Every day the debate rages on about what is vegan and what is not. Ranch dressing finds its way into the discussion as vegans also want to tastefully enjoy their salads as everyone else does. So, this begs the question, is ranch truly vegan? That depends on its composition and what that means for vegans. All this is explored below, so why not check it out?
There is even some useful information specific to a few brands that often come up in this discussion.
What is Ranch?
Ranch (commonly known as ranch dressing) can be described as a type of seasoning or salad dressing. It is mostly made up of salt, buttermilk, garlic, sour cream, onion, and herbs such as parsley, dill, chives, as well as spices such as paprika, ground mustard seeds, and black peppers. All these ingredients are integrated into a sauce based on oil emulsion and mayonnaise.
While all this sounds good, you might wonder what such a flavor combination is like. To answer, it has a creamy and tangy taste with a kick.
The Verdict: Is Ranch Vegan?
The answer to the big question is no, ranch seasoning and dressing are not regarded as vegan. That is mainly because of the buttermilk. While it does consist of several plant-based ingredients, one is enough to ruin the possibility. If you want it to be vegan, it is easy to locate a vegan-flavor ranch or opt to make your own.
The specific ingredients that make ranch not considered vegan include:
Cultured Milk Products
For decades, these products have been used in making ranch and have been thought to confer human health benefits. Dairy has several potentially negative implications on a person’s health but offers a few beneficial probiotics. Luckily for vegans, the are other products on the market today that do the same.
The most used milk ingredient in Ranch is buttermilk. Do not be fooled by the name. Simply put, buttermilk is the fluid that remains after the fat from the whole milk is removed. In Ranch dressing, buttermilk is used to add richness contributing to the thickness. It also helps to give some flavor. That tanginess and sour taste people love is the one. The emulsification helps the ingredients to stay mixed. A vegan replacement is yogurt or some apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and high protein milk-like soy mixture.
Mayonnaise is genuinely in Ranch dressing, which is one more way Ranch dressing is excluded from being vegan. Mayonnaise contains eggs, which contain a phospholipid fixing called lecithin. This acts as an emulsifying operative by pulling in both fat and water particles permitting mixes to blend. You can opt for vegan mayonnaise.
Sour cream is another common cultured ingredient in Ranch dressing. Milk cream gets soured by Streptococcus lactis microbes to make it. Using a higher-fat cream can make a thicker batch. There are a few vegan sour cream options available on the market but they are not allowed to be labeled as sour cream as 18% or more milkfats must be used.
Is Hidden Valley Ranch Vegan?
The traditional Hidden Valley Ranch dressing is not vegan, though it makes the perfect topping or dressing for literally anything that is keto-friendly and gluten-free. The company has released a “plant-powered ranch dressing with a formula that is dairy and egg-free.”
This new addition is indeed vegan with ingredients such as soybean protein isolate, water, rosemary extract, vegetable oil, and vinegar. It was a long-awaited product to cater to vegans or others with personal preferences and reasons to steer clear of the non-vegan alternative. They too can enjoy the wonderful taste and not have to give up Ranch altogether.
Is Walden Farms Ranch Vegan?
Known as a crowd favorite, Walden Farms Ranch Mayo merges the great taste of mayo with cayenne pepper, parsley, and paprika. It adds a great, smooth taste to sandwiches, wraps, and doubles well as a dip. It is versatile and a healthy alternative to other store Ranch mayo or even homemade Ranch. It is also a healthy choice as it contains a low-calorie count, zero sugar, and is gluten and dairy-free. The answer is yes, it is vegan.
Is Just Ranch Vegan?
While the company’s presence on the market has been limited, it has always brought gluten-free, non-dairy, nut-free, egg-free, peanut-free, vegan, soy-free, and vegetarian Ranch dressing. Containing ingredients such as white distilled vinegar, pea protein, soy, and garlic puree, Just Ranch is a trusted brand you can rely on.
Other Vegan Alternatives
Vegan ranch dressing can be made in the comfort of your own home. In under 10 minutes, you can have yourself a bowl of creamy and tangy Ranch dressing for those vegetables. All you need is some vegan mayonnaise, garlic powder, chopped parsley, chives, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, unsweetened plant-based milk (soy or almond milk), chopped dill, and paprika (which is optional). Combine all the ingredients, whip, and voila! You just made your ranch.
If you do not have time to make your ranch dressing, there are other plant-based options available on the market for you to try. Here are seven choices you can find in your local grocery store or on Amazon:
- Primal Kitchen Vegan Ranch with Avocado Oil
- Daiya Homestyle Ranch Dressing
- Healthy Choice Power Salad Dressing
- Foods Alive Vegan Ranch Dressing and Dip
- Follow Your Heart High Omega Vegan Ranch Salad Dressing
- Sir Kensington’s Ranch Dressing and Dip Avocado Oil Ranch
- Bold Palate No Cows on This Ranch Salad Dressing
To the big question, the answer is no, Ranch is not vegan. That response is based on ingredients such as milk, mayonnaise, other fermented milk products, and coloring. While this might be disappointing to some, there are replacements in the form of homemade alternatives or some brands of dressing that are vegan.
There are seven options here alone to give a head start. Even if you have chosen a vegan journey or are allergic to the standard formula, you do not have to give up Ranch dressing completely. Those vegetables are not going to dress themselves. Pick up an alternative or make your own!