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The “Dips & Spreads” Food Group

The “Dips & Spreads” Food Group

If I could only eat one food group for the rest of my life, it would be the “dips and spreads” group. While that may not qualify as a food group to the USDA, on my food pyramid it is the foundation, replacing that monotonously beige-colored bread, cereals and grain block.

So as you can imagine, I was thrilled for Super Bowl Sunday. Not necessarily because of the football or the commercials — but because it is the one day out of the whole year that truly embodies chips, dips and spreads!

I love to whip up a quick schmear for every dish I eat. Here’s a couple of recipes I made for yesterday’s game.  Now, if only the Steelers had played for the crowd as well as my dips…

My personal favorite that I learned to make during my study abroad in Greece

2 c. plan Greek yogurt
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic (or more, if you love garlic like I do)
Olive oil, to taste
1 lemon
Sea salt, to taste
Feta (optional)

Grate cucumber(s) into a bowl with a cheese grater.
Take 2 tbsp of cucumber juice and add to 2 cups of Greek yogurt.
Squeeze out all remaining liquid from shredded cucumber.  (I like to place the pile in a colander and press down with a spatula or paper towel).
Smash garlic cloves and grind into a paste. (Use your knife to spread it back and forth over a textured cutting board.  Add a pinch of sea salt to help release the flavor and create more texture).
Combine yogurt, garlic, and strained cucumbers in a bowl.
Squeeze/drizzle in some olive oil and lemon juice, until the texture is smooth like sour cream.
Add lemon zest for additional zing.
Optional: Add soft crumbled feta cheese and combine in food processor for a better alternative to Bleu Cheese dipping sauce

Tomatillo Pesto
8 tomatillos
2-3 bunches cilantro (or parsley)
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch basil
1 jalepeno
1 poblano pepper
1 small tomato
½ c. onion
1 lemon
1 lime
Olive oil

Roast peppers, tomato, garlic and onion in the oven (or grill), about 400 degrees until soft and browned (about 40 minutes)—and don’t take the seeds out you sissies!
Give cilantro and basil a rough chop.
Combine all ingredients in food processor with juice from the lemon and lime and pulse until desired consistency (for salsa).
To make more of a pesto, add about a cup of olive oil and blend until thick.

Posted by Hannah