I remember liking ranch dressing as a kid. Really liking it. But nothing compares to how ranch plays out in a school cafeteria. Dunking pizza in it, drowning veggies in it–it really is an obsession. We do work to monitor this in the cafeteria as best we can; I was even the “ranch cop” one day, which didn’t make me very popular with the middle and high school students.
This got me to thinking: what is it about ranch that hooks us and keeps us coming back for (way too much) more? Its oil and dairy richness is enticing all its own, but it’s the combination of onion, garlic, parsley, pepper, and dill that makes it so delectable. I started researching how to put these spices in a different “vehicle,” one not so laden with buttermilk and mayonnaise. We came up with two winners: ranch hummus and healthy ranch dip.
First we tried ranch hummus, which was actually incredibly popular with high school students. The Greek yogurt gives it that tart kick and creaminess that buttermilk does in regular ranch. I was carrying it around to them during lunchtime in the cafeteria (wanting to somehow redeem myself from being ranch cop), and had them try it with plain tortilla chips. I suddenly started saying, “It’s better than a ranch Dorito!” This caught on and pretty soon it’s what one senior was telling another to get them to try it. They agreed that it would be good to pair with veggies, but not so much with pizza (c’est la vie!). Here’s the recipe: