Makeover The Best Selling Salad Dressing In America

July 20, 2011   18 Comments

Eating a lot of salad is a great way to maintain your health. And, when, you are asked which dressing you would like with that salad - many of you answer RANCH!

Healthy Ranch Dressing

Why? Because it tastes SO good. Creamy, salty, sour, yummy!

And, while I would love to tell you that companies make it with delicious zero calorie AIR, they do not :) They use ingredients like mayonnaise and sour cream to make this dressing taste so good.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with putting some fat on your salad. It is a great way to make those veggies palatable, and my kids will CHOW on carrot sticks if served some ranch dressing.

But, I did think it would be fun to see if I could cut the calories in ranch and get something recognizable. I managed to get my tablespoon of ranch dressing down to 26 calories. Kraft Ranch dressing is 74 calories per tablespoon.

How did I do it?

I substituted yogurt for the sour cream and then I made sure I added the SOUR back in with some apple cider vinegar. It works! This is a delicious salad dressing and no one will notice you dropped over 50 percent of the calories.

Trust me.

Now, for some extra added flavor add some garlic and/or some herbs that you may have in your fridge or garden. The more flavorful the dressing, the less of if you are going to use to make your salad pop.

Use any plain yogurt that you like - I used low fat plain yogurt.

Have you made over salad dressings? Please share your tricks.


Lower Calorie Ranch Dressing Recipe

1.6 from 15 reviews

(makes 3/4 cup)

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1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
minced fresh herbs (dill, basil, parsley) (optional)


Mix ingredients in small bowl and serve. This dressing will keep in your fridge for 2 weeks.

Nutrition Facts

For one tablespoon = 26 calories, 1.8 g fat, 2.0 g carbohydrates, 0.6 g protein, 0 g fiber, 200 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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My youngest daughter has an egg allergy so we can't do ranch dressing due to the mayonnaise in it. So, I've just been doing plain yogurt, like Stonyfield's whole milk yogurt with the cream on top with dry ranch dressing mix stirred in. It's sooooo good! I'm sure you could cut some fat out of that by using a low fat yogurt but we like the texture of the whole milk kind better.

This sounds like a good recipe. I like to make my own dressings just so I know it's got stuff I can pronounce! I am sad that all the bottled ranch I can find has MSG added. Ugh. Mixing up my own is easy. Thanks for a twist on the recipe with yogurt.

Do you use regular mayo or low-fat mayo? Thanks!

How clever, and it looks great! Although even regular ranch isn't a bad option - we need fat to absorb the nutrients in the salad! We just don't need globs of it :)

@Connie - I use regular mayo here - I think it tastes better and since I am using just a little - I believe the extra calories are worth it. Thanks for the question!

This is a great idea. I use dressing on everything but my salad, it's strange but I just don't like it and prefer something sweeter. Pizza, raw veggies, chicken, etc. I should try this out!


I have been making my own ranch with yogurt for awhile. Very yummy!

I like to puree a tub of cottage cheese then add ranch powder. Then I use a whole 1/2 cup of it to dip veggies in and I'm getting 14 g's of protein for about 100 cals.

I use buttermilk instead of that much mayonnaise. I taste it and add mayo if needed. But I do start with greek yogurt and the 2% kind. That adds creamy richness and good "sour".

Just make your own mayo. If people knew how easy it was Helmans would be out of business. Trading sourcream for yogurt is trivial. Your kids are still consuming a ton of hfcs from the commercial mayo. A better option would be to just roast some bell peppers on your stove top and toss them in a food processer with some home made mayo and lowfat sourcream or yogurt. Toss in some cumin, roasted garlic, whatever. You are adding nutrients as well as flavor and you aren't feeding your family watered down chemicals like in this posts recipe. Thats my two cents.

Snack Girl: what fat content in the plain yogurt? 0% Lowfat? regular or greek? Thanks.

To the person who suggesting making your own mayo-I've been wanting to do that-aren't you consuming raw eggs then though?? If not-please share recipe!thanks!

If you have ever ate an over easy egg you should have no fear of raw eggs. I have been in the restaurant biz for 14 years and I have yet to hear of someone getting sick from a raw egg. I serve them every day. Studdies back me up as well. What little salmonela could be in an egg isn't enough to hurt anyone. Hence how even Dennys serves eggs sunnyside up. Here's your recipe-

1 egg yolk
1 lemon
Oil of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

You can do this in a bowl with a wisk but a blender or food processor is easier.

Add the yolk and the juice of the lemon into bowl or mixer. SLOWLY drizzle in the oil. Stop when it looks like mayo. Too fast and it won't emulsify. Season to taste. That's it. A basic mayo. We seldom use recipes in restaurants so around a cup of oil could be right. Maybe more maybe less.

Add cucumbers, garlic,yogurt and fresh dill for tzatziki.

Add anchovies, dijon, garlic and parmesan for home mmade ceaser dressing.

Add avacado, fresh cilantro, roasted chilesand lime juice for a latin condiment that tastes good on anything.

Roast or grill some veggies of any kind(tomatoes rock) throw in some roasted garlic and tyme and trick your kids into eating healthy.

Add capers more lemon juice and the zest plus a little dijon.for the best tartar sauce ever.

Use whatever kind of oil you want. Olive for flavor, peanut for health. Hell you could splurge and use bacon fat for the best blt topping ever. What is important is that you know exactly what you are eating. On top of that it tastes 1000% better.

That is your basic recipe. You are welcome.

Lisa B. - Trader Joe's makes an egg and dairy free mayonnaise. And I agree with Chefprotoss if you buy FREE RANGE eggs from a local farmer. I get mine from Whole Foods because I haven't found a farmer to get my eggs from directly.

If you're concerned with becoming sick from raw egg; consider purchasing eggs that have been pasteurized :)

THANKS! been wanting a short/on-hand ingredient list for healthier ranch!

I am doing Weight Watcher, but love my salad to be covered in ranch. I use 1c of FF sour cream (7 points) and 1/4 c of FF half and half (1 point) and do 3/4 cup water. It is good and has the same consistency. For a total of 8 points for 32 tbsp. That makes 4 tbsp 1 point.

Don't like ranch but like oil and vinegar or lemon, like tart and sweet have any suggestions?

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