In a bid to produce sustainable food, students from the University of California (UCLA) have made blink-182-inspired vegan Dude Ranch Dressing.
The company behind the product, which shares its name with the dressing and with blink-182’s second studio album, was founded by third-year English student Megan Hullander and fourth-year geography and environmental studies student Angela Simmons.
The pair prioritized eco-friendliness when crafting the ranch dressing recipe. Speaking to the Daily Bruin, the university’s student newspaper, Hullander explained that though she is not a vegan herself, she is interested in the plant-based, cruelty-free movement and is passionate about the planet.
Simmons used information from her environment-focussed course to help the start-up business make planet-smart decisions. She highlighted the drought in California, explaining that Dude Ranch Dressing chose to forgo dairy due to the extensive amount of water used in its production. The Daily Bruin pointed out that it can take up to 2,000 gallons of water to make just one gallon of milk.
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They even opted away from resource-heavy plant products like almonds; roughly 15.3 gallons of water is required to harvest just 16 almonds, the student publication noted.
Straying from traditional condiment packaging that is often made from plastic, Dude Ranch Dressing is sold in glass mason jars with a logo painted on the side.
But in striving for sustainability, the duo didn’t compromise on taste. “We tried to make it as Earth-friendly as possible and as healthy as we possibly could, and get all the ingredients while still maintaining the taste,” Hullander commented.
She continued, “We started out making recipes that we found, and then just replaced ingredients to use ones that were either more sustainable, or added things we thought would be good for flavor.”
The pair realized they could swap out “heavy dairy products” like mayonnaise and buttermilk, which are frequently used in ranch, for vegan mayonnaise or soaked cashews. Studying other plant-based recipes online, they combined them with their own taste preferences and added fresh garlic cloves, parsley, and dill.
“It’s pretty packed with flavor but it’s not overwhelming,” Simmons said. “So it’s a really good balance between this crazy flavor, [but] you can enjoy carrots, or pita bread, or whatever you want to put your ranch on, and it doesn’t take away from the flavor of the food.”
Hullander and Simmons plan on growing their business, sharing a goal of creating a buffalo ranch flavor called “Mark Ruffalo.”
Image Credit: Ken Shin/Daily Bruin staff
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