As a kid in the late 70's, I remember my mom having salad on a regular basis. She would always pull out several commercial salad dressings, including Ott's (my Dad's favorite), Catalina and Creamy Italian. Creamy Italian was my dressing of choice, not because I loved it but because it covered the raw veggies and made them more palatable to me. Occasionally, we'd go to a potluck at church and there would be the standard vegetable tray with that Ranch dip made with mayo. I would always pile my plate up with raw veg and get a nice, large spoonful of that cool, creamy dip, wishing I could have that same flavor on my salad at home. Then, my mom came home from the grocery store one day with a bottled version of Hidden Valley Ranch! It instantly became my favorite dressing...not one I just put up with.
Over 10 years ago, Matt and I made the decision for me to become a stay-at-home-mom. My job was no longer making money but SAVING money. That meant when it came to food, if I could make it instead of buying it, I would. Not only did this save us money, but it also cut down on preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. (The stuff I call "Frankenfood.")
Now, what does that have to do with Ranch dressing??? I decided to start making Ranch dressing from scratch. Searching the internet, I found a recipe that was designed to be "light". Now, generally, "light" items have ingredients that are not necessarily "normal". Just check out the difference between light mayo and regular mayo some time. So I tweaked the recipe to make it fit my family's needs. It takes me around five minutes to make this dressing AND it is a third of the cost than buying it. If you feel you must reduce the fat, then use plain non-fat yogurt and fat-free buttermilk. Just keep in mind that the dressing will be thinner if you use yogurt.
1 c. mayonnaise
2/3 c. sour cream or plain yogurt (Update: Try using homemade sour cream )
1/2 c. buttermilk (fat free is fine too)
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. thyme (or whatever dry herb you'd like to use)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper (fresh ground is preferable)
Stir all ingredient together in a medium bowl with a whisk. Store in the refrigerator. Makes a little over 2 cups.