Friday, June 3, 2011

Taking a Dip

Carrots and radishes - perfect for dipping

As someone who loves pretty much every vegetable out there and all fruits with the exception of pears (it's a mouth-feel thing for me - ugh!) I have a hard time relating to people who can't find at least ONE fruit and ONE vegetable they can enjoy.  But after talking about the new nutritional guidelines ( with a lot of folks I was more than a little shocked to find there are a lot of veggie haters out there.  A lot.  So I am embarking on a mission  to encourage you, my dear readers, to eat more fruits and vegetables.  To that end I am offering up a few easy-to-make dip recipes.  

Who can resist gorgeous raspberries...
For kids dips are a great way to increase vegetable consumption - don't ask me why but kids *love* to eat things they dip.  When my daughter was younger she was happy dipping fruit and vegetables in WATER just for the pure pleasure of dipping.   Food on a stick is also incredibly appealing to children so I've also included a recipe for fruit kabobs with a healthy and great tasting yogurt dip (which also makes a nice breakfast).  And since adults are really just big kids these dips are a great way to add side dish to a simple summer dinner or even something to build a whole lunch around.  If you don't have the time to cut up a bunch of fresh vegetables (which I fully admit can be very time consuming) just grab some already prepped vegetables from the refrigerator section at the market.   

See how easy I made it for you?  Now you have no excuses.  Get dipping.

Ranch Dip (or Salad Dressing)
Yields about 1 cup

½ c low fat mayo
½ c low fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced and mashed into oblivion (use the back of your knife to make a paste)
2 TBS fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh dill, finely chopped
1 TBS fresh chives, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
2-3 TBS Buttermilk for thinning
salt and pepper

  1. Combine mayo, sour cream, garlic and herbs in a bowl and mix well.  
  2. Add in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Thin with the buttermilk to your desired consistency.  If you don't have buttermilk you can just use regular milk but the buttermilk adds a nice tangy flavor.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

2-3 cloves of garlic (adjust to your own taste)
2 cups or 1 15-oz can of chickpeas drained with the liquid reserved
Juice of 2 lemons (approximately 6 TBS - again adjust to your taste)
2 TBS reserved chickpea liquid or water
Salt to taste
Olive oil, paprika, chopped parsley for garnish (all optional)

There are two schools of thought on hummus - some people like it a little chunky with some texture and others like it silky smooth.  I am definitely in the latter camp and that is why I make this in a food processor.  If you don't mind a more coarse texture you can easily make it by hand.

  1. Place garlic in bowl of food processor (fitted with the metal blade) and mince.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (excluding the optional garnishes) and continue to mix until the hummus reaches your desired consistency.  If it is too thick add in more of the chickpea liquid or water.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a swirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of the the paprika and/or parsley.

Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip
This recipe is really fun to make with kids.  They love creating different patterns with the fruit.

For the kabobs:
4-5 cups of your favorite fruit cut into bite sized pieces - some suggestions:
Grapes, kiwi, watermelon, strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, raspberries, bananas, apples (if not eating immediately dip in lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning)

For the dip:
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 tsp fresh chopped mint
1 tsp honey

  1. Thread the fruit on straws or small straw stirrers (used for coffee) - I like to use these because they don't have sharp ends which can be dangerous to kids.
  2. Combine the yogurt, mint and honey and mix well.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

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