• Tamar Rothenberg, MS, RD

Why you need to start making dips

Updated: Feb 22

Here's the easiest way to boost nutrition and flavor in your meals. Take a dip! Kids love them, they're crowd-pleasing, and colorful dips will make you look like you cooked all day. Creamy, dreamy dips are a delicious way to include more plant foods.


Dips are super-convenient, and I'm not talking about purchased dips like packaged hummus. While I love the convenience of buying dips, many brands contain unnecessary levels of fat and preservatives, which impact flavor and nutrition. I've included a recipe below for protein-filled Edamame Hummus.


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Easy and nutritious dip
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dip

For example, a popular brand of hummus contains 1 gram of fiber per serving. Whip up your own red pepper hummus, and voila, each serving now contains 4 times as much fiber. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!


The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables that are blended with oil or another liquid. Try eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, or cauliflower. Now the fun part: flavor boosters! Add tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper and now your dip is complete.


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Equally important – and fun – are the vehicles to use to mop up your dip. Here are some of my favorite cancer-kicking combinations with healthy vehicles ideas:


Edamame Hummus pumps up protein content

Ingredient and flavor combinations

  • Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado. Boost the protein content and breast cancer protection by adding defrosted edamame beans. (See recipe below!) Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh, such as kale.

  • Roasted vegetables – Babaganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy.

  • If you're short on time, start with store-bought and add more seasonings and ingredients.

  • Whip up fresh avocado using just a hand blender. It makes an airy, delicate dip in minutes.

  • Think color! Add a roasted red beet into hummus and watch it transform into a pink-red delicacy.

Whip avocado for a heavenly dip
Whipped Avocado Dip

Vehicles:

  • Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle cut carrot chips or slice carrots on angle. Baby carrots work too.

  • Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.

  • Broccoli or cauliflower – Raw or lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness. You want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.

  • Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.

  • Endive – This nutrient dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.

  • Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.

  • Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go to vehicle.

  • Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.

  • Cherry tomatoes – I love using grape tomatoes on crudités platters. Use toothpicks to help keep fingers out of the dip.


Hummus with a protein boost
Recipe for Edamame Hummus

Recipe:

Edamame Hummus

Prep Time: 15 mins

Servings: 6


Ingredients

3 cup shelled edamame beans, frozen and defrosted

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 lemons, squeezed (1/4 cup juice)

2 Tbs tahini

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cumin, ground

1/4 cup water, or more as needed

4 scallions, chopped


Directions

Prep

1. Crush garlic/juice lemons/chop scallions.

Make

1. Add edamame to food processor, reserving a few beans for garnish.

2. Pulse until finely chopped. Add garlic and pulse several more times.

3. Add lemon juice, tahini, salt, and cumin and run processor until smooth, adding more water as needed to thin.

4. Pulse in scallions.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Place hummus in bowl, garnish with reserved beans and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve with crisp, raw vegetables.


Subscribe! Download a free 3-step guide to building power snacks. Click the button on the top of the blog page and you'll be directed to the subscribe link.

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