Even if you're not a big football fan, you'll likely get caught up in the Super Bowl and all its junk food temptations. It's fun to indulge, but then there's the morning after: No matter who won, your body feels like a loser. To keep the menu abundant, eye-catching and satisfying, I like to serve three healthy dips for the big game.
Most of us know avocados are good for us in the way that olive oil is. Compared with other fats, such as butter, shortening and lard, they're a healthy choice. But you still have to account for their fat. For this reason I'm always looking for ways to lighten one of my favorite dips: guacamole.
Because of their great color and relatively neutral flavor, frozen green peas have been my go-to guacamole stretcher in the past, but as frozen edamame (boiled green soybeans) become more widely available, I prefer their savory yet neutral flavor and chunky texture. And there's good news on the nutritional front: Per cup, edamame contain only 8 fat grams, just one of which is saturated, compared with an avocado's 22 fat grams (3 of which are saturated).
How to lighten and freshen classic French onion dip? With nonfat Greek yogurt prominently displayed in every well-stocked dairy case, it's easy. Sporting only 80 calories and no fat calories per cup, this thick yet substantial strained yogurt offers a similar texture and flavor to sour cream, which comes with a whopping 492 calories and 48 grams of fat for the same amount. To reduce the extremely high sodium that comes from the dehydrated onion soup mix, caramelize your own onions — it takes only a few minutes, and the health and flavor benefits are worth the effort.
No nibble fest is complete without a crudités and dip tray, but the dressing can be a problem. The typical ratio of oil to acid is at least two (if not three or four) to one, which translates to 1 cup of oil for every 1/4 to 1/2 cup of acidic ingredients. By using mild, sweet balsamic vinegar and a very generous dose of Dijon mustard, you can make vinaigrette that is not only lower in fat but also thick enough to seriously adhere to the vegetables.
I love crisp, crunchy raw vegetables, though this time of year I prefer them roasted. Turns out the extra cooking step isn't that hard. In fact, I've discovered you can pan-roast vegetables in a skillet on top of the stove in under 10 minutes, compared with oven roasting, which takes 30 to 40 minutes.
Start by steaming the vegetables. Place them cut side down in a more or less single layer in a large skillet, in a small amount of water seasoned with a little oil and salt. Cooking the vegetables in a covered pan over high heat, in small amount of water, means the vegetables steam fast. Once the water evaporates, the oil kicks in and the vegetables start to sauté. When you turn the heat to low, the cut sides of the vegetables start to color beautifully. As they brown, remove them to a serving platter to serve with that vinaigrette that's thick enough to really cling.
Starting with these healthy dips, I'm vowing to eat well at this year's game. And the morning after, I'm going to wake up a winner.
Next page: Edamame-avocado guacamole. »