Monday, June 1, 2015

Super Low-cal Ranch Dressing, 2 ways (12-14.5 calories per Tbsp.)

So, a few weeks ago I posted this Super Low-calorie Ranch Dressing, which is a delicious dressing with only about 11 calories per Tbsp. But I've been doing some more experimenting since then, and I think we've got a new favorite! Both dressings have their pros and cons though, so I wanted to share a little about both of them so you can choose. First, the original dressing, with one change ~

Lite Ranch Dressing (11.5 calories per Tbsp.)

Super Low-cal Ranch Dressing - Cottage Cheese & Milk Version

16 oz. (2 cups) low-fat cottage cheese (360) (check the label, your calories may vary.)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. skim milk (50, 5 per Tbsp.)
1 pack Hidden Valley ranch mix (2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp., 78)
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese (76) 

Add the cottage cheese and milk to your blender (or a bowl, if using an imersion blender). Sprinkle the ranch mix and parmesan cheese over the top and blend until smooth. The dressing will thicken in the fridge.

Calories - 12 calories per Tbsp. (Makes 46 2/3 Tbsp.)

Variations - Shortly after posting the original recipe, I tried replacing the water with skim milk, and the results were much creamier, though it only added 1 calorie per Tbsp. Definitely worth the increase! If you replace the milk with water, or leave out the Parmesan or the ranch mix (to add your own seasoning mix), each of those options will drop the total down 1 calorie per Tbsp.

Pros - This dressing is lower calorie and very thick & creamy! This is the way to go if you want to make a dip. You can use it as is, or leave out 2 Tbsp. milk to make it even thicker (add 1/2 calorie).

Cons - The Ranch mix doesn't taste as good in this base and has an odd herb-y taste. It is also a little more complicated to make, since you have to blend the cottage cheese.

5:2 Giant Salad with Ranch Dressing (103 calories)

Super Low-cal Ranch Dressing - Buttermilk & Mayo Version

1 3/4 cups reduced fat buttermilk (210, 7.5 per Tbsp.) (check the label, your calories may vary.)
1/2 cup Hellman's light mayo (280)
1 pack Hidden Valley ranch mix (2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp., 78)

Use a fork to mix 3/4 cup buttermilk with the light mayo. Once well blended, stir in the other cup of milk and the ranch mix.

Calories - 14.5 calories per Tbsp. (Makes 38 2/3 Tbsp.)

Tips - It's hard to find a small buttermilk, but I found out you can freeze the leftovers! I found this recipe here, and she said Hellman's was definitely better in the dressing than the other light mayos she tried, but I haven't compared any myself.

Variations - Leaving out the ranch mix to add your own seasonings will drop the calories by 1 per Tbsp.

Pros - Both my husband and I choose this one as the better tasting dressing, and it was much closer to the taste of the full-fat 90 calorie bottled Ranch dressing. This dressing is easier to make, since you just stir a few things together.

Cons - The dressing is thin, so it's not as good as a dip (and not easy to thicken without bumping up the calories). It's also a little higher in calories, and pricier to start out with (though you can use the ingredients for multiple batches).

5:2 Giant Salad with Ranch Dressing (103 calories)

Overall, if you are only using 2 Tbsp. in your salad, you're probably not going to notice much of a difference in taste. But in the future I think we'll be using the buttermilk version because it is so simple to make, a little better tasting, and only adds a negligible 5 calories per salad.

Here you can find a few flavor variations that Skinny Kitchen (who posted the buttermilk version) came up with, like Creamy Italian, Blue Cheese, and more. We tried the Creamy Italian and it was delicious! I've got a whole list of flavors I want to try with the buttermilk & mayo base & will be share the successful ones with you.

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