Looking for a healthy dish to bring to a summer BBQ? Dips are a win, win. Not only are they a crowed pleaser, but a dip bowl nestled in a platter of colorful anti-inflammatory veggies is the perfect way to guarantee there will be a healthy option to build your plate with, no matter where you are going.
Dips may seem intimidating but there is a simple formula:
Begin with creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables (eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower).
Puree with with olive or avocado oil and flavor boosters such as tahini paste, a clove of fresh garlic, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for brightness.
Finish by seasoning with chopped herbs, dried spices, salt and pepper.
Here are some of my favorite combinations.
Hummus - The classic version of hummus is made with a can of chickpeas but you can swap in any bean. For a traditional version add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin. Variations include kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, or try this recipe for roasted red pepper hummus.
Guacamole – Traditional guacamole made with avocado is always a winner, but I have a new favorite - Kale and Avocado Guacamole. This recipe swaps 1/2 of the avocado with defrosted edamame beans to decrease the calories and increase the protein.
Roasted vegetables – Baba Ganoush, a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic, is the ultimate example of a roasted veggie dip. But why stop with eggplant? Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini and carrots. Roasting brings out a sweetness and creaminess that makes these veggies the perfect dip base.
What to serve with your dips
Carrot chips or sticks – Purchase prepared crinkle cut carrot chips or slice carrots on angle. Baby carrots work too.
Cucumber slices – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
Broccoli or cauliflower florets – Lightly steam these vegetables.
Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
Endive – The leaves of this nutrient powerhouse also makes a perfect dip scoop.
Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and a delicious crunch.
Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go-to vehicle.
Snap peas – Raw or lightly steamed.