Holiday Skinny Dips

It’s that time of year again. Your diet clashes with your desire to put something interesting, something festive on the party table that doesn’t taste like diet food. Who wants to show up at a holiday party with a platter of munchies that tastes like…like…something painful?

People love dips. They’re easy to make and always welcome.  Here are two that will have the guests talking,  your hostess thankful and are easy on the diet as well.

The World’s Best Hummus (he said modestly)
4Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
scant 1tsp red pepper flakes
3/4C walnut halves/pieces, toasted
2C garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
1 medium garlic clove
2Tbsp lemon juice
1/2C hot water
1/4C black olives, oil cured
chopped cilantro for garnish

Put the oil in a small pan. Heat it over medium heat until quite hot but not smoking…don’t go nuts here. Take it off the heat, stir in the pepper flakes, set it aside to cool. Congratulations, you just made an infusion.

Put the walnuts in a food processor, and process until you get something that looks like moist sand. Add most of the beans, 2Tbsp of the oil, lemon juice. Process until smooth. With the processor running, drizzle in the hot water continue until the hummus is really smooth and billowy. Let the processor run another minute or two to incorporate more air. Taste, adjust the taste with salt, lemon juice.

Stir in the rest of the garbanzos. Serve hummus in a shallow bowl, drizzled with some more of the oil and some of the pepper flakes. Garnish with cilantro. I serve this with pita pieces that I’ve warmed up in the oven on a cookie sheet, but crackers work just as well. Less than 1 gram fat per serving.

Hot Artichoke-Fontina Dip
2, 14oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed
8 oz. Fontina cheese cut in small cubes
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/3C Parmesan cheese
1/3C parsley, chopped
2Tbsp capers, no liquid
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/2tsp hot pepper sauce or to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until the artichokes are finely chopped and is well blended. Scrape mixture out into a gratin dish and spread into an even layer. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the dip is lightly browned on top and starting to bubble around the edges.

I serve this with veggies; broccoli florets, sliced red bell peppers, carrots and celery. About 2 grams fat per serving.

Notes: If you’re a guest bringing this to a party, bring it cold and bake it off on site. And don’t forget, good guests always bring the crackers and munchies. Also, the fat content shown above is based on the number of servings from each recipe. As there’s no really uniform size for a serving of dip, consider this information a guide.

One last thing…don’t expect leftovers.

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ.

6 thoughts on “Holiday Skinny Dips

  1. The hummus really really is the best dip I’ve ever eaten. But then, I haven’t tried the artichoke one – yet. Maybe it will be a tie?

  2. –I tried this for the first time the other day when I did a demonstration of the AGA Cooker for a group of ten. Never have I see so much dip vanish so quickly!

  3. I’m a bit remiss at commenting, but better late than even later.

    We did the humus and the articokes for the holidays. Both were terrific. I couldn’t find fontina cheese so I substituted provolone and some asiago. These tasted great to me.

    BTW what kind of cheese is Fontina? I’ll need to look for it someplace else.

  4. –Fontina is an Italian cows milk cheese, usually easily available in your neighborhood supermarket. Typically, Fontina is soft and creamy, thought, the real stuff, depending on where it’s from and how long it’s been aged, can be firmer and quite strong. It’s a good, flavorful, all-around cheese and makes a great grilled cheese sandwich.


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