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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.

Avocado salad with hidden valley ranch dressing


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. 

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