This dairy-free ranch dressing is primed for your summertime salads

  • Sunflower Ranch Dressing.

    Sunflower Ranch Dressing. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

 
By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post

When salad season heats up, one thing keeps my kitchen humming: a good homemade dressing. Sure, I'll throw together a makeshift vinaigrette here and there, combining the bits from almost-used jars of condiments with vinegar and oil. I also adore creamy dressings -- green goddess, ranch and the like -- that typically take a little more thought.

A traditional recipe for one of the latter is all well and good, but when I want an alternative to a mayonnaise or buttermilk base, I get creaminess by including nuts -- cashews are classic -- in the blend. Still, I hear often from readers who want nut substitutes because of allergies. That's where Terry Hope Romero's new salad cookbook comes to the rescue, particularly with a recipe for Sunflower Ranch Dressing. Her recipe soaks raw sunflower seeds and blends them with nondairy milk and a handful of other ingredients -- including a good dose of garlic and some fresh herbs.

The punch of garlicky flavor is at home anywhere a traditional ranch would be: salad greens top the list, naturally, but drizzle or dollop this on any combination of vegetables -- try it on baked potatoes, white or sweet -- and you'll be happy.

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