Farmer’s Market Salad with Homemade Ranch and Pecorino

Up close and side view of Farmer's market salad with homemade ranch and pecorino

I could have called this farmer’s market salad recipe “Ranch and Pecorino with Greens,” because the dressing and the cheese are the only reason we eat salads anyway, right?

Not in the summertime.

While the creamy ranch and nutty pecorino certainly make the healthy salad more filling, satisfying, and desirable, the key to this recipe is using good, in-season vegetables— preferably those found at a local farmer’s market.

Finding great vegetables is not an easy feat in the Northeast, or pretty much anywhere except California. But for three delicious months in the middle of the year, seasonal, flavorful vegetables are everywhere.

To find a local farmer’s market near you, check out Local Harvest or Farmer’s Market Online.

Green beans, tomatoes, radishes, and scallions in a bowl

Summertime invites produce and herbs of all funky shapes and colors to party in the heat.

Zucchinis grow to the size of baseball bats, wild mint sweetens the humid air, and soft lettuce curls up from the warm earth. Then it all disappears for the rest of the year, and well into the next.

So let’s eat summer salads for lunch and dinner (or hey, breakfast too) as much as we can, because they are beautiful, brief, and yes— a great vehicle for homemade Ranch dressing.

Let’s make farmer’s market salad

This Farmer’s Market Salad asks you to look beyond the ingredients list (yes, really) and pick up whatever looks delicious at the market or nearest grocery store if that’s all you have access to.

I chose a medley of green beans, soft and sturdy lettuces, radishes, cherry tomatoes, and scallions.

Look for a variety of texture and color, then consider how you might prepare the vegetables. I like a mix of cooked and raw vegetables, so I cook the green beans here and leave everything else raw.

Overhead view of Farmer's market salad with homemade ranch and pecorino

If any ingredient happens to underwhelm, the herb-flecked Ranch will come to its dazzling rescue.

Homemade Ranch dressing is a combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, and dried herbs and spices. It’s typically made with buttermilk, but since that’s an ingredient that 99% of us don’t have, I use regular milk instead. On the other hand, I purchased dried dill specifically to make Ranch dressing because there really is no good substitution. Plus, it lasts forever, and you will certainly make this dressing again. A splash of apple cider vinegar gives the dressing just enough pucker, because I prefer my salad dressings (and everything else in life, really) on the tangy side.

The creamy, oniony, garlicky dressing coats the soft, succulent leaves of the salad and punches up the flavor of sweet tomatoes. My version is lactose-free because I have a dairy-intolerant family member; so I use Lactaid brand sour cream and milk. Mayo is naturally lactose-free.

I served grilled chicken on the side of this salad, which works as a main course rather than a starter. It would also be great with hard-boiled eggs or garbanzo beans to keep it vegetarian.

More healthy salad recipes:

Farmer's Market Salad with Creamy Ranch and Pecorino

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Dinner; Lunch American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Use your haul from the farmer's market (or produce aisle!) to create this stunning, summery salad. Just add your freshest vegetables to a bowl, top with tender herbs, salty aged cheese, and a lot of creamy, tangy homemade ranch dressing. Finish off with your favorite protein, and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • For the salad:
  • 8oz green beans, trimmed and sliced in half on a diagonal
  • 4-5 cups crunchy green lettuce, such as Bibb, Butter, Romaine, Green Leaf, or a combo, cut or torn into big bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 small bunch radishes, quartered lengthwise
  • 4-5 scallions, roots and dark green parts removed, then thinly sliced
  • A few sprigs of fresh tender herbs, such as dill, parsley, or cilantro
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Protein of choice: hard boiled eggs, chickpeas, grilled chicken, etc.
  • For the ranch:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

1

Cook the green beans however you’d like. You can blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes, char them on a grill pan, or steam them. Just make sure they maintain their crispness, so only cook them for a few minutes. Season with salt.

2

In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all of the ingredients for the ranch dressing. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired.

3

Set out the green beans, lettuces, cherry tomatoes, radishes, scallions, herbs, and cheese. To serve, top a handful of lettuce with all of the vegetables, pick off whole leaves of fresh herbs and add them to the salad, then use a vegetable peeler to peel wide shards of Pecorino on top. Don’t be shy, this is a salad after all. Add your preferred protein, then drizzle everything with some of the ranch dressing. Finish with a pinch of salt and a lot of pepper.

Notes

Yes, it is possible to make lactose-free ranch! I use Lactaid brand sour cream and milk, and mayonnaise is naturally lactose free. For wine, you'd want a nice, clean white to go with the creamy dressing. Oregon Chardonnays and Pinot Gris would both be excellent options, or unoaked California Chardonnay.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Tori
    September 28, 2018 at 10:41 am

    5 stars
    This ranch is BEYOND.

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