way better, because it isn't quite as heavy and oily, is full of probiotic goodness, has the tasty bite unique to kefir, and can be flavored with your favorite herbs in an instant. If using fresh herbs, mince very small. Dried herbs work very well in this recipe. Depending on how thick your kefir is, this dressing may be very thick or may be quite thin.

No Ranch powder, no weird additives, no big floor mixer. Delightful on salads or used as a dip for veggies.
Or chicken wings or chips, I suppose.


yield: about 1 c


1 c kefir (I use goat, but cow would be just as good)
1-2 T flax seed oil, olive oil, or sesame oil
1/2 tsp sea salt or Herbamare
limentary fresh or dried herbs/seasonings of choice, such as:

  • garlic powder, basil, pepper
  • lemon juice or zest, dill weed, chives
  • coriander, cumin, cayenne
  • herbes de provence
  • savory, thyme, dried onion
  • grated ginger and minced green onion
  • poppy seeds, almond extract, and a pinch of stevia or agave
  • "RANCH": 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dill weed, 1 tbsp. parsley, 1 tsp. onion powder (courtesy of
Whisk together all ingredients, or put in a jar and shake super fast until totally mixed.  Let sit a couple hours to fully flavor through, then use! Should keep in the fridge for about a week.