I have a secret.... sometimes I like to have snacks for dinner.
Often I have a late lunch and I'm just not hungry for a full-blown, well balanced meal. It's my truth. I try to feel ok about it because I'm technically listening to my body, which is most important. But in a perfect world, having a balanced meal would be a little bit better.
I don't snack for dinner every day. However, Brian is in a bowling league that plays on Wednesday nights, and it has become my regular routine to put on The Office and enjoy a couple of my favorite snacks for dinner. No judgement, just listening to my body and enjoying some real-food snacks that make me feel good.
My new favorite snack-for-dinner food is this Real-Food Fries and Ranch Sauce recipe. Fries have never been my thing. I might be the only person in America that feels this way but I could do without french fries forever. Not because they are deep fried or unhealthy, I'm just not that into them.
However, ranch sauce makes everything better in my book. There was a time in my life (college, where so many unhealthy habits form) that ranch was a condiment I had to have on everything I ate. Tacos, pizza, bread sticks, veggies, obviously. You name it, I ranched it.
I have since paired back my ranch eating substantially but a month or so ago a family member sent me a healthy ranch dressing recipe. I was skeptical. I had attempted a few healthy ranch recipes before to no avail but I decided to give it another shot. I'm so glad I did because it is delicious!
I've since been using the ranch recipe with clients, encouraging them to eat more veggies with this new sauce, which has been a huge success! I've also had it as a staple in my fridge, making a new batch each week. It is a great recipe for the busy people out there because you can make a big batch in 5 minutes and have it all week. It is a great addition to nearly anything- salads, veggies, grain bowls- the list, goes, on. Perfect for meal prep!
The other day I had sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichoke) from my local farm I needed to use. Sunchokes are a root veggie that is a great prebiotic to support gut health. I REALLY didn't want to get rid of them because they are like gut-health gold but they were definitely on their last leg. I remembered I had some healthy ranch in the fridge so I decided to try to turn them into fries- and it worked! But these are fries that I actually liked. More flavor, cooked to my liking, and the best part, I was supporting my gut.
This recipe uses sunchokes but really any root veggie would work. Some stand-ins could be turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes.
Let me know what you think of this new twist on one of the classic American snack foods!
Real-Food Fries and Ranch Sauce
Makes 2 cups of fries and 3 cups of sauce
Real-Food Fries Ingredient
3 cups of sunchokes or any tuber (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip, rutabaga) Note: Sunchokes are definitely the fastest cooking and softest tuber of the above examples. The rest take a little longer and make a sturdier fry.
2 teaspoons avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Ranch Sauce Ingredients-
This recipe is slightly modified from it's original form. I do not know the author of the original version, unfortunately.
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Raw Coconut Aminos OR 1.5 tablespoons tamari/soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw hemp seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup fresh scallions, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel sunchokes using a peeler or small pairing knife. (If you are using potatoes instead you can leave the peel on, just wash well.) Cut sunchokes so they resemble fries. Place in a bowl.
Drizzle avocado oil onto fries and toss to coat. Lay on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on your desired doneness, flipping half way through. Note: The thinner your fries the faster they bake. They also stay a little more crispy, where as larger fries can get a little squishy.
While the fries are roasting, combine all the ingredients for the ranch except the dill and scallions in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Pour ranch into a bowl. Add the dill and scallions and stir. Serve with fries or anything else you like ranch with!
Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegan.
Meal Prep Tips~
The fries are only good if eaten fresh from the oven but you can prep a large amount of the tubers to roast throughout the week. Just peel (if necessary) and cut into fry size pieces. Place in the fridge in a sealed container. When ready to roast, coat with oil, salt and pepper and toss them in the oven!
The ranch recipe makes a large batch. Great for using on salads, grain bowls, or as a dipping sauce. Make the recipe at the beginning of the week and it should be fine in a sealed container for 5-7 days.