Buttermilk Basil Ranch Dressing, It’s No Longer Cute

I will spare you the heat groans.  We all know it’s hot in Boston.  I’ve been calling it spicy, but on Day Four of scorching, it’s no longer cute. 

I haven’t turned on my stove in days and despite subsisting on salads and frozen fruit, I still feel puffy.  Until this business improves, I will be relying mostly on the aforementioned.

Impeccably timed really, I made a couple mason jars worth of ranch dressing earlier this week.  You know, before hell rose to the surface of the earth.  Never fear.  No heat necessary for this one.

Here’s what you do.  Secure a few fistfuls of basil, plus two shafts of scallions.  Mix in some chilled buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, a neutral oil, plus some seasoning.  Toss with vegetables that can sustain their crunch.

The preferred combination I’m working with includes sugar snap peas, sliced Easter egg radishes, a mix of raw Royal Burgundy and chartreuse green beans, and romaine.  Add in some cubes of sourdough and parmesan shards.  Plus a few mint leaves and a flick of fleur de sel.  The bread sops up any dressing that pools at the bottom of the bowl.  The result is a refreshing, creamy salad that straddles the line somewhere between Caesar and panzanella. 

If you get up the guts to actually cook something, some red potatoes would be very welcome, as well.  As for the big yellow bowl?  Yeah, I ate lunch out of it today.  Dainty went out the window six degrees ago.

Buttermilk Basil Ranch Dressing


2 fistfuls of basil (about 1-1½ cups)
2 scallions, the white and green parts
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup mayo
¼ cup cider or wine-based vinegar
1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
½-2/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil


Blend the first nine ingredients in a food processor.  Blend or whisk in oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, Dijon, mayo, and/or oil if it seems too wimpy.  Refrigerate.  The flavor gets better the longer it sits, ideally overnight.

Makes about 1 pint

-This can very easily adapt to other herbs.  Mint, cilantro, and chives would be winning.  It’s a wonderful, loosey goosey recipe.

-I seem to remember scribbling down the bones of this ranch recipe while listening to The Spendid Table a few years ago.  Though a quick recipe google search revealed nothing that Lynne Rossetto Kasper would now recognize.  I suspect it was adapted to the contents of my fridge at the time; the rest is history.

1 comment:

  1. This dressing has come just at the right time! It's gotten awfully hot and sticky in Chicago, and I've grown tired of my usual vinaigrette. Basil sounds just lovely in a salad dressing. I will just have to secure some more vegetables at the market. I have plenty of Parris Island lettuce, which is comparable to romaine, but that by itself hardly makes for a salad!