Ranch lover for life here. I was that girl who required a 1:1 ratio of pizza to ranch. I drenched my salads in the stuff. If chips or any other packaged snacks came in a “ranch” flavor option, I’d sign myself up. It’s right up there with my mayo addiction.
Since going vegan, I’ve enjoyed the Follow Your Heart ranch-style dressing and the Hampton Creek Just Ranch. Both are strikingly convincing alternatives, but let’s admit it: neither of them is particularly healthy. When you add as much ranch to your food as I like to, the oil and sugar can add up.
Enter this creamy cashew ranch. It’s a simple recipe that is just as velvety and rich as the real thing, with no added oil. Fresh dill, chives and parsley add beautiful color and flavor.
My favorite thing about this dressing is that since it’s made of good ingredients, I can slather it all over my pizza, salads, sandwiches and crudités in good conscience.
What is Lactic Acid Powder?
This ingredient is great to have in your arsenal if you’re dabbling in homemade plant-based cheeses. It lends a distinctive tartness which mimics that of cultured dairy, so it will make this taste like a buttermilk ranch.
Not all lactic acid powder will be vegan-friendly, but the kind I use from Modern Pantry is derived from beets. I’m aware this is a very niche ingredient to have on-hand, so feel free to sub in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar instead.
How to Make Creamy Vegan Cashew Ranch
This recipe will come out the best if you have access to a high-powered blender, because it’ll allow you to purée the cashews till they’re extremely smooth. It can also be useful to use a tamper if your blender comes with one, especially if you want your ranch to come out on the thicker side.
If you’re working with a regular blender or a food processor, make sure that you soak your cashews overnight! This is a must. It will soften them up so it’ll be easier to achieve a smooth texture. Also be sure to scrape down the sides of your blender/food processor often to ensure everything is evenly blended.
Can You Make this Without Cashews?
If you can’t eat cashews (or don’t enjoy them), your best bet is probably to use a 16 oz tub of store-bought vegan sour cream. Make sure it’s one that has a flavor you enjoy on its own.
You can technically make the recipe with an equivalent volume of blanched, slivered almonds, but this will definitely impact the flavor, and almonds tend to retain a bit more grittiness when blended.
How to Store Vegan Cashew Ranch
This ranch keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. The water and cashews may separate (since there’s no oil acting as an emulsifier), but a quick stir and it’s refreshed and ready! After the first night in the fridge, it may also thicken slightly as the cashews absorb the water. You can thin it out by whisking in some extra water a teaspoon at a time.
Creamy Vegan Cashew Ranch
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
- 3/4 – 1 cup water
- 1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives chopped*
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill chopped*
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped*
- 1 teaspoon lactic acid powder; or juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse soaked cashews and blend together with 3/4 cup water. Add more water to thin out depending on desired consistency.
- Stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.