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Alright, people. It’s time for me to come clean. I’ve been posting photos of my homemade ranch dressing on Instagram for a few months now and people have been asking for the recipe. The truth is I hadn’t really perfected it or made it my own yet. I enjoy playing around with new things and customizing them to fit my family. Kyle bought some pickled jalapenos before we moved to Florida and I chopped them up a bit and used some of the juice in one of my recipes and holy goodness, it was amazing. The addition of some cayenne and hot sauce really shook things up and we finally settled on our favorite version of the homemade ranch dressing.
We live on a tight budget but because we eat clean and have kids who demand variety in their meals, we try to stick to homemade things that are free from foods that have been heavily processed or packaged. Of course, sometimes that’s difficult to stick to so we do take shortcuts, like using Duke’s mayonnaise instead of making our own. I just haven’t perfected the whole make your own mayonnaise thing yet. And don’t plan to. Duke’s doesn’t have any sugar in it, so I feel good about using it. And making my own hot sauce isn’t really on the agenda either. I’d hate to burn my eyeballs out when I’m chopping habanero peppers and forget to wash my hands with bleach before I scratch my eyes. So I use El Yucateco hot sauces that I found at Publix in order to get a pretty strong spice from a small amount of sauce. This is frugality at its finest, y’all.
My favorite is the vibrant Green Habanero Sauce, but when I’m cooking for a crowd of people who want to clear their sinuses out, I use the XXXtra Hot Kutbil-ik Sauce. Kyle dumped it all over his eggs the other morning and I almost wet myself laughing at his reaction. He flew out of his chair for some water. It was like watching Wile E Coyote trying to chase down the ever elusive Roadrunner.
Because of this tight budget and our love for variety in our foods, there are a couple meals that are go-to meals for us. You know, the meals that you eat at least once a week? One of those for us, is the taco salad. We don’t eat corn or wheat so we skip the standard “Taco Tuesday” and have “Taco Salad Tuesday” instead. The kids love it, we love it, it’s super quick to whip up, and it costs next to nothing, even when using grass-fed ground beef. I make my own taco seasoning so that I know I’m not eating any added sugar or corn byproducts, I season the meat, shred some whole fat cheddar, get some inexpensive salsa, and pull out our favorite Habanero Ranch Dressing. As soon as I get down to half a bottle, I make more so we are never without our salad dressing. The addition of avocado in place of some of the mayonnaise makes this habanero ranch dressing creamy and absolutely perfect. It is a bit of a labor of love, but once you get past the chopping of the herbs and garlic part, it comes together quickly. I promise you’ll thank me once you try it.
You can make this dressing as spicy or as mild as you want it, so even if you have kids, they can eat it too. I generally package ours in two separate containers and add a little more to the adult bottle.
Want to know how to get your kids to eat salad? It’s easier than you think. I buy pre-packaged organic greens. I grab one handful of the greens and place them on a plate. I bundle the lettuce up in my hand, on the plate, and start chopping the greens in 1cm strips. I then turn the greens at a 90* angle and chop in 1cm strips again. This creates a chopped salad that when mixed with the taco meat, cheese, salsa, and dressing, almost completely disappears under the bold flavors of the rest of the food. Never fails, Taco Salad Tuesdays are the nights my kids eat more than any other night.
Yeah, yeah, enough of the talking, right? Here’s the much anticipated Habanero Ranch Salad Dressing Recipe. You can skip to the very bottom for the printable recipe, or follow the steps here:
Avocado Habanero Ranch Dressing Recipe:
First thing’s first. There are a few things all ranch dressings have to have, in my humble opinion. One of them is buttermilk. You don’t have to go buy a whole pint of buttermilk that you’re never going to use. For this recipe, you’re going to start with about 3/4 cup of whole milk and add the juice of one lime. Some people use vinegar or lemon juice, but I think that lime pairs best with the habanero hot sauce, so we’re using lime for this recipe. Pour the milk into a glass or ceramic container then squeeze the lime juice into the milk. Give it a good stir and set it aside to rest.
Next, mince three cloves of garlic and pour about 1/4 teaspoon of salt over it. Then use a fork to mash it all up until it becomes a garlic paste. This will take some time and is a total labor of love. Don’t stop because you get bored. The more pasty you can get it, the better your dressing will be.
Once garlic paste has been created, chop flat leaf parsley, dill, and chives. Then mash 2 jalapenos with the back of a fork and add to garlic paste. Give it a good stir then set aside.
Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, and avocado with a stand mixer or stick blender until creamy.
Stir in herbs, mashed pickled jalapenos, and garlic paste.
Next, pour in the buttermilk a little bit at a time. It’s going to be chunky and look kinda gross, but this really is the second secret to a phenomenal ranch dressing recipe. Use enough to get the dressing to the consistency you want it. If you find the dressing is still too thick for your tastes, just add in some whole milk a Tablespoon at a time until it is the consistency you prefer. This is also when you would pour in a splash of pickled jalapeno juice.
Add your hot sauce, cayenne, and salt to taste. This part is completely up to your palate so I’m not going to offer amounts. 2 teaspoons of hot sauce in a batch of salad dressing is a lot more mild than 2 teaspoons of habanero hot sauce on your eggs in the morning, just keep that in mind. Keep a piece of lettuce out to dip into the dressing so that you know what it will taste like when mixed with the salad.
Stir everything together really well, taste, add, taste, add, whatever you have to do to get it just right.
Then plate your taco salad and pour that #SauceOn top!
You really can’t mess this dressing up, especially if you use the El Yucateco Green Habanero sauce. It should have a light green color and creamy consistency. It will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, though ours never lasts that long before I have to make more.
Leave a comment once you’ve tried this homemade avocado habanero ranch salad dressing and let me know what you thought!