Dill is not an herb I would typically use often if it weren’t growing so prolifically in my garden. My uses were pretty limited to making dill pickles and potato salad. As my dill grows and grows (and seemingly won’t die, even though we have had some chilly nights) I get more opportunities to try it in new ways.
Dill is commonly combined with creamy ingredients, like buttermilk, sour cream, and mayo, to make sauces and dressing (heeellooo, Ranch dressing). Classic combinations are classic for a reason – they are freakin’ tasty. With the recent arrival of my second son, it seems like as good of time as any start eating more salad. However delightful a salad doused in Ranch dressing may sound, I am really craving some creaminess without the cream.
Enter: hemp seeds (or, to be exact, hemp hearts, which are the edible portion of the hemp seed). Hemp seeds are from the same plant as marijuana but contain a very low level of THC and will not get you high. They do boast an impressive nutritional profile – complete protein, high in omegas, high in various vitamins – but I would caution against buying into some of the “cure all” claims I have read (if it seems too good to be true…). While hemp may not cure cancer, it sure does make a thick, creamy dressing when blitzed in the food processor!
I originally developed this Hemp Seed “Ranch” Dressing when I was blogging for Tant Hill Farm, and it has been my go-to homemade dressing for a while. I recently changed it up a bit to include smoked paprika, a little olive oil, and nutritional yeast flakes and I like it even more. If you are looking for other flavor combinations, dill also goes well with orange, mustard, horseradish, basil and parsley. One note on using hemp seeds – they are silly expensive – like $22 a pound expensive. The good news: you only need 2-1/4 ounces for this recipe which equates to $3, so it’s not as bad as it seems.
I wanted to include a few notes on growing dill in case you happen to have a garden. I purchased a few dill plants in April and they happily grew in a less than ideal spot in my yard (it doesn’t get sun until early afternoon and at that point, the sun is blazing hot). I wasn’t johnny-on-the-spot this summer (pregnant ladies no likey the heat) so when the plants went to seed, they dried and then spread all over the yard. See pictures below – dill plants sprouted up in cracks, crevices and under other plants late in the summer. Now, that area has even less light, we have had some dry spells and the temps have dipped in the 30s during the night, and yet the dill is still going strong. So it might be worth planting dill in places you don’t think other plants will grow!
If that doesn’t convince you to grow dill, here are a few fun facts:
So, whether you grow it yourself or just buy a bunch at the store, I hope you enjoy the recipe!