By Request

By Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, July 14, 1999

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Sweet Red Pepper Hummus, top, and Chile con Queso are spicy
and flavorful dips for a veggie platter of peppers,
jicama, carrots and tomatoes.

Dips make veggies more fun

When dieting is going on at your house, one of the few permitted snacks is veggie sticks.

This can get boring, but with some zingy dips for flavor, a person just might get along without dreaming of potato chips and chocolate bars.

Mrs. Keal -- she doesn't want her first name printed -- called for some low-fat dips "that taste good and have no calories," to serve her dieting daughter.

No calories? Have a glass of water. But assuming you can afford a few, these dips are low in calories and very low in fat.

For a really quick dip, try mixing non-fat sour cream with a packaged ranch or onion dressing mix. Check the label to make sure the mix has no fat.

But if you're after something more elaborate, here's a varied selection, from the American Medical Association's "Family Health Cookbook," Pocket Books, 1997:

Chile con Queso

3/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons chile powder
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, in chunks
1 4-1/2 ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1/4 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce

Combine onion and 3 tablespoons water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until onion is soft. Add garlic and chile powder and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low. Add cream cheese, green chiles and wine. Stir until cheese melts and mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and pepper sauce. Serve warm. Makes 2-1/2 cups. Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 122 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 312 mg sodium. (Using non-fat cream cheese would lower the fat.)*

Sweet Red Pepper Hummus

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
4 ounces roasted red peppers, drained
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons tahini (see note)
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and cayenne
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients except parsley in a food processor and process until fairly smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with parsley.

Note: Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds, available at some supermarkets and most gourmet shops. To make your own, blend 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a few drops of vegetable oil until smooth. Makes 1-1/2 cups, about 8 servings.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 64 calories, 1 g fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 87 mg sodium.*

Spiced Baba Ghanouj

2 large eggplants (about 1-1/4 pounds)
3/4 teaspoons whole cumin seed, toasted (see note)
1 tablespoon tahini
1 medium plum tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil

Halve eggplants lengthwise and score. Place cut sides down on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees until very soft, 30-40 minutes. Cool. Scrape out and discard seeds, then scoop out the rest of the flesh. Add tahini and cumin and mash. Stir in remaining ingredients, except parsley and oil. May be refrigerated up to 4 days. Serve sprinkled with parsley and drizzled with olive oil. Makes 3 cups, about 10 servings.

Note: To toast cumin, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until dark, about 3 minutes. Cool and crush. The same amount of ground cumin may be substituted.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 39 calories, 1 g fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 114 mg sodium.*

Smoked Salmon Yogurt Dip

2 cups non-fat yogurt
2 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Line a strainer with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth or paper towels or a coffee filter and place over a bowl. Spoon in yogurt. Refrigerate about 6 hours. Liquid will drain from yogurt, leaving about 1 cup of "cheese."

Combine yogurt with remaining ingredients and mix well, or process until smooth in a food processor. Makes 1 cup, about 6 servings.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 114 calories, 2 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 191 mg sodium.*

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
By Request, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Food Section,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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