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7 Decadent And Healthy Dips And Spreads

January 3, 2017
Photo Credit (for all): Connie Weissmuller

By Sidney Fry MS, RD

For some of us, the Super Bowl is more about that super bowl of gooey, calorie-laden dip than it is about football. But if you factor in the chips that accompany those rich, cheesy dips, you may be feeling like less than a champ before halftime.

Happily, smarter Super Bowl snacking is easier and tastier than you might think. With just a few simple swaps, you can enjoy far healthier versions of your favorites that still taste so awesome, no one will even know you tweaked the originals. All of them can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated (although the avocado dip will turn brown if you make it more than a few hours in advance). Here are seven hearty, better-for-you dips to make this year’s Super Bowl a win-win, no matter who takes home the ring.

Creamy Spinach Avo-Artichoke Dip


Swap: Avocado for mayo and sour cream

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Saute 4 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add 12 ounces of chopped fresh spinach and 1 1/2 cups chopped, thawed frozen artichokes; sauté 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine 4 ounces organic cream cheese, 1 ripe avocado, ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional); mash until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup shredded Gruyere, and spinach mixture. Spoon mixture into an oven-safe 2-quart greased dish; sprinkle with an additional ¼ cup grated Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve with whole-grain pita chips, rice-based tortilla chips (such as Lundberg), or cut-up sturdy vegetables like carrots, celery, jicama and kohlrabi.

Tip: Spinach has always been the go-to-green in this dip, but kale, Swiss chard, collard greens or a combo would make for a tasty, updated spin.

Queso Butternut-Fundido


Swap: Butternut squash for half of the cheese.

Recipe: Sub a 12-ounce package of frozen butternut squash puree (thawed) for half of the cheese in your favorite recipe. Alternatively, halve a large butternut squash, place on a sheet pan, rub with olive oil and roast at 350ºF for 40 minutes. Discard seeds, scoop out flesh and process in a food processor or blender until pureed. Combine with ¾ cup Queso Blanco or gruyere, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes in a 2-quart greased baking dish. Top dip with chopped fresh tomatoes, radishes, and thinly sliced jalapeno for crunch. Serve with bean-based tortilla chips (like Beanitos or Beanfields).

Double Green Goddess Dip


Swap: Avocado for mayo; Greek yogurt for sour cream

Recipe: In a blender, combine 1 ripe peeled avocado, 1/2 cup plain grass-fed Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of your favorites, such as fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, dill or tarragon), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 small minced garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons anchovy paste; process until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve with raw beet or carrots, baked sweet potato wedges, sliced cucumber, bell pepper strips and/or sugar snap peas.

Tip: You can substitute 2 anchovies or 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce in place of anchovy paste, if you like. Omit entirely for a vegetarian dip.

Red Beet Hummus


Swap: Beets for some of the chickpeas. Chickpeas are very healthy, of course, but beets add additional fiber and antioxidants, plus they’re anti-inflammatory.

Recipe: Combine 1 large roasted and skinned beet (about 8 ounces), 1 (15-ounce) can organic chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 3 tablespoons tahini, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons walnut or extra-virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Season with salt. If the hummus is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Top with toasted walnuts for a hit of extra crunch. Serve with nut-based crackers, whole-grain pita chips, radishes, mini bell peppers, jicama or cucumbers.

Romesco Dip


Swap: Try this super-flavorful healthy, piquant dip instead of reaching for the salty cured meats

Recipe: Arrange ½ cup almonds, 2 medium tomatoes, halved, 1 thick slice of crusty whole-grain bread, and 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic on a large baking sheet. Roast at 375ºF for 10 minutes or until bread and almonds are toasted and lightly browned. Remove bread, tomatoes, and nuts from pan; continue to roast garlic 15 to 20 minutes longer, until tender. Peel garlic, and place in a blender along with bread, tomatoes and almonds. Process until smooth. Add 2 whole roasted red bell peppers (peeled and seeded), either rinsed from a jar or roasted whole on a gas flame, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, a dash of cayenne pepper and a hefty sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Taste, then add additional smoked paprika, olive oil, salt, and pepper if needed. Top with toasted almonds and chopped fresh parsley or basil. Serve with whole-grain toast points.

Caramelized Onion Dip


Swap: Freshly caramelized onions for onion-soup mix

Recipe: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 3 cups finely chopped onions and ½ teaspoon fresh thyme. Cook, stirring often, until onions become a deep, golden brown, about 20 minutes. (If onions start to burn, add a tablespoon or two of water and swirl it around the pan.) Remove from heat and let cool. In a bowl, combine onions with 1 1/2 cups plain organic Greek yogurt, 1 – 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and few pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Top with chopped fresh chives. Serve with whole grain crostini, grape tomatoes, or Jackson’s Honest potato chips.

Lighter Seven Layer Dip


Swap: Whole beans for refried, seasoned Greek yogurt for sour cream

Recipe: Place 2 cups whole, organic pinto and/or black beans on the bottom of a serving bowl. Top with 1 cup of guacamole. Spread ½ cup pico de gallo on top (buy it freshly made or DIY by combining chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro and lime). Next add a layer of cumin- and chili-seasoned Greek yogurt (stir 1/4 teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder into 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt). Sprinkle ½ cup crumbled feta on top. Finish it all off with 2 thinly sliced scallions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro, and a thinly sliced jalapeno pepper (seeds removed for less heat). Serve with whole grain tortilla chips, bean-based tortilla chips (such as Beanitos or Beanfields), and fresh jicama sticks.

More Game-Day Bites

Sweet Earthy Roasted Squash Dip
Golden Garlic Hummus
Black Bean Chili With Avocado
Crispy Avocado Fries
Pumpkin Hummus
Grilled Veggies Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Spiced Crema
Baked Coconut Crab Dip
Super-Charged Guacamole
Avocado Boats, Three Ways
Matt Lightner’s 7 Layer Dip

Plus, find out what the Atlanta Falcons’ secret weapon is to win this year’s Super Bowl.

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