Friday, September 18, 2009

MSG-free Ranch Dressing Mix

I am a HUGE fan of salads! I love green, pasta, coleslaw and bean salads! I especially love the summer months when most ingredients come fresh from my organic garden! But, there is a bad side to salads...the dressing. And oh, how I love dressing. Almost as much as I love the salad.

Everyone knows about the "hidden" fats in dressings, but some don't realize that a lot of "name brand" dressings have MSG hidden in them! Reading labels are very important, but understanding what the ingredients actually are is even more so! Here is a partial list of the "alias's" of MSG: Autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavor (Huh? And here I thought "natural" meant "from the outdoors"!), protein hydrolysate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient. This is only a few of the names. For more info on the names and effects of MSG, just type MSG in your Google box! You will be amazed at the links!

So, how do I dress-up my salads? Fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, raw honey mixed with a little dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar mixed with a little olive oil are some of my favorites. Then there are the times when Ranch dressing is the only way to go! So I make up my own and store it in a squeeze bottle for quick toppings to salads and a nice dip for sliced veggies.

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

5 Tbl. minced onions
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. sea salt
3 1/2 Tbl. parsley flakes

Mix and pour into an airtight container.

To make dressing: Mix 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup mayonnaise (read the labels!) & 1 Tbl. ranch mix.
To make dip: Mix 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt with 1 Tbl. ranch mix.

I don't know where I got this recipe, but we have used it for years and now can't touch the store-bought stuff! And after reading the labels, who would want to?

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