Just as I had hoped, summer is back. Two days of grey skies and rain is okay by me and it’s more than good for all the gardens and farms out there too. But I’m so happy to have back the sunshine and warm summer evenings. Ahhh, now it feels like July! And the perfect meal for those hot summer nights is a crunchy refreshing vegetable salad. I love chopped salads because they’re just so easy: chop the vegetables into bite-sized chunks, pour over some homemade dressing, et voilà, a fresh and tasty meal.
This time, I tried something different: ranch dressing. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of ranch…it’s too creamy and bland and I miss the tart pucker that only a vinaigrette provides. But then I saw a photo on Gluten-Free Girl’s blog and it made me want ranch dressing. Like really, really want ranch dressing. So I bought some buttermilk and got to work. I modified her version based on the ingredients that I already had and the results were deliciously wonderful. Yes, the ranch dressing was creamy but it had a good balance of flavour between the tang of the buttermilk, the bite of the lemon and all the earthy spices. This recipe makes a lot which is so perfect to have in the fridge when CSAs & farmer’s markets stuff your crisper with more vegetables than you know what to do with. When you’ve got a mason jar full of homemade dressing, it’s easy to whip up a quick salad to make use of your greens or snack on a platter of raw vegetables. And – if this is something you might be into – this ranch dressing doctored with a habanero hot sauce is just perfect for dipping your take-out pizza crusts into. You know, if you do that kind of thing.
Want more summer salad ideas? Let me dig deep into my archives…
Colourful chopped vegetable salad
Green bean quinoa salad
Marinated vegetable salad
Mixed bean salad
Raw vegetable salad with yogurt-feta dressing
Vegetable slaw with jalapeno-lime dressing
chopped vegetable salad with zesty ranch dressing
(adapted from Gluten-Free Girl)
2 c snowpeas, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into coins
3/4 c corn
1/2 green cabbage, shredded & chopped
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 c buttermilk
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c mayonnaise
juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
1 t honey
1 fat clove garlic, minced
2 T freshly grated onion
1 large pinch each of dried dill & oregano
1/4 t sweet Spanish paprika
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
a shake or two of hot sauce
Chop all the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.
To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients until combined. Taste & adjust seasoning if necessary. This makes a lot of dressing, so just use enough dressing for the salad. Pour dressing liberally (or not, depending on taste) and toss salad to combine.
Place remaining dressing into a tightly lidded container and keep in the fridge for about a week or so.