Try it over salad, with sliced veggies, chicken wings, pizza … whatever your heart desires!
Homemade Ranch Dressing with Veggies

Growing up in the Midwest, I was raised to believe that ranch dressing was so much more than a dressing; it's practically its own food group. As a kid, we'd dunk school-lunch pizza and chicken nuggets in tubs of store-bought ranch, Mom would fold the bottled kind into casseroles and creamy salads, use it as a condiment for burgers and sandwiches galore and beyond. (Our pals at Better Homes & Gardens show how it's done in their roundup of totally acceptable ways to enjoy ranch as a grown-up!)

Now more aligned with the EatingWell philosophy—that all foods fit but life is better when you veg out and DIY dressings as often as possible—I mainly enjoy it in our homemade versions like this Vegan Ranch Dressing.

Today, thanks to TikTok, I have another homemade ranch recipe idea to transport me back to my childhood. This version might just win my MVP award thanks to its easy prep and potent punch of protein. A ¼-cup serving has as much protein as an egg!

@ambermichelle_1 took to TikTok to show how it's done. To re-create it at home, you need just two main ingredients!

In a blender or food processor, add a generous scoop of cottage cheese, then sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of ranch dressing mix powder. If desired, finish with some fresh lemon juice "to make it nice and tangy," Amber says. Blend until smooth and well-mixed, then top with olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes to amp up the flavor and heart-healthy fat factor if you like.

Thanks to the powdered mix, this ranch tastes remarkably similar to the bottled variety. The cottage cheese is where the real magic happens, however. It's rich, creamy and dairy-based, just like buttermilk that's often used as part of the regular ranch roundup (along with plenty of mayo). But cottage cheese is surprisingly high in protein and delivers some bone-boosting calcium and healthy blood pressure-supporting potassium.

According to the USDA, ½ cup of 2% cottage cheese has:

  • 90 calories
  • 2.5 g fat
  • 12 g protein
  • 5 g carbs
  • 114 mg calcium
  • 132 mg potassium
  • 353 mg sodium

Compare that to just 2 tablespoons of regular ranch dressing, which the USDA says has:

  • 130 calories
  • 13 g fat
  • 2 g carbs
  • < 0.5 g protein
  • 8 mg calcium
  • 20 mg potassium
  • 270 mg sodium

Since any powdered ranch mix is just about calorie-free, you could eat four times as much of this cottage cheese ranch and still consume 40 fewer calories and 10½ grams less fat while adding 11½ grams more muscle-building protein to your day—in addition to those aforementioned micronutrients.

There is one caveat with this DIY cottage cheese ranch, though: sodium. If you follow Amber's lead and use Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix, the final product will deliver a very hefty dose of sodium (which, in large quantities, isn't the best for your blood pressure and heart health over time). Swap in something like Spiceology's Really Ranch Salt-Free Blend and add salt to taste, and you'll have a ridiculously healthy and high-protein dressing/dip that's totally dietitian-approved to eat on the daily.

If you want to go the extra mile, @nutritionbykylie, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian, put her spin on the trend on TikTok, too.

To follow her lead, to a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 leaves of fresh basil and 1 teaspoon each of dried dill, dried oregano and black pepper. "Let the food processor [or blender] do its thing, then dip anything you want; veggies, pretzels … it tastes so good," Kylie says.

Skinny dipping? Nah, I'm definitely more into creamy dipping—with protein, please.