Aside from providing lyrics for mediocre 80s pop songs, dip can fill your belly and provide some nutrition as well. Not all dips are cholesterol-tastic and kcalorie landmines-- if you choose wisely, assorted dips can be healthful and delicious additions to any diet.
Here are a few of my most recent favorites:
Oasis Foods Lentil Dip
While I am a devoted fan of Whole Foods, I occasionally wander to a local health food store for more exotic foodie finds. On one such occasion, I came across Oasis Foods' Lentil Dip. Never before had I seen such an exotic dip--of all things to make into a dip, I would expect beans or cheese, but not lentils. Thus, for its sheer novelty, I threw it into my basket.
Upon opening, this lentil concoction looks a little...off. It has a strange texture, almost clay-like and much more solidified and thick than hummus. However, with a little mashing and stirring, it more closely resembles a "dip." Its taste is satisfyingly salty and hearty. The inclusion of Mediterranean spices provide for a fantastic flavor experience. Each 2 T serving provides a mere 11 kcalories, zero fat (as the label proudly proclaims), and 2 grams of protein. With stats like that, I don't feel guilty about the fact that I ate the entire tub in 2 sittings...
My favorite way to enjoy this dip is in the form of a lentil-veggie wrap. Mushrooms and tomatoes make excellent accompaniments to the lentil goodness. You can also enjoy the lentil dip as you might any other dip, with fresh crudites, crackers, or mini pita breads.
Cedar's Tomato Basil Hummus
I have been a long-time fan of Cedar's products, most notably their line of organic hummus; they come in varieties like roasted red pepper, "Garlic Lover's," and, my most recent discovery, tomato-basil. I found this a unique combination of flavors, as hummus varieties tend to reflect the food's Arabic heritage, featuring add-ins such as olives, pignoli, or lemon. This tomato-basil variety, however, takes hummus to Italia. Once again, the novelty of the item convinced me to give it a try.
Unlike the above lentil dip, this dip is flavorful and creamy from the moment the package is opened. It boasts the typical superstar profile of traditional hummus, with 2 grams of protein, just a half-gram of fat, and a smidgen of fiber and iron. FYI, it is wheat and gluten free as well!
Tomato-basil hummus makes for an excellent spread on sandwiches and wraps; try it in a grilled cheese for a true party in your mouth. It works well for portable meals as well--just pack it with some pita and raw veggies, and you've got a tasty meal to-go.
Wholly Guacamole 100-Calorie Snack Packs
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a minor obsession with avocados (check out the tags list at right for evidence!). This wonder-fruit boasts myriad health benefits, including vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados have a distinctive creamy and fresh taste. (For more information about avocados, visit here).
Thus, guacamole has become one of my favorite foods. With these snack packs appearing all over the blog world, I couldn't pass them up when I spotted them at my local Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Each serving comes in an individual packet, not unlike the packaging used for string cheese. There are just three packs per box, making it quite a pricey luxury at $4 per box. Along with the hefty price tag, Wholly Guacamole delivers a tremendous flavor. By far, its most prominent flavor is garlic. I am a garlic lover, so this flavor overload does not bother me, but this product is definitely not for the garlic-timid. As a demonstration, I will detail a real-life event:
*Caroline peels open a snack-pack for a tasty sandwich*
Mom yells from another room, "Caroline, what is that smell?! Are you making pesto or something?"
Clearly, the green goo is pungent.
Anyway, each pack contains 100 kcalories, 8 grams of fat, and a whopping 4 grams of fiber. I'm willing to have stinky breath for creamy taste and fantastic nutrition.
You can use these snack packs like you would any guacamole: in a taco salad, as a spread with a black bean burger, as a nacho-topper, or as a mayo substitute in sandwiches (I especially enjoy it with plain tofu!). Alternatively, you could use it as an accompaniment to chili, a creamy sauce for scrambled tofu, or just as it was meant to be: a dip for chips and veggies! Note: The Wholly Guacamole website also includes a recipe section for even more ideas.
**I used Wholly Guacamole only for the first two pictures. The other photographs depict homemade guacamole**
Go on, bust out the pita chips and carrots--get dipping!