Just as Mr Meatified doesn’t consider soup worth eating unless he can practically stand a spoon up in it, so he prefers a dressing that is so thick it is almost incapable of being poured. He also hasn’t eaten ranch dressing in years, much to his horror, and I had never found a way to recreate it. But when I came up with the coconut milk-based dipping sauce for these meatballs, I ended up with leftover sauce. Once it had been refrigerated, it thickened up considerably and I found Mr Meatified using it as a salad dressing. Which reminded me of the old ranch dressing conundrum and got me thinking. How could I recreate that thickness without having to refrigerate the dressing for hours before it was ready to pass Mr Meatified’s thick & creamy ranch dressing test? I needed to add SOMETHING to the coconut milk without adding too much flavor. And then I remembered: raw cashews! I’ve seen people use cashews to make a type of vegan “cheese” – could they work here as a thickener? The answer was a resounding “yes”!
I have yet to find the spare change or counter space to invest in a super duper blender, so I had to rely on my trusty (and cheap) mini food processor for this. Please let me know if you try this out in a blender or full sized food processor, as I suspect it is far quicker and easier that way and I would love to be able to add instructions for that method! I used raw cashews that I had soaked overnight and then drained (Mark’s Daily Apple explains the why and how of this better than I can!), so I am not sure if un-soaked cashews will produced the same results. Please feel free to play around and see what you like best – better yet, come back here and tell me!
Please note that – like all coconut milk / oil based products or recipes – the dressing WILL thicken considerably if you refrigerate it. If you have leftovers, you will need to let it come to room temperature (or heat it very gently) before it will be a pourable ranch dressing again.
- In a mini food processor, use the "grind" setting to reduce the raw unsalted cashews to a fine / sand-like texture, then use the normal setting to get a paste-like, spreadable texture.
- Begin to add the coconut milk a tablespoon at a time, scraping the sides down when needed, and blend until you have a smooth paste. This will take several minutes. Once the mixture is smooth, add the rest of the coconut milk and the lemon juice, then blend to combine.
- Add the seasonings and fresh herbs and blend until combined / smooth.
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