Inside every passionate cook lurks the soul of a slightly mad scientist. The kitchen becomes a laboratory, every recipe an opportunity to experiment. I love to play around with salad dressings, mixing and matching ingredients from my pantry, but 90 percent of the time, I end up using the same salad dressing: my go-to balsamic vinaigrette. Last week, spurred on by some buttermilk left from a baking episode, I went as far as I could in the opposite direction with this chipotle ranch dressing that also makes a terrific dip. It's got a bit of a kick, which you can control by using more or less chipotle pepper. Try this zippy dressing in a chicken salad, on a roast beef panini, or atop a robust salad of greens and avocado. Or slice up some crispy cucumber, and dip, dip, dip.
Chipotle ranch dip or dressing
From the pantry, you'll need: powdered buttermilk (or fresh buttermilk), chipotle pepper in adobo, lime, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, ground cumin or ras-el hanout, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper.
Makes 3/4 cup; can be multiplied.
1/2 cup buttermilk (made according to package directions if using powdered)
1 small chipotle pepper in adobo (approx. 1 tsp)
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp ground cumin or ras-el hanout
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender. Process until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
Chill for at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days, to allow the flavors to come together. Serve as a dip with vegetables or pita chips, or as a salad dressing or topping for grilled chicken.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chicken and avocado lettuce boats with buttermilk Dijon dressing
Cucumber ribbon salad with ranch-style buttermilk dressing
Quinoa, avocado, tomato and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing
Smoky chipotle-balsamic salad dressing
Chipotle chicken sandwich
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Buttermilk asparagus salad, from 101 Cookbooks
BLT salad with buttermilk dressing, from Steamy Kitchen
Romaine salad with cornbread croutons and buttermilk garlic dressing, from Amateur Gourmet
Basil buttermilk dip, from Alice Q Foodie
Savory strawberry salad with buttermilk dressing, from Brooklyn Supper
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