For some time now I’ve been avoiding bottled ranch in favor of freshly made ranch, but there I was, in the condiment aisle checking to see if there was anything new when it caught my eye – Bernstein’s Light Fantastic Parmesan Garlic Ranch. I’ve tried several other types of “enhanced” ranch like Kraft’s Three Cheese Ranch or Hidden Valley’s Original Ranch® with Parmesan, but they’ve all left me a bit disappointed. This one looked different though. It had a nice creamy look and was filled with visible spices. I was a little worried about the “Light Fantastic” part of the name, but it turns out, this is more “fantastic” tasting than “light” tasting.
If you want a bold dressing that tastes like Parmesan cheese and garlic with a little bit of ranch added for texture, then you want this one. The bulk of the flavor comes from the whole pieces of shredded Parmesan, seasoned in a strong garlic flavor. You can barely tell it’s a ranch dressing, but it is very tasty.
The very first thing I tried with this dressing was some mozzarella sticks. This is such an amazing combo. They fit so perfectly together; the mozzarella, the Parmesan, the breading and the garlic. I’ve always preferred ranch over marinara sauce, when it comes to mozzarella sticks, but this stuff beats them both hands down. I also tried it on a salad, and that was very good too.
When it comes to other combinations, however, it’s not always a winner. I tried it with some jalapeño poppers, and it just didn’t do it for me. I’d rather have traditional ranch dressing with poppers (or a jalapeño jelly is VERY good). It is a nice treat with fries if you want something different. But if you are in the mood for ranch with your fries, you better stick with a regular flavored version. The same goes for any cheddar based food like cheese fries or potato skins.
The texture of this dressing is very nice. It’s not too thick, so it works well with salad, but it is thick enough to be a great dipping ranch. It’s your typical thickness for a bottled ranch, so you can really scoop up a good quantity of ranch, even with foods like mozzarella sticks or French fries that tend to not work well with runnier dressings. The numerous bits of Parmesan cheese make for a unique, but desirable, addition to the overall texture.
I usually don’t like light or diet foods, but this dressing is so flavorful that you can’t tell it’s a light dressing. They advertise 60% Fewer Calories and 80% Less Fat than regular dressing. And in fact Kraft Ranch Dressing has 110 calories per serving versus Bernstein’s 50 Calories per serving and Hidden Valley’s 100. You can find the full nutrition information here: http://www.bernsteins.com/scripts/products/view.asp?product_id=189
This is a great specialty ranch, and really good for a bottled ranch found in the warm isle. It is full of flavor and the parmesan is real, not just a flavoring. Bernstein’s Light Fantastic Parmesan Garlic Ranch works well as both a dip and a dressing. It’s a nice change of pace from the traditional dressing, but if you are in the mood for the real deal you better grab a packet of Hidden Valley.