Summer calls for relaxed evenings at home with loved ones and enjoying simple, delicious food. If you love to cook, you might want to spend your time in the kitchen chatting while you whip up something easy and fresh to pair with the summer heat, such as the below healthy dip recipes.
Healthy dips, served with fresh veggies, cut pita bread or corn chips, are a versatile favorite. Perfect for 'foodies' or even for those with dietary restrictions, you can choose the added ingredients and create flavorful concoctions with a food processor or hand blender.
Don't be afraid to vary the proportions to suit your taste or even cut the healthy dip recipe in half to start. One of the great things about dips is you can always add a little more of this or that until it's just right.
The 5 Easy and Healthy Dip Recipes:
1. Baba Ganoush:
Baba Ganoush is a rich, creamy dip that's packed with fiber. Perfect for the vegans in your life, it pairs well with drizzled olive oil. Its base is the often misunderstood eggplant, which is notoriously fussy -- but don't let that scare you. Choose an eggplant that is firm, with tight and shiny skin - that means it's not too ripe, and won't overwhelm your dip with unwanted flavor.
- 2 medium eggplants
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Prick the eggplants with a fork on all sides. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 375-degree heat. Remove and let cool.
- Peel off the eggplant skin. It may help to use a broad, flat knife to scrape away the innards. Place the meat of the eggplant into a food processor and combine with lemon juice. Then add tahini and blend until smooth.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs or salt.
- Broil the eggplant for 2 minutes on each side before cooking. This will give the vegetable a charred, smoky flavor. Alternatively, you can slice the raw eggplant and grill before removing the skin. Both options provide additional depth to the flavor.
- Add 2 to 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
- Hand mix the eggplant, tahini and juice for a chunkier texture. Start by mashing the eggplant to a pulp.
Tzatziki is the ultimate fresh, cool summer dip that gives adults and kids a needed boost of protein. Use all-natural yogurt to avoid allergens. If you're lucky enough to have a garden, this is a perfect way to use your homegrown cucumbers.
- 3 cups Greek yogurt
- 1 long English cucumber
- Grate the cucumber.
- Fold into the yogurt so the tzatziki maintains a lumpy texture.
- Dice the cucumber and blend in a food processor with 3 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 garlic clove and a sprig of dill.
- Then stir it into the yogurt. This process makes the tzatziki thinner, closer to a sauce. This version is best served with fish, rice or potatoes.
3. Spinach Dip
Spinach dip has been around so long even its variations have variations. But if you don't want the sharp taste of artichokes or the excess of fillers in the over-the-counter version, try this recipe, which focuses on a few core ingredients.
- 10 cups of baby spinach (packed)
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Steam or pan-fry spinach until wilted.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Blend in a food processor with sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
- Use frozen spinach instead of fresh.
- Eliminate the mayonnaise and add enough sour cream to cooked spinach to get the right consistency.
- Instead of chilled, you can serve warm as a side dish or with corn chips.
Salsa in its purest form might be eaten with a fork: all veggies, little water. There's no tomato sauce in this particular version - consider it a great side dish with some chopped-up avocado or guacamole.
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes
- 1 small white onion
- 1 small jalapeno
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Peel and finely chop the white onion.
- Dice the tomatoes into ½-inch cubes.
- Chop the jalapeno.
- Combine and gently mix all ingredients in a bowl, including the lime juice.
- Add 1/3 cup of cilantro or other herb according to taste.
- Eliminate the jalapeno if you're not partial to hot salsa.
- Use red onion for a sweeter taste.
Although you can make a simple hummus by just pureeing chickpeas, it's the tahini that really gives this Mediterranean staple its taste and consistency. Use the dairy case in your grocery store for flavor ideas. The possibilities for customization are almost endless.
- 2 x 400 g cans of chick peas
- 4 tsp tahini
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 3 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- Drain chickpeas and rinse with cold water, reserving the liquid from the cans.
- Blend in a food processor with the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and 4 tbsp of the liquid, until your preferred consistency is achieved.
- Add two cloves of crushed garlic and sea salt to taste.
- Paprika, coriander and parsley are excellent flavor additions.
- Blend in half of one red pepper to make red pepper hummus.
- Depending on your preferred consistency, you may add more of the liquid from the cans.
With all of these easy and healthy dip recipes for the summer, you can eat them right away or give them several hours to chill for the full flavors to set (my preferred strategy). All of these summer treats keep well for a few days in the fridge. Spoon your leftovers into a sealed glass container and keep some pre-cut veggies nearby for a quick snack. Since it's healthy and homemade, it's a guilt-free transgression to sample a bit throughout the day.