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Dippity Do-Da: Fast Healthy Dips & Spreads

Posted Aug 25 2008 2:51pm


“Dip” describes me as much as my posting today.



It’s one of those days where everything I’ve started has gone kaplooie, from breaking a jar of jam on the kitchen floor (sending shards of glass and gooey blackberry ricocheting to every corner of the kitchen; only an HOUR to clean up) to singeing my ear with my hair straightening wand (why didn’t I stick with the ponytail?), to hiding my keys from myself (finally found in the hamper).



Needless to say, I’m behind schedule. And since there’s still a spinning class to teach this afternoon, a sweet baby to bathe and feed, and a concert to attend tonight, I’ll have to speed through this entry.



It’s January 31st, and that means it’s the last day of my vegetable devotion month. I wasn’t sure which direction I would go for this final veg entry until my mother mentioned that my brother needs some inspiration for lunch.



More precisely, he wants ideas for children’s lunches (my nephews are 3 and 5). But Mom mentioned that some general lunch ideas for adults would be welcome, too. I’ll work on children’s lunch ideas in future posts, but for now, I offer three quick and delicious dips/spreads that are perfectly packable and portable for adult lunches; together with some vegetables and bread, they’re a fresh and healthy choice--and a delicious change of pace from turkey and pb & j sandwiches.



The one exception to my haphazard day is my recipe testing. It’s easily explained: all three of these dip recipes come together lickity-split (even when, like me, you’re feeling like a dippity-do). I developed them at separate times ovr the past two years for various cooking contests and, while they weren’t singled out for awards, their combination of convenience, taste, and good health is definitely prize-worthy in my book.



Tofu is the surprise ingredient in my enlightened hummus—you’d never know if you weren’t the one making it. Besides cutting the fat significantly (tahini is the usual ingredient—it’s high in flavor, but also high in fat and calories), the tofu delivers a silky smooth texture to the hummus.



As for the latter edamame and red pepper dips: I’ve had self-professed vegetable-haters beg for the recipes. Enjoy.



Enlightened Hummus



The level and types of seasonings for this hummus are not set in stone—play them up or down and vary them according to your taste. The sesame oil more than makes up for the sesame flavor of the absent tahini—but you could also use more olive oil in its place.



2 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas (about 1 and 1/3 15-ounce cans)

1 12.3-ounce package vacuum-packed lite silken tofu, drained

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon hot paprika (preferably smoked—pimenton)

1 tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil

1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves plus additional for garnish

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil



In a food processor purée all of the ingredients except the olive oil and parsley until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the hummus with the olive oil and garnish with parsley leaves. Serve with raw (or blanched) vegetables and pita. Makes about 3 cups.



Camilla’s Note: Dip can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.



Nutrition per Serving (2 tablespoons):

Calories 32; Fat 1.5g (poly 0.1g, mono 0.4g, sat 0.2g); Protein 1.9g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 2.8g; Sodium 68.6mg)

(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1 )



Edamame Dip with fresh Lime & Cilantro



This beautiful dip looks a lot like guacamole when prepared. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of garlic—boiling it takes off the sharp edge and gives it a smoother, sweeter flavor. And do reach for the bigger cloves—they’re actually milder than the smaller ones.



1 1-pound bag frozen shelled edamame

4 large cloves garlic, peeled

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro



Cook the edamame and garlic cloves in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain edamame and garlic in a colander. Rinse under cold water until cool.



Purée the garlic, oil, and 2 cups of the edamame in a food processor until smooth. With motor running, add 1/2 cup of the reserved edamame-cooking liquid in a stream. Add the remaining 1 cup edamame, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper and pulse until slightly lumpy. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid to thin if desired.



Transfer to a small bowl, stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 2 cups.



Nutrition per Serving (2 tablespoons):

Calories 72; Fat 4.5g (poly 0.7g, mono 2.9g, sat 0.5g); Protein 4.1 g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 5.2g; Sodium 74.1mg)

(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1 )



Camilla’s Note: Dip can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.



Smoky Roasted Pepper-Almond Dip



I ( loosely) based this easy dip on a traditional Syrian red pepper spread called Muhammara.



1/2 cup lightly salted smoked roasted almonds (about 3 ounces)

1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained

2 teaspoons lemon juice1 garlic clove, peeled

2 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil



Place almonds in a small food processor; pulse until finely ground. Add the roasted peppers, lemon juice, garlic, honey and cumin; pulse until processed to a coarse puree. With machine running, pour olive oil through feed tube and process until puree thickens slightly. Season dip to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. Makes about 1 and 1/4 cups.



Nutrition per Serving (2 tablespoons):

Calories 72; Fat 6.3g (poly 1.1g, mono 4.3g, sat 0.6g); Protein 1.5g; Cholesterol 0mg; Carbohydrate 3.3g; Sodium 40.1mg)

(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1 )



Camilla’s Note: Dip can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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