Elevate The Herb Taste Of Ranch Dressing With A Spoonful Of Pesto

Ranch is almost always a crowd-pleaser. However, if there have been times when the condiment seems to fall short, we empathize. After all, not all bottles and jars of ranch are made equal. Whether you've purchased a different brand than usual or crafted a homemade dressing that lacks vibrancy, there's a straightforward way to restore the bright flavor that's characteristic of ranch. All you need to do is play into the dressing's herbaceous nature by mixing in a dollop of herby pesto.

Although you could work fresh herbs into ranch dressing, there's no need to go through the trouble of chopping and mincing bundles of leafy greens. Instead, save yourself the stress and incorporate a condiment that's already laden with herbs, such as store-bought pesto. Offering convenience and ease, pesto can impart an intensely herbal burst of flavor that effortlessly revives one-dimensional ranch dressing. Between its base of sweetly peppery basil and vegetal olive oil, it boasts an extremely fresh profile that closely matches that of ranch, reinforcing its green and grassy quality. Essentially, pesto helps ranch taste more like, well, ranch.

What's more, adding a spoonful of pesto into ranch dressing can also heighten its complexity. Alongside its rich herbiness, the sauce has a salty, umami edge and a sweetly nutty nuance from ingredients like Parmigiano and pine nuts. As a result, these bold flavors play a role in making pesto such a wonderful flavor enhancer for ranch dressing.

What to consider when making pesto-laced ranch

Much like you can use any type of ranch dressing as a base, the same is true of pesto. Beyond traditional basil renditions, there's a huge range of pesto options made with other herbs. For example, a pesto with a base of parsley, dill, or chives can emphasize the most prominent herbs in ranch. Otherwise, experiment with a clean-tasting cilantro or licorice-like tarragon pesto to impart another dimension of flavor. For additional texture (and toastiness), you could even add in a pesto made with pistachios, walnuts, or almonds.

While you could add as much or as little pesto as you'd like into the ranch, we recommend limiting the amount to a couple of teaspoons. This will help enhance the ranch's herbaceous quality without entirely detracting from it. Simply whisk in the pesto until well combined — expect the pearly white ranch will take on a light green hue. At this point, the revamped ranch can be put to use in a myriad of ways. 

The pesto-laced ranch can be drizzled over all sorts of salads, from bowls of leafy lettuces to hearty pasta or potato salads. Likewise, the dressing can also be used as a condiment to spread into loaded deli sandwiches or used to garnish flatbreads laden with grilled vegetables. It can even make a stellar dipping sauce for leftover pizza crusts. Regardless of how you decide to use pesto-infused ranch, its herby flavors are sure to leave your palate in gustatory awe!