May 25, 2011

Sanctuary Dip

by IsaChandra

Makes 2 1/2 cups
Total time: 10 minutes || Active time: 10 minutes

A cool, creamy, tangy dip that’s calling out for a potato chip or baby carrot sacrifice. No BBQ is complete without ranch dip! But since ranches are sad places, and since I am throwing a BBQ tonight in honor of Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary’s Just Eats tour, I’m calling it Sanctuary Dip. (Not to be confused with the Sanctuary Dressing in Appetite For Reduction.)

I typically like to use fresh ingredients, but I feel like ranch is calling out for dried herbs and pantry staples. There’s something very American about throwing everything into a blender and making dip happen. I use a one two punch of tofu and cashews for the creamy base.

1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, and drained
1 cup water
3 to 4 ounces extra firm tofu (1/4 of a typical package)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable broth powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried dill

Place cashews, water, tofu, lemon juice and agave in the blender. Puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula often to make sure you get everything. This can take up to 5 minutes depending on the strength of your blender.

Add the onion powder, veg broth powder, garlic powder and salt, and pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in the dried dill. Taste for salt and seasonings. Seal tightly and chill for at least an hour. The longer you let is chill, the firmer it will get.

Before serving, taste one last time and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve!

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm: Simone

    Hi Isa,

    This looks great! I have a friend who is allergic to soy–is there a substitute for the tofu? More cashews?

    Thanks for all of your awesome recipes!

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm: Deb

    Thanks Isa — this looks wonderful!

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm: Brandy

    Simone, I’ve made recipes like this in the past that used Vegenaise instead of the tofu + cashew combo. I’ve heard that soy-free Vegenaise exists, but if you can’t find it, you could try a soy-free vegan mayo recipe like those suggested here as the base:

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm: Al

    I feel like every recipe that calls for tofu should give a link to the type of tofu it’s referencing. I can buy extra firm silken tofu like this stuff (, or I can buy water-packaged extra firm tofu like this stuff ( I can also buy various other kinds that say extra firm, firm or super firm which will all give me varied results.

    I’m guessing since this is a dip, I should use the extra firm silken tofu (in the tetra pack), right?

    • May 26, 2011 at 4:31 am: IsaChandra

      If it were very important which kind you use, I would reference it. I didn’t use the tetra pack, I used water-packed, but any of them will work. Even soft tofu will work here! Dips are pretty flexible.

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm: Rebecca

    I was just going to search on the internet for Ranch Dip and then you posted this recipe. I can’t wait to try it. I miss Ranch Dressing for dipping veggies.

  • May 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm: Mallory

    My omni husband has been requesting ranch, I can’t wait to try this and if it keeps well maybe I’ll serve it at the wedding!!!

  • May 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm: Stacey

    I love how easy this sounds. Must try it! Thanks!

  • May 26, 2011 at 1:42 am: Andy Dufresne

    Sounds and looks great! I’m going to make it soon!

  • May 26, 2011 at 3:06 am: erin

    you have no idea how happy i am to see this recipe. I have yet to make a good “ranch” dressing and my vegan pizza has been in need of a dip partner…so thrilled!!

  • May 26, 2011 at 8:26 am: Canuck Vee

    “I use a one two punch of tofu and cashews”
    Every little thing you do is magic.

  • May 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm: Gina

    The cashews are soaking as I write…and thanks for the name, much appreciated (names are important).

  • May 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm: Colleen

    What kind of broth powder do you use?

  • May 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm: cadryskitchen

    I’m soaking my cashews too! I can’t wait to make this one. I enjoy Vegenaise every now and again, but it’s nice to see a vegan ranch without it.

  • May 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm: Kris

    I am a ranch fanatic, and am always trying to find the perfect dip/dressing to relive my childhood memories. Cannot wait to give this a shot!!

  • May 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm: claire

    some broth powders are gross, can you tell us what you like to use? thanks for all you do and all your magical recipes!

    • May 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm: IsaChandra

      Sure! I use Frontier usually.

  • May 27, 2011 at 8:16 am: Meagan

    No fair! I’m pregnant and now all I want is some chips and dip! I can’t remember the last time I had something like that.

  • May 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm: rhonda

    I was a hero last night for making this to eat with artichokes! Husband loved it. Thanks for my new standby dip recipe.

  • May 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm: Ashley

    OMG. I’ve been looking for a good vegan “ranch” dressing recipe. I will have to try this out soon! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • May 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm: Meg

    How long will this ranch dip keep in the fridge?

  • May 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm: LeahR

    Hi Isa, wondering if this is raw cashews? I keep meaning to ask that when you post a recipe with cashews. Thanks for coming up with this. I do miss Ranch dressing. And I love that you named it after Gene.

    • May 30, 2011 at 6:03 am: IsaChandra

      They don’t have to say “raw.” As long as they don’t say “roasted” the cashews will work.

  • May 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm: Catalina

    I made this with raw sunflower seeds and it is delicious. Not as smooth as I wish it was, but I attribute that to the terrible $1 food processor I have. Either way, huge freaking salad for dinner tonight with sanctuary goodness.

  • May 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm: Sara (The Veggie-Eco Life)

    Again, a recipe that looks so delicious. Mouthwatering!!

  • June 1, 2011 at 2:33 am: Michelle

    Made this for Memorial Day, it was a hit! Will definitely make it again.

  • June 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm: Dawn

    Simone, I haven’t tried this particular recipe, but usually white beans in place of tofu will work in something like this. That’s how I’ll make it.

  • June 6, 2011 at 2:15 am: SaraJane

    :O This is just in time! I’m having a bunch of people over next weekend to watch Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus and was trying to think of some fun snacks. I’m definitely making this! Yay!

  • June 12, 2011 at 1:13 am: hippobeach

    made it – it is great so far from the samples i’ve sneaked. i’m sure it’ll be even more awesome once it’s chilled for a while. another winner, isa… as always :)

  • June 16, 2011 at 1:43 am: Ophelia

    This is actually great as a topping too (isn’t any dip great as a topping ;)) with pasta or rice. Thank you!

  • July 3, 2011 at 7:16 am: Leah Palmer

    How do you use the beans? I would LOVE to replace the soy with that!!!

  • July 4, 2011 at 4:01 am: Stella

    Has anyone made this with something replacing the agave? I never use agave and don’t want to go out and buy some just to use a teaspoon of it.
    Any suggestions??

  • July 8, 2011 at 12:54 am: Janel

    This is great! I love how your recipes are so versatile and substitute-friendly. Even if I don’t have all the ingredients, I try it anyway to see what happens and it has always turned out well. For this one, I didn’t have lemon juice so I used sauerkraut liquid and less salt. I left out the agave, on accident, but it’s still good! Thank you so much for all the work you do on your blog. I’m new to vegan cuisine and thanks to you, more and more of our meals are vegan.

    • July 8, 2011 at 4:41 am: IsaChandra

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy that my recipes are helping you out.

  • July 10, 2011 at 8:39 am: Marlo

    I can’t find vegetable broth powder (only boullion, which I think would be too salty?) Is there something that can be used in its place?

  • July 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm: Courtney

    This is such a yummy summer dip! Made it last night with a veggie boullion cube and omitted the salt and it turned out great, was perfect with pita chips. I used a food processor, and mine was grainier than the picture. Next time I will probably use a blender, but my boyfriend who is non-vegan loved it:) Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  • July 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm: Nico

    This sounds awesome!
    I’ll be using soaked oat bran instead of tofu. I’m assuming that the tofu is in this recipe for binding? A good oat mash is usually great for a binding.
    Have fun, cook on!

  • August 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm: Paige

    Left it in the fridge overnight, woke up this morning and it’s thin and runny. What did I do wrong?

  • September 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm: Beth

    YUMMY!!! Ranch is like crack to me. Thanks for the best vegan ranch dressing ever!

  • October 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm: Bronwyn

    sounds delish! can’t wait to try! i love Frontier’s Chickenless Chicken Broth powder!! Yum yum!

  • October 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm: Angela

    How did you get your dip to be so white?? Mine is a darker and looks less like traditional ranch dip. It’s still nom-rific on carrots and ruffles, though!

    • October 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm: IsaChandra

      Hmm, I didn’t do anything other than what’s in the directions!

  • October 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm: Angela

    Maybe it’s the tofu I used, which is homemade at the co-op where I bought it. Oh well!!! My man and I massacred the dip last night when we made it home from the bars. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • January 28, 2012 at 2:14 am: Monica

    I made the recipe from AFR today and was extremely satisfied with what I ate. I was even thinking that it would be good with cashews and lemon juice, so I imagine this version would also be quite tasty.

  • April 21, 2012 at 2:51 am: Kamryn Leigh

    Where I live, it’s really difficult to find broth powder. Is there anything I can sub? I hate to be one of the people that posts dumb questions like that, but… This just looks so good… : o’ *drooling*

  • May 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm: Becky

    This is so good Isa! I’ve been eating more veggies-as-snacks with this dip. You’re my prime example of someone that followed their heart and is changing the world. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    • May 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm: IsaChandra

      That is sweet, thank you!

  • September 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm: Mindy

    We’re going to try this on a BBQ’d pizza tonight… I can’t wait!

  • October 14, 2012 at 2:16 am: Chandra

    This was so good!!! I used fresh garlic just because I didn’t have the garlic powder, it worked fine. Thank you!!

  • October 15, 2012 at 3:14 am: Emilia Smythe

    it isnt cooked? D:

  • January 31, 2013 at 3:12 am: Malorie

    what the hell, how are all of your recipes so good?? Thank you so much……

    sincerely, a pregnant girl who was craving this exact tasting ranch.

    • January 31, 2013 at 5:04 am: IsaChandra

      Hee, glad i could help!

  • April 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm: lily

    Thank you for creating this! It is so nice, I have it with veggie sticks and also as a topping for baked potatoes and salad. Every one of your recipes has worked out perfectly, I think you are a genius. Vegan cooking can be tricky but you nail it. My omni family tried it and loved it, couldn’t tell it was dairy free.

  • April 25, 2014 at 11:21 pm: AshYTim

    Just made this…. And yes, this is THE ranch dip recipe. Period. Thank you:]

  • August 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm: Lisa

    Just made this for the second time. Switched out the dill for a tablespoon of chili powder and a couple slices of jalapeno for a Southwest Ranch. I love both versions! Keeping this in regular rotation.