Allen’s father loved this dip so much, it was always the first thing I had ready and sitting out for him when he arrived for one of his many visits with us. And I usually sent him home with some so he could stop along the way, pull this out of the fridge of his motorhome, and have a snack during one of his driving breaks. It was a lo-o-o-ng drive back to Texas.
I originally called this “Skinny Dip”, but Grandpa ate so much in one sitting, that I figured it wasn’t really true considering how much he ate. He probably would have eaten it with a spoon, but we teased him with comments like, “Would you like some vegetables with that dip?!” So, I think he tried to contain himself in our presence.
But this version of Ranch Dip is:
- Quickly and simply made with only 3 ingredients
- Versatile enough to be a thick, luscious dip or can be thinned to be a salad dressing
- Tangier and lower in calories due to the use of plain yogurt
- Better tasting than any readymade dip
This dip is perfect for vegetables, crackers, pretzels, or other snack sticks. I have been trying to find Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel Sticks, because that was a favorite, along with vegetables. Unfortunately, these crackers are no longer available. I just searched the internet, and there are some similar pumpernickel pretzels that are available, so I guess I will have to try those sometime soon. I did find some rosemary grissini—quite a nice substitute.
Now, when you read this, you may think, “What is so special about THIS ranch-style dip?” Honestly, I have had many people, not just Grandpa Ray, comment that this Ranch dip is better than others. Maybe because I am very particular about the three ingredients.
Here are the specific details that I think are important about the three ingredients:
Look for the Hidden Valley Dry Ranch Dressing Mix that states it is the “Buttermilk Recipe”. All the packages say, “The Original Ranch”, but they don’t all mention buttermilk, so look for the word “Buttermilk”.
The mayonnaise should be mayonnaise, not salad dressing. Mayonnaise (e.g.: Hellman’s) is tangy and rich, while Salad Dressing type of mayonnaise (e.g.: Miracle Whip) is sweeter because it contains added sugar and additional spices. I think the sweetness of salad dressing destroys the tangy, flavorful balance of the Ranch Dip.
Finally, make sure the plain yogurt is just that: plain without sweeteners. I once picked up an something labeled plain yogurt, and it mixed it with the mayonnaise and ranch seasoning mix. When I tasted it, it was sweet! I checked the “plain” yogurt container, and and it had sugar in the list of ingredients-yuck! I like Greek Yogurt best because it makes the dip luxuriously thick and yummy.
That really is all there is to it; just put all three in a bowl and whisk it until well blended. Serve it with your favorite dippers: beautiful vegetables, crackers, hard breadsticks, pretzels. Since I had just picked up some fresh purple basil from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) order, I sprinkled it over the vegetables.
If you have any leftover dip, thin it with some milk until it is pourable enough to serve over salad. Or, use the thick version as a substitute for mayonnaise on a sandwich.
Grandpa’s Favorite Dip
- 1 (.40 oz.) Package Ranch Buttermilk Recipe Salad Dressing Mix, *see note
- 1 Cup Light Mayonnaise
- 1 Cup Plain Yogurt, Skim Milk
- Veggies, Pretzels, Crackers
Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Chill until serving time. Serve with raw vegetables, pretzel rods, crackers, pumpernickel sticks.
This dip can also be spread on bread for sandwiches: roast turkey with cucumbers and Havarti on hearty white bread; roll up in a spinach tortilla with roast beef, lettuce, and tomato; layer with fresh sliced bell peppers, onions, and salami on rye bread.
Thin mixture with milk to desired consistency to serve over salad.