6 Delicious dips to dress up your raw veggies
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is important to a healthy diet, and while both are good for you, vegetables have less sugar than fruit, making them a great choice at snack and meal times. But did you know that the nutrients you receive when eating veg can change based on whether or not they've been cooked? For example, raw Broccoli will give you higher levels of an enzyme called myrosinase1, and if you cook red peppers you lose some of the Vitamin C as it breaks down in the heat2! That doesn't mean eating cooked veg is bad - there are lots of veggies that are better off cooked, for example steaming or boiling artichokes greatly increases the antioxidants in them3!
We love our vegetables cooked or raw, but at snack times eating them raw is infinitely easier! That being said, after a while raw veg can get a bit boring. To keep things exciting we like dipping our veggies in different types of dips. If you're looking for a great way to jazz up snack time, then here are some of our favourite dip recipes to try.
With a few ingredients and a smidge of effort you can put together this delicious Greek dip in no time. The ingredients are simple - you need a Greek Yogurt (the thicker the better in our books), half a cucumber, some garlic, dill (fresh is better, but dried works too), lemon juice and salt and pepper!
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to hollow out the centre to remove the seeds. Grate the remaining cucumber and lay it flat on a plate. Use a paper towel to gently but firmly press your grated cucumber, absorbing as much
moisture as you can. This is an important step as watery cucumber will make your Tzatziki runny.
Once you've finishing 'drying' your cucumber, combine with 2 cups of thick Greek yogurt.
Crush two cloves of garlic and add to the mixture, then add 1 tbsp of Olive Oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Mix the dip thoroughly. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of chopped dill over top and gently fold it into the mixture!
We love Hummus. Not only is it delicious and flavourful, but it's chockerblock full of chickpeas, which themselves are packed full of protein and fibre - two important aspects of a healthy and filling snack!
It's pretty easy to pop off to the grocery store to grab a tub of premade hummus, but if you have a food processor, homemade hummus is pretty easy to make! Staple ingredients include chickpeas, garlic, tahini, salt lemon juice and olive oil. And of course you can add a number of extra ingredients to create fun and exciting flavours.
White Bean dip
White Bean dip at its base is quite similar to traditional hummus. In fact many recipes call it Italian Hummus! The ingredients are mainly the same - garlic, olive oil, lemon juice etc. The main difference, obviously, is using white beans instead of chick peas. This gives the dip a slightly different flavour and consistency. White beans, similarly to chickpeas, have about 6 to 7 grams of protein and fibre per 100g serving4. Chickpeas are slightly higher in calories, but not by much. 100g is about 120 calories5 vs 101 for white beans.
Like with hummus, you can add various ingredients to make your white bean dip a bit more interesting. We love this recipe, which adds hard Italian cheese and rosemary for some extra flavour.
Avocados can be the most finicky of veg. There's nothing worse than cutting one open to find it not quite ripe enough or more annoyingly, too ripe. But if you manage to catch your avocado at that sweet spot in between (which with our luck will probably will fall between 1:15am and 2:30am), then you have the perfect opportunity to make a delicious guacamole!
Guac is a simple and delicious dip. At its heart you really just need some mashed up avocado and salt! Of course you can add more ingredients to boost the flavour. You can make your guac smooth or chunky, depending on your taste. For a nice smooth dip, mash two ripe avocados in a bowl. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp of salt, the juice of ¿ a lemon, and a tablespoon of sour cream. For more flavour and texture considering adding half a finely chopped red onion, or a ¿ cup of salsa.
Greek Yogurt Ranch dip
Ranch dips area favourite over the pond in North America, though you can find them from time to time in the UK as well. A tasty ranch dip is a great way to dress up your veggies, and using Greek Yogurt to make said dip is a great way to pack some protein into your snack. To quickly whip up this dip follow the instructions below.
In a small bowl combine 1 cup of Greek Yogurt with:
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- A squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon
Stir thoroughly and serve with your veggies of choice.
Beet and Goats Cheese dip
We are fans of this dip for many reasons, but we have to admit the rich red colour is one of the big ones. It just looks beautiful! But not only does it plate well, it's also filled with tasty ingredients. It's not quite as easy to put together as the other recipes we've shared, but we think it's worth the hard work. Especially since beets have a number of great health benefits including lowering risk of heart disease6!