1 Dish 2 Spoons: Dips

30 Dec

‘Tis the season for entertaining!  And even if you’re not the one hosting, many people like to bring a dish as a contribution to dinner.  Dips are guaranteed crowd pleasers, especially when you serve them with a variety of dippers, such as cut up vegetables, pita wedges, or crackers.  The only problem is that most dips are laden with cream, cheese, mayonnaise, and other hidden ingredients that, sure, may taste good, but don’t mesh at all with your goal of not gaining any weight over the holidays.  Here are our healthy variations on everybody’s favourite snack:

Tess’ Take

I’m getting a bit too predictable.  The first two places I look for recipes are Oh She Glows and Martha Stewart.  It should come as no surprise then to our regular readers that today’s post comes from Ms. Stewart: Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip. Now, I’ll be honest and say that this does require a bit of labour, but I promise you it’s worth it!!  This was the best dip I’ve had in quite a while.  I could really taste the toasty bread and walnuts, and the lemon juice and balsamic gave it a nice tang.  I was supposed to bring some of this to Jess’ NYE party tomorrow, but I’m afraid it may not survive that long…. sorry Jess!!

Ingredients

  • 3 red bell peppers, halved and seeds removed (I didn’t have enough red peppers, so I used half red and half orange)
  • One 6-inch pita bread (or, if you forgot to buy your pita bread like I did, use some whole wheat sandwich bread instead)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 4 ounces walnut pieces, plus a bit more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
1. Broil the peppers until charred.  Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and bread (until golden and crispy).
2. Set the peppers aside in a bowl and cover with saran wrap.  Leave them for 15 minutes.  Tear the pita (or sandwich) bread into 2 inch pieces.  Place in a bowl and cover with the water.  Let them soak for a few minutes until soft.
3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the walnuts and garlic and process until the mixture is crumby.

My brand new food processor! This was a Christmas gift from my mom. I can't wait to really put this baby to the test!

4. By now it’ll be time to take the bread out from the water.  Transfer it to a sieve (or strainer) and press out the excess liquid.  Once you’re done that, remove the skins from the red peppers (you can discard the skins).

Notice Zuhri in the background, begging for food as usual. Hey, he didn't get to be a big strong dog by not eating his veggies!

5. Add the bread, peppers, paprika and cumin to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Add in the vinegar, lemon juice, oil, s&p and pulse until combined.
6. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate (covered) for 1 hour.  Ideally, you should let this sit for a whole day before serving as the flavors will blend together better.  I definitely can’t wait a whole day to eat this, so you’ll just have to try it for yourselves!

Jess’ Take

I discovered this dip quite accidentally when I was trying to use up some white beans I had in the fridge.

Combining the flavours of bean dip with guacamole, it also packs a nice protein punch making it ideal as a spread, dip or addition to your salad.

This is a quick and easy dip to prepare using very few ingredients, so it’s perfect for those last minute guests that happened to drop in.  Or for any of you entertaining on NYE, a great healthy appetizer 😉

Ingredients:

½ can white kidney beans

1 ripe avocao

Juice of 1 lime

½ tsp Herbamare

¼ tsp dried garlic

¼ tsp ground coriander

Directions

Put all your ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with some cut up veggies.

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