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3 Healthy Dips for the Super Bowl

Be a winner by eating right while watching the fun

French Onion Dip With Crackers, Healthier Superbowl Dips

To keep your menu abundant, eye-catching and satisfying, serve three healthy dips for the big game.

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.

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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.

Edamame-Avocado Guacamole

Makes a generous 2 cups

Serve this edamame-avocado guacamole with I-can't-believe-they're-not-fried tortilla chips.

1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed and coarsely mashed with a fork

2 avocados, halved, pitted, fleshed scooped out and mashed with a fork

3 scallions, trimmed and sliced thin

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1-½ tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon hot red-pepper sauce

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, in medium bowl. Adjust seasonings and serve with chips.

A Lighter French Onion Dip

Makes a generous 2 cups

By "minced or granulated garlic," I mean garlic from the grocery-store spice rack. It's the kind of garlic you find on a garlic or "everything" bagel.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced thin

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

½ cup light sour cream

1 tablespoon dehydrated chives, plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon minced or granulated garlic

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until caramel brown, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Cool, coarsely chop, and transfer to a medium bowl, along with the remaining ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine and let stand to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Can be covered and refrigerated for couple of days. Garnish with chives, if you like, and serve with chips, crackers or vegetables of your choice.

Balsamic Dip With Skillet-Roasted Winter Vegetables

Makes 1 cup dressing and enough vegetables to serve 12

1 large garlic clove

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup Dijon mustard

Salt and ground black pepper

10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ head cauliflower, broken into large florets, each floret halved

12 brussels sprouts, halved

4 carrots, peeled and halved

Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard and light sprinkling of salt and pepper in 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of oil (can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week).

Mix ½ cup water, light sprinkling of salt and 1 tablespoon of remaining oil in large skillet; place as much cauliflower, cut side down, as will fit in single layer. Cover skillet and turn heat on high; cook until water evaporates and cauliflower starts to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Uncover pan and turn burner to medium-low; cook until each floret's cut side is well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer cauliflower to plate and set aside. Repeat cooking process, adding another ½ cup of water, light sprinkling of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil in same large skillet. Place brussels sprouts and carrots cut side down; cook according to cauliflower instructions. Arrange all vegetables on plate or platter large enough to accommodate them. Serve vegetables warm (you can microwave them to take the chill off) or at room temperature with balsamic dip alongside.

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