Dip Into Summer!
by Stacey Tress
Surprise your guests and your family this summer with these delicious and nutritious dips! (And be kind to your budget at the same time, as they are much lower in price compared to the versions you may find in the grocery store, and fresher, too!) I’ll offer up three of my favourite dips to make—guacamole, hummus, and baba ganoush, and touch on some of their key ingredient health benefits and tidbits.
Baba Ganoush/Baba Ghanoush and is Eggplant a Vegetable??
Baba ganoush is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern eggplant dip. It is healthy, gluten free, vegan, all natural, and so delicious. Pair with pita bread, crackers, or chips for a mouth-watering appetizer that your guests will love. Eggplant, the key ingredient in baba ganoush, is an understated vegetable in my opinion. When we lived in Yorkton, we discovered that most folks planted eggplant not for the harvest of it, but as a trap crop for potato bugs!
Eggplant, or aubergine (as it’s called in France), is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae, Solanum melongena, grown for its often purple edible fruit. The spongy absorbent fruit of the plant is widely used in cooking in many different cuisines, and is often considered a vegetable, even though it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato and the potato. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but like the potato, it is not advisable to eat it raw. Eggplant is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin B1, and copper, as well as manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
What is Nasunin?
I scooped this tidbit of wisdom from a post by Dr. Oz—Nasunin, the antioxidant found in the purple skin of eggplants, is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. Nasunin helps eliminate the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, keeping your heart and cardiovascular system healthy. Roast eggplant slices in the oven with some olive oil to reap this benefit.
Yummy Ways to Get More Eggplant into Your Day!
- For homemade baba ganoush, purée roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil (see full recipe at end of article).
- Mix cubed baked eggplant with grilled peppers, lentils, onions, and garlic and top with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Stuff miniature Japanese eggplants with a mixture of feta cheese, pine nuts, and roasted peppers.
- Add eggplant to your next Indian curry stir-fry.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a protein-rich, high-carbohydrate food. Just like other beans, chickpeas are abundant in both soluble as well as insoluble dietary fibre. Scientific studies have demonstrated that insoluble fibre will not only help to boost stool bulk and mitigate bowel problems, but additionally aids in preventing digestive complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Evidence recommends the intake of chickpeas is a great idea for improving dyslipidemia (when the concentration of cholesterol or lipids within the blood exceeds normal limits).
Listed below are some well-known advantages of consuming chickpeas:
- Chickpeas are loaded with both protein and fibre, which will help to make you feel full and also curb cravings for food and unhealthy snacking.
- Bengal gram (another term/word for the chickpea) is a wonderful source of the trace mineral manganese along with other health essential nutrients like thiamine, magnesium, and phosphorus. Manganese works as an important co-factor that performs a significant role in energy production as well as boosting your all-round immunity.
- Including a three-quarter cup of chickpeas within your daily diet can easily and profoundly help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Chickpeas improve dyslipidemia by stopping the power of cholesterol in blood. Therefore, they could reduce the potential risk of cardiovascular disease as well as strokes.
- Frequent usage of garbanzo beans cleanses bad cholesterol, reduces levels of cholesterol as well as triglycerides. These types of beans are the heart’s friend. The initial combination of antioxidants in chickpeas supports blood vessel walls as well as blood. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-3 fatty acids together support the mitigation of coronary heart disease as well as lower cardiovascular risks.
- Chickpeas, like all legumes, can produce a lot of intestinal gas. We prefer to sprout our chickpeas before consuming and find this really helps prevent gas. (A note in general: if you have digestive issues, try sprouting your legumes first, and you’ll notice an ease in digestion upon consumption. Using a pre-treatment or traditional food method like sprouting, soaking, or fermenting will help to break down the foods before you consume them, which in turn helps your body and you absorb more nutrition.)
Interesting Facts About Avocado
- Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable. They belong to the Genus Persea in the Lauraceae family.
- Avocados contain four grams of protein, making them the fruit with the highest protein content!
- Avocado trees do not self-pollinate; they need another avocado tree close by in order to grow. Avocados are an Aztec symbol of love and fertility, and they grow in pairs on trees.
- Avocados have the highest fibre content of any fruit and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They are among the best foods to help fight stress due to their abundance of B vitamins.
- In Brazil they use avocado to make ice cream!
Cilantro Lime Guacamole
Taste your guacamole as you’re making it. Avocados can take a fair amount of lime juice and cilantro, but since both of these ingredients can vary in strength, it’s a good idea to taste as you go.
Makes 4–6 servings
2 medium-size ripe avocados
2 to 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt; more to taste
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Pinch ground cumin
3 to 4 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp minced fresh jalapeño
Halve the avocados, pit them, and scoop the flesh with a large spoon into a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp lime juice over the avocados, add the salt, coriander, and cumin, and use a wooden spoon to break up the avocados, stirring until they’re coarsely mashed. Stir in 3 tbsps of cilantro and jalapeño. Taste and add more lime juice, cilantro, and salt as needed. Transfer to a small serving bowl and serve with tortilla chips.
Simple Baba Ganoush
Makes 4 servings
1 medium eggplant
1 large clove garlic (grated or finely minced)
1 medium lemon (juiced)
2 tbsps tahini
2 tbsps fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil (optional: chopped)
Olive oil (for roasting)
Preheat oven to high broil (or medium if you have the ability) and position a rack at the top of the oven.
Slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, sprinkle with sea salt, and place in a colander in the sink to drain any excess liquid. After 10 minutes, rinse slightly and then pat dry between two towels.
Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 5–10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan, stack and wrap the rounds in foil to lock in moisture—wait 5 minutes.
Peel away most of the skin of the eggplant (a little is OK) and add flesh to a food processor. It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easily.
Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, a pinch of salt, and mix until creamy. Add herbs last and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more tahini and another pinch of salt.
Serve with pita and/or pita chips and veggies. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days.
Sprouted Chickpea Hummus
Makes 4-6 servings
To sprout the chickpeas
1 cup dried organic chickpeas (will make 2 cups of sprouted chickpeas)
6–9 cups distilled or purified water
(to rinse the chickpeas over 2–3 days)
To make the hummus
2 tbsps tahini
3 organic lemons (fresh squeezed)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
3–5 tbsps mayonnaise (or if you prefer you can use 6 tbsps of a 3-6-9 oil like Udo’s Choice)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
Step 1 : Sprout the chickpeas
- Put 1 cup of dry chickpeas into a 1 L mason jar (this will produce 2 cups of sprouted chickpeas).
Add 2–3 times as much water (not tap water)
- Swish beans around to make sure they are all covered in the water. Cover jar with tulle and secure with elastic band.
- Soak the beans for 12 hours.
- Drain and rinse the beans. Set them out for 8–12 hours (away from direct sunlight). I rest them against a wall on an angle and let the bit of excess water drip out into a small bowl.
- Do the rinse, drain, rest step x 2 a day for 2–3 days, not including original soak time. You’ll notice little tails growing on the chickpeas. I like to harvest them when the tails are approx. 1/4 inch in length. When they are to your desired length, they are ready for the hummus recipe.
Step 2: Prepare the hummus
- Add all ingredients except olive oil and mayo into a food processor.
- Process until creamy and smooth. (We find that the Vita-Mix food processor makes the creamiest version of this!)
- Add the olive oil through the feeder tube while it is still processing the other ingredients, then add mayo.
- Add additional or less oil depending on your desired consistency.
- Adjust salt to taste.
Serve with fresh vegetables or healthy chips.
Superfoods by David Wolfe
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
Cilantro Lime Guacamole www.finecooking.com/recipe/cilantro-lime-guacamole
Simple Baba Ganoush https://minimalistbaker.com/simple-baba-ganoush/
Sprouted Chickpea Hummus www.gardentherapybliss.ca/
Stacey Tress, a Holistic Nutritional Therapist (HNT) and Young Living Essential Oil Distributor (#2282633), lives in Rhein, SK, with her husband and two daughters. She is the owner of Garden Therapy Yorkton – GT Bliss which offers fermentation workshops, active culture kits, permaculture consulting, essential oils, and more! To learn more call 306-641-4239, email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Facebook “Garden Therapy Yorkton – GT Bliss.” Webpage: www.gardentherapybliss.ca. Also see the display ad on page 9.of the 25.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.