I have yet to find anything that tastes like the unique flavor of ranch dressing. When you crave it, you crave it. There isn’t anything else that can fill that gap. Olive oil and balsamic can only get you so far with a salad. It was one of the first things that I ate in the U.S. after returning home from study abroad. Veggies or even strips of leftover steak are much more appealing when there is some ranch around to dip them in.
Making Paleo-Friendly Mayonnaise
Before anything else, you’re going to want to make some fresh mayonnaise. When making mayonnaise, you need just 4 main ingredients if you count the spices. These are oil, eggs, some acidity and spices. For acidity, vinegar is typically used. However, for paleo-friendly mayonnaise, substitute lemon juice for vinegar.
As you can see, the recipe for paleo-friendly mayonnaise is quite simple and doesn’t deviate much from ‘regular’ mayonnaise.
Is Sea Salt Really Healthier Than Regular Salt?
Both regular and sea salt are great no-calorie ways to season food. However, they are both high in sodium. In fact, they contain equal amounts of sodium. One teaspoon of regular salt contains 2325 mg of sodium, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake for the day. (1) Likewise, one teaspoon of sea salt contains 2320 mg of sodium. (2)
As a result, you will want to use them sparingly as the more sodium you consume, the greater your chances of having high blood pressure. However, is it really as simple as that?
Animal studies have shown that sea salt is not as bad as regular salt for blood pressure. (3) Sea salt contains trace amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium. These minerals help lower your blood pressure. However, since you would need to consume a bucket-load of sea salt to get enough of these minerals to lower your blood pressure, and consume tons of blood-pressure spiking sodium in the process, this is simply not practical.
One good thing about sea salt though is that it has a coarser texture because it is less ground than regular salt. As a result, it has a different mouth feel and releases a stronger hit of flavor than regular salt. This may end up in you needing less of it to flavor your food compared to regular salt.
One thing to keep in mind though is that regular salt is fortified with iodine, while sea salt is not. You need iodine to have a healthy metabolism. (4) As a result, you will want to make sure that you eat other paleo-friendly foods that are high in iodine. These include fish and eggs.
How to Select the Right Sea Salt
With the health craze around sea salt, it can be overwhelming selecting the right sea salt for your needs. I found this article by Dr. Weil very enlightening. Here is a summary of what he said:
Your typical generic sea salt may contain additives that are not conducive to a paleo-friendly diet. Hence, you will want to make sure you scrutinize the label to see if it contains any additives, and figure out where it comes from.
The most popular all-natural sea salt comes from the coastal region of Brittany, France. Salt from this region is grey and is called Celtic gray salt. Another great salt from this region is “fleur de sel” or “flowers of salt”, aptly named because the salt resembles snowflakes. This salt is white since it does not touch clay beds. This type of salt is pricier than Celtic gray salt and harder to find.
Other good sea salts come from the coastal region in the west coast of Sicily, Hawaii, and Maldon, England.
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
You may be wondering how it’s possible to make ranch dressing without milk.
One cup of raw coconut milk provides a whopping 110% of your manganese needs. What is manganese good for? A variety of things! Your body needs manganese to make and activate several enzymes. Your body also needs it to metabolize glucose and fat, and to get rid of cancer-causing free radicals in your body. (5)
So, coconut milk is very nutritious, but you need to watch how much of it you consume since it is also very high in calories.
Besides the nutritional value, coconut milk has other health benefits. These include:
- Boosting heart health:
An 8-week study conducted on 60 healthy men found that coconut milk porridge raised HDL “good cholesterol” 5 times more than soy milk porridge. Coconut milk porridge also lowered LDL “bad cholesterol” more than soy milk porridge (6).
- Reducing the size of ulcers
Coconut milk may be helpful if you suffer from ulcers. An animal study found that coconut milk was as effective as an anti-ulcer drug in reducing the size of ulcers.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk
We all know that fresh is usually best, and this is also true of coconut milk. Studies have shown that after canned coconut milk has sat on the shelf for more than 2 months, it becomes less nutritious. (7)
In addition, many canned coconut milk products contain bisphenol A, which is a chemical that lines metal cans. This chemical has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and reproductive problems in human studies. (8) Therefore, it would be better to make your own coconut milk if possible.
Gina Eykemans of Cooking Lessons from the Kitchn provides an easy way to make coconut milk. Here is a summary:
- Place 1 cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut and 4 cups of hot water in a blender that is suitable for blending hot fluids.
- Let your mixture rest for about 5 minutes to let the coconut soften.
- Blend your mixture on high for about 2 minutes until you reach a puree-like consistency.
- Place your mixture in a nut milk bag over a medium bowl.
- Squeeze the nut milk bag until you have drained out every last inch of nut milk.
- Place your coconut milk in a mason jar. Your nut milk should last about 4 days in the fridge, or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
How to Use Coconut Milk
Now, that you can make your own coconut milk, how can you use it?
You can add it to hot beverages, use it in smoothies, use it in sauces, as a milk-substitute when baking, or to make salad dressings like our incredible homemade ranch. And talking about salad dressings, here is why I love ours the most.
Why I Love This Paleo Ranch Recipe
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it uses homemade paleo-mayonnaise. Homemade mayonnaise, like pretty much anything homemade, tastes better and fresher than store-bought alternatives.
Once you have your mayonnaise, simply mix some of it with coconut milk and some seasonings, and voila, you have yummy paleo-friendly ranch dressing!
Here are a few of our other favorite ways to make Paleo Ranch Dressing if you’re looking for something different:
- 1/2 cup Paleo mayo (here)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dill
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Whisk all ingredients together to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.