Healthy & Gluten Free

Author:           Updated June 16, 2018
Categories: Salad Dressing - Creamy    

An All American classic dressing. This homemade version is smooth and satisfying, without food additives or sugar.

Homemade Ranch salad dressing in a bowl beside cherry tomatoes and rock salt
Image by: Thora Toft

Prep time: 10 minutes      Makes: 1 1/2 cups      Difficulty: Medium

If you want a non dairy version, then instead of using heavy cream, use fresh coconut cream mixed with a bit of fresh coconut milk or coconut water, and mix it to be the thickness of heavy cream. You can also control the thickness by adding more or less heavy cream (or the coconut cream mixture).

Gluten free

Use all organic ingredients.

Shopping Tips - what to look for to get the best gluten free, real ingredients for this recipe:

You can make Homemade Mayonnaise here, on our site, that is gluten free.

If you absolutely don't want to make your own mayonnaise, then you'll need to find mayonnaise made with organic ingredients if possible, and no bad oils, and labeled gluten free. They should not contain canola, soy, sunflower, safflower, or corn oil. It could contain extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.

Many have vinegar, and it will need to list the type of vinegar, so you can determine if it's a gluten free variety (most apple cider and cane sugar vinegar are gluten free, for example).

There are starting to be some Paleo friendly bottled mayonnaise on the market. They are more expensive, but you will have a better chance of finding one containing the right kinds of ingredients. Shop around to find the highest quality, with no additives.

Check out the following article to learn a bit more about mayonnaise:

Heavy cream, and other dairy products - Raw organic is best. Non-homogenized, organic is preferred if you don't have access to raw. Never buy Ultra High Temperature (UHT), or Ultra-Pasteurized milk; you will need to carefully check the label, as it's not always obvious.

Coconut milk should be homemade from a fresh organic coconut.

Alternatively, you can purchase organic unsweetened coconut milk that does not contain additional ingredients. It should only contain coconut milk, coconut cream, ground coconut and water or coconut water, or some combination of these ingredients.

The issue of what type of milk is best is far too broad of a topic to cover in depth here. Whether you want cows milk, nut milk, coconut milk, or some other type of milk will be a personal choice.

However, here are some general guidelines to help you when choosing your milk. You can research further if it's an area of interest to you.

Non-dairy milk - Most of these are really just fake food. Most only exist because people are used to white stuff to put on cereal and in coffee, etc.

Very few things in nature look and behave like dairy milk. They have to create unnatural compounds that look and behave like milk.

This category of products is quite challenging to find products that are made out of real ingredients. You will need to really read a lot of labels to find something that is not loaded with food additives, flavorings, binders, fillers, etc.

Many of these additives are very tough on anyone with any sort of digestive problems, which those who must eat gluten free do have.

Nut milk should only contain nuts and water.

Coconut milk should only have coconut milk, coconut cream, ground coconut and water or coconut water, or some combination of these ingredients.

Soy milk is not even remotely natural, or normal. White liquid does not come out of a green soy bean in any natural way. Large amounts of additives are added to it to make it resemble milk.

Rice milk should only have rice and water.

If you really want these, many of them can be made fresh at home, and you can completely control the ingredients that go into them. Check out You Tube for tons of videos.

Check out the following 4 articles to help you find the best type of milk for your personal taste:

Fresh herbs and spices should be 100% certified organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

Testing specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices is more limited, and has not been done as consistently as other produce. Some of the testing that has been done, mostly on conventionally grown herbs and spices, is showing much higher pesticide residues than on other common fresh produce. For this reason, all fresh and dried spices and herbs should only be purchased as 100% certified organic.

A good option is also to grown you own herbs. Many herbs can be easily grown in small pots, even if just on your window sill in your kitchen. It is then possible to completely control what goes on them and into the soil.

Check out these 4 articles. The first is the Consumer Report on pesticide residues in general. The second article explains what the different versions of organic labeling mean. The third article is the USDA report on pesticide residues on organic produce. The fourth article is a pesticide report specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices, in a limited market in the US:

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Each year a US report is created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) listing the most and least pesticide contaminated common produce in the US. It is useful to know where to put your initial focus on what to buy organic and what can be lower on your priority list. I'd suggest that if a crop is not on the EWG "Clean 15" list on the below listed site, that you buy organic.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

For anyone who really wants to dig into the full datasets of the EPA residue testing, they can find that at the bottom link below. This will include the most recent reported data.

Lemon juice should be made from fresh, organic lemons. Bottled lemon juice often has additives that can cause digestive issues, including preservatives and flavorings. Lemons have not been tested by the EPA for pesticide residue. Three other citrus fruits have been tested, and all of them are midway between the least and most residue contamination. Tangerines rank 22nd, grapefruit ranks 24th, and oranges rank 27th. Since organic produce for other fruits and vegetables have consistently had less residue, you should buy only organic lemons.

Check out these 4 articles. The first 2 show this year's EWG report on pesticide contamination, and will be updated automatically based on the current year. The third article is the Consumer Reports summary page for pesticide residue on produce, including conventional and organic, and domestic and imported. The fourth article is the direct link to the EPA residue testing site, where you can do further research:

You can make homemade Dijon Mustard here, on our site, that is gluten free (as well as other types of mustard).

If you are buying Dijon mustard, you will want to find some prepared without regular vinegar. Most white vinegar is made from gluten containing grains. Legally, most vinegar is gluten free, as the whole protein is partially broken down.

However, in practice, many people still react to these kinds of vinegars. Malt vinegar is not gluten free, as it's prepared differently, and still contains the whole gluten protein.

Buy varieties that contain naturally gluten free vinegar, such as apple cider, or cane sugar vinegar. To be sure, contact the manufacturer and inquire about how it's made.

Read the label to ensure it has no food additives, as many will cause stomach upset.

For additional reading on mustard, check out this article:

You want to find unrefined salt, with no additives. It should say unrefined on the label. If it is refined, it will simply say salt. Refined salt does not need to list the chemicals used in the refining process, but the word "refined" will tell you that something was used (and most are toxic).

Look for unrefined sea salt, Himalayan salt, or various gourmet hand crafted salt.

Good sea salt should be unrefined, and will not be pure white.

There is also Himalayan salt that many consider a healthy source of salt. It is generally unrefined. There is some debate as to the quality, and the exact makeup of the other minerals found in it. If you find a source of it you like, then go ahead and use it. It's largest benefit is that it does not have added chemicals, and has a wide range of other minerals. If you want the other minerals, then this is a good option.

There are a number of different gourmet salts that are hand crafted via evaporation that are nice quality. With some investigating, you can find very clean, uncontaminated sources.

For additional reading on salt, check out this article on our site:

You want to buy 100% certified organic spices, with no additional additives, labeled gluten free, and labeled to state that no anti-caking agents or additives have been used.

100% organic certified products will contain no GM substances, and will not be irradiated. Without anti-caking agents, they can stick together. This is easily solved by stirring with a clean tool prior to using, if it has clumped together.

Note that when it says only Organic, it can contain small amounts of synthetic and GM substances (up to 5%). Many chemicals used in spices are not required to be labeled, thus you want 100% Certified Organic, and statements noting no additional additives used.

Spices should be used up within about 6 months. Any older and they can spoil, and will lose any benefits, and the flavor will fade.

To read more about spices and anti-caking agents, check out these 2 articles on our site:

Check out these other 2 articles on buying good spices and what the term Organic means:

Coconut cream can be homemade from fresh mature organic coconuts.

You Tube has a lot of different ways to make it. Try out some different methods, such as using hot water and a blender, or cool water and squeezing it, or no water and squeezing it, etc. Each will create different textures, and you can find those that you like the most.

Alternatively, you can purchase organic canned coconut cream. You need to ensure that it contains no other ingredients beyond coconut. Also avoid those that also contain water or coconut water, as it simply dilutes the coconut cream, and is a bit of a rip off.

What I like about the canned coconut cream, is that most of the time when you open it, there will be a layer of very thick cream, almost like butter. And a layer of more liquidy cream, more like dairy cream. I generally will not need the whole can for whatever my recipe calls for, so I use the form most suitable, then find something else to do with the rest. I love fresh strawberries with the really thick coconut cream! If you prefer, you can also remix it with a whisk, so it's all reblended, and use it like that.

You want to look for a fresh organic coconut, that still contains liquid inside of it.

Canned, boxed or packaged coconut water is not suitable. It is a cooked product, which degrades many of the benefits of drinking coconut water. Coconut milk also is NOT the same as coconut water. Coconut water looks almost like water, with just a hint of cloudiness, and varying degrees of sweetness and coconut taste.

Only if you absolutely cannot get fresh coconuts would this be a suitable occasional item to use. If you do buy it, be certain it contains nothing besides organic coconut water. Many of the additives in beverages cause digestive problems.

Buying organic reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

Check out this article on the benefits of organic:

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Homemade mayonnaise
1/2 cup Heavy cream
2 tablespoons Fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons Fresh chives, basil or oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons Fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
Directions:
Ranch dressing in a bowl next to a salad
Image by: Thora Toft
  1. Whisk the mayonnaise, cream, parsley, chives (or basil or oregano), lemon juice, mustard, garlic, dill, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Though this has a few more ingredients, it's actually quite simple. And so delicious! Enjoy!

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10 Steps to Healthy Gluten Free Eating
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Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.