Hidden Valley Ranch was a real place located just out of Santa Barbara, California. Purchased by Steve and Gayle Hensen in 1956, the 120 acre property served as a dude ranch for several years. At meal times, guests were served a creamy and herbaceous salad dressing that became so wildly popular that Steve would make packets of his famous seasoning to send home with guests so they could have a taste of Hidden Valley whenever they wanted. While the dude ranch concept never quite became as successful as the Hensens had hoped, another business opportunity had blossomed, and they began a mail-order business for Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packets. The rest, as they say, is history. The original Hidden Valley Ranch dressing recipe called for (easy-to-ship) dried herbs and spices. Our version uses fresh herbs. Pair this salad with cool and crisp California Grenache Blanc or a chilled California white blend.
For the Dressing (Makes 1 1/4 Cups)
- ½ cup buttermilk (120 mls)
- ¼ cup sour cream or greek yogurt (60 mls)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (60 mls)
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives (12g)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill (10g)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (12g)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
For the Avocado Salad
- 2 medium avocados, just ripe and not overly soft
- 4 ounces packaged butter lettuce blend, or larger butter lettuce leaves torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 ounce microgreens, optional
- Juice from half a lemon, about 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped chives
- Flaky salt, such as maldon
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Make the dressing. Whisk the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and herbs together in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Assemble the salad. Spread the ranch dressing around a medium platter. Scatter the butter lettuce evenly over the dressing. Cut the avocados in half and remove their peels. Cut the avocado halves top to bottom into 1/4 inch slices, Arrange the avocados decoratively on top of the lettuce. Drizzle the top of the salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with chives and microgreens. Finish with a dusting of flaky salt. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. This dressing is also delicious on sandwiches, or over grilled chicken or steak.