Friday, May 8, 2009

'Spread' the Health



As a follow-up to my last post I decided to share some of my favorite healthy recipes for spreads...these are great to serve your family, your guests, bring to a picnic, a party, and to eat with vegetables, crackers, chips or to spread on a sandwich or wrap with chopped salad.

The tastiest and healthiest chips, in my opinion, are Pita Chips - the ones you make at home...no salt is added, and they are a better value - a bag of pita (onion pita is especially yummy) is significantly less than a bag of chips, plus no extra additives - just slice 'em up, heat 'em up on a flat pan, and serve warm...

My favorite veggies to dip are baby carrots, celery stalks, red peppers, sweet pea pods, cucumber sticks, and the firm inner leaves of a Romaine lettuce.

* You will need a food processor for these recipes...hope you enjoy and create your own!


Hummus
One can chick peas - rinsed very well (or dried beans soaked overnight and cooked)
4-5 tablespoons of techina (tahini)
Juice from 1 & 1/2 lemon
Dash of pepper (optional sea salt if you like)
Dash of paprika
A few dashes of cumin
2 garlic cloves minced or a few dashes of garlic powder
Small handful of parsley
* Optional - tablespoon extra virgin olive oil mixed in or dripped on top with toasted pine nuts

In a Food Processor or Blender mix all ingredients and add water, little by little, until the consistency is smooth, rich and thick. Process or blend for at least few minutes.

Black Bean Hummus
Same as humus, just add cooked or canned black beans to recipe.

Lentil Hummus
Same as humus, just add cooked or canned lentils to recipe.

Cauliflower Spread
1 whole cauliflower chopped into florets - lightly steamed
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB mayonnaise
(preferably the healthy 'veganaise' or homemade kind)
1 tsp agave or honey

Optional herbs - Dash of sea salt,
dill, basil, oregano, black pepper

Put all ingredients in food processor and mix until consistency is just right for you. S
erve immediately or refrigerate, stays for at least 2-3 days.

Vegetarian 'Liver' Pate
1 can of sweet peas (or dried peas soaked overnight and cooked)
1 onion - fried
1 handful of walnuts
Dash of black pepper
1 clove garlic minced
Dash of sea salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients in food processor until it turns to pate and serve immediately or refrigerate, stays for at least 2-3 days.

Black Olive Spread
1 can of pitted black olives
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 handful of fresh spinach leaves
A few parsley leaves
sun-dried tomatoes soaked (optional)

Mix all ingredients in food processor until it turns to pate and serve immediately or refrigerate, stays for at least 2-3 days. Delicious on everything!

Salsa
Can of Tomato Paste (no salt added)
A few fresh tomatoes
1/2 green pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 cucumber
A few sprigs of fresh parsley (or dash of dried powder)
A few sprigs of fresh basil (or dash of dried powder)
A few sprigs of fresh oregano (or dash of dried powder)
Dash of black pepper
1 tsp Agave or honey
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion (or dash of dried powder)
Optional cayenne pepper

Mix in food processor with some water. Serve immediately or refrigerate, stays for 2-3 days.
Perfect with pita or corn chips - preferably unsalted, with humus and guacamole nearby.

Vegetarian Tuna Spread
4 stalks of celery
1 can of chick peas
1 TB mayonnaise (preferably the healthy or homemade kind)

Added options: garlic, paprika, dill, seaweed flavor, lemon juice, onions, olives, pickles...

Using the knife in your food processor, chop 4 stalks of celery to very small pieces, a few seconds of 'pulsing' is all it takes. Take celery out and put into a bowl, chop or 'pulse' the whole can of chick peas for a few seconds only so as not to make it too 'mushy', the pieces should be chunky. Add to the celery and mix with mayo...close your eyes and taste - should remind you very much of the taste of tuna fish.

Bon Appetit!



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