Who knew ranch dressing could spark such a wildfire? A Washington Post opinion writer has inflamed the internet with his rant against what he calls "milk-rot" and the blight of ranch dressing upon the menus of trendy new restaurants. While I do find some of his critiques valid (does ranch really make pizza better?), the hard slap he gave ranch has food-lovers screaming.
It is totally fine that this writer, Bed Adler, doesn't like ranch dressing; nobody is going to force him to eat ranch at gunpoint. But the strength of his hate for this staple of American cooking feels both alarmist and lazy. Is ranch dressing really what's wrong with American cooking? Of course not.
Let me try to convince you that ranch dressing does so much more than hide vegetables. I've rounded up the most inspiring, most ranch-y-licious recipes that I could find on the internet so you can bask in this iconic dressing. If you're not a believer, it's time to reconsider.
1. California Wedge Salad from Little Broken
This salad recipe is super simple, which means the dressing plays a very important role. The blogger behind Little Broken makes her own garlicky buttermilk ranch dressing at home to ensure it's just the way she likes it. Remember: You don't need to use the bottled stuff if you don't want to.
2. Ranch Chicken Wraps from Kitchn
Ranch is one of those ingredients that makes meals happen fast. Take these chicken wraps, for example. You can make your own homemade ranch dressing the day before, and then just quickly cook the chicken when you get home from work for an easy, tasty dinner.
3. Fried Homemade Pickles with Ranch Dressing from Serious Eats
This is my all-time favorite way to eat ranch dressing. Every year when I go home to the Minnesota State Fair, I have to pick up some fried pickles with a side of ranch and hot sauce. The combination is so tangy and sour, and you also get that whole hot-cold thing when the pickles are fresh out of the fryer.
4. Avocado Ranch Grilled Chicken from Girl Versus Dough
Ranch dressing doesn't just need to be the thing you use after all the cooking and prep work is done. These grilled chicken skewers, for example, are marinated in ranch dressing before being put on the grill.
5. Cheese Fries with Ranch Sauce from Savory & Sweet Food
In his Washington Post article, Alder questions why people would ever put ranch dressing on French fries. "Because deep-fried food isn't greasy and caloric enough?" he snarkily asks. Yes, it's true — adding ranch dressing to fries isn't exactly the healthiest thing someone could do, but every once in a while? As a treat? Is it really much worse than dipping your fries in mayonnaise?
This recipe from Savory & Sweet Food is totally over the top, but I love that this blogger adds green onions, pickled cucumbers, and pickled jalapeños to this recipe to make everything pop.
6. Rainbow Veggie Bowls with Jalapeño Ranch from Pinch of Yum
In the Washington Post article in question, Alder notes that one of the reasons he doesn't like ranch dressing is because people think it's OK to just to slather it all over their vegetables. "Many people don't appreciate vegetables and feel compelled to slather everything in processed fat," he explains.
Yes, I have been at many a party in Minnesota where a vegetable platter is accompanied by a large serving of ranch dressing, but I don't think that means ranch should get a bad rap as something that always "hides" your vegetables. Take this gorgeous salad from Pinch of Yum, for example. The blogger loads up her bowl with a ton of vegetables and lightly drizzles it with a batch of homemade jalapeño ranch. Does that sound like something deplorable?
7. Buttermilk Ranch Potato Salad from Kitchn
Potato salad is just about as classic as ranch dressing. Combine the two and magic ensues during the summer months. I love this recipe because there are more herbs in it compared to other more mayo-based potato salads I've tried in the past.
8. Open-Face Buffalo Chicken Subs with Ranch Slaw from Domesticate Me
Listen, you don't need to smother your recipe in ranch dressing for it be a welcome ingredient in a meal. In this recipe, for example, ranch brightens up a crunchy homemade slaw, which in turn perfectly balances out the buffalo chicken on the subs.
9. Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with Greek Yogurt Ranch from Nosh & Nourish
If you haven't noticed by now, buffalo and ranch are pretty good friends. Most of the time they are seen together in pretty straight-forward situations like buffalo chicken and ranch dipping sauce. This is pretty delicious, but maybe not the most inspiring way to eat ranch dressing.
This recipe, however, totally reimagines the relationship by using cauliflower as the vehicle for buffalo sauce. Also, you don't often see ranch dressing in tacos, so that's pretty special. It just proves that ranch dressing is so very versatile.
10. Chicken Bacon Ranch Flatbread from Simple Green Moms
Adding ranch to your pizza is pretty controversial, but if that's what gets you excited to cook dinner, then don't listen to all the haters who suggest that it's not cool to do. An easy way to get around talking to pizza purists is naming your recipe "flatbread" and getting on with your life.