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4 Healthy and Hearty Dips for Your Veggies

By Joe Wilkes
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These 4 healthy and hearty dips are a great complement to the healthy vegetables that you eat them with. When aren't we going on and on about how you need to eat more vegetables? They're full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, and they're low in calories and fat. And one of the best ways to eat them? Raw. So you're trying to be a good camper, with your bowl of broccoli and cauliflower florets, baby carrots, and celery sticks, crunching your way to a leaner (and probably gassier) you. You know what would really make these veggies sing? Some dip! Vegetable Platter
French onion dip . . . or guacamole . . . or hummus . . . or nacho cheese. Ha! Guess again! Nothing can make your healthy vegetable snack descend the rungs of Michi's Ladder faster than a few dunks into a bowl of fatty, salty, delicious dip—not to mention what they'll do to your Slim in 6® or Turbo Jam® results. But we're not completely heartless. Here are some variations on some old favorites that are actually pretty good for you!

  1. HummusHummus. It's a perfect dip. Made primarily of creamed chickpeas, it's like dipping your vegetable in another vegetable! But not all hummus is created equal. Hummus can be loaded up with tahini (the sesame paste that gives hummus its nutty flavor) and olive oil, both of which are almost pure fat. Granted, they're both healthy fats, so a little is OK, but too much will pack on the pounds. Try making your own from scratch. Puree a can of chickpeas in a food processor or blender with lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper to taste. You can add as much tahini or olive oil as you think your diet can handle, or none at all. If the hummus is too thick, you could thin it with a little vegetable broth or water instead of oil.

  2. AvocadosGuacamole. Avocados? They're in the Pious Tier of Michi's Ladder. And guacamole is just mashed avocados, right? Right, but as with olive oil and tahini, avocados are full of calories. One avocado has 227 calories and 21 grams of fat. Instead, how about an easy-to-make avocado dip? In a food processor, combine one avocado, 1 cup of nonfat yogurt, and 1 cup of nonfat cottage cheese (all top-tier ingredients from Michi's Ladder). Blend until creamy and no lumps from the cottage cheese remain. Add cayenne pepper and ground cumin to taste. For extra flavor and texture, mix in some chopped fresh cilantro and onion before serving.

  3. French DipFrench onion dip. OK, nothing made of instant soup (essentially flavored salt) and full-fat sour cream is going to pass Michi muster. But onions are in the top tier, so that's a start. Instead of sour cream, how about tofu? It's not just that white brick that sits in the back of your fridge after a well-intentioned impulse buy. Puree 2 cups of extra-soft tofu in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of white-wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves to taste. Meanwhile, sauté some chopped onions in a little bit of olive oil until caramelized. Mix the onions into the tofu mixture, deglaze the pan with a little white wine, and add that to the dip as well.

  4. Spinach DipSpinach dip. Nothing's a bigger hit at a party than that hollowed-out sourdough bowl full of mayonnaise-y goodness. Instead of mayo though, try pureeing some nonfat yogurt and cottage cheese. Thaw out some frozen chopped spinach and mix that in; add some chopped water chestnuts and scallions for crunch and flavor. For extra zip and color, try mixing in some curry powder. With all that going on, you'll forget the mayo's gone! And don't forget to use whole-grain bread.
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