Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Real Fast Food - Hummus & Company

When I tell people they should be eating 10 to 12 servings of vegetables a day they look at me like I've lost my marbles. That might be true....but the veggie recommendation stands. 

Vegetables are nutrient power houses. When you add a variety of colours and types into your diet it isn't long before you start to notice some great results for your mind and body.

If consuming more veggies sounds difficult then have no fear. There are some easy tricks to upping your daily quota. First make sure you have vegetables or fruit with all of your main meals including breakfast. Then develop some quick and easy go-to snacks that include vegetables. When planning your meals & snacks choose your vegetables first then add in the other stuff. Before you know it you're up to 12 a day.

Snacking on veggies is easy if you've got something great to dip them in. You want to use whole unprocessed foods for the ingredients. And you need to be able to make it quick. 

The recipes below literally take minutes. I like to make big batches of the stuff and use it throughout the week. Some people will cut up lots of vegetables and put them in Ziploc bags for the week. I like to throw a variety into my snack container depending on what's available from the garden or market that day. The yogourt dip is a nice alternative for people who aren't eating legumes. The oil dip is a traditional Italian village way to start a meal. 

1 can chickpeas drained & rinsed
1/4 cup tahini 
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red chili peppers, ground (optional)

Put all the ingredients in a food processor & blend. If you like a softer/fluffier hummus then gradually add a bit more water. Add other herbs & spices if desired. Serve with a variety of fresh veggies. 

Yogourt Dip
1.5 cups of plain Greek yogourt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cucumber peeled, seeds removed, & grated
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2 shallots finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp of Dijon mustard (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with a variety of fresh veggies. Also good on omelettes, salads, & grilled chicken. 

Oil & Vinegar Dip
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Red chili peppers ground

In three separate small bowls pour the oil, the vinegar, & the peppers. Dip each vegetable in one, two or all three of the bowls. Beware of the chili peppers. If they are potent a little dab will do. 

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