Delightfully Healthy! Dip Into Your 5-A-Day

Who says eating your fruits and vegetables can’t be fun? This week join us as we sample some tasty and nutritious dips to help us dip into our 5-a-day! Fruits and vegetables are an awesome source of good nutrition. Chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, these foods promote digestion and physical well-being. This week we are focusing on spinach, cucumber, and oranges.

Spinach is a great source of thirteen vitamins and minerals. Notably it is high in iron and vitamin K, both of which are essential to proper blood function. When choosing fresh spinach, look for crisp, dark green leaves. Fresh spinach can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days to be eaten raw and 7-10 days if you are planning on cooking it. Only rinse spinach right before eating it so it doesn’t wilt in your refrigerator. Eat spinach raw or use a wet cooking method to prepare it by steaming or boiling.

cucumber spiralCucumber is a good source of vitamin A, which is important for healthy vision. Choose cucumbers with dark green skin which show no signs of wrinkles or soft spots. Store cucumbers near the front of your fridge to prevent spoilage due to cold damage. Cucumbers will usually last at least 3-5 days in the fridge. If you are using cucumbers in a dip like we are this week, make sure that you salt the cucumber after you peel, chop, or grate it- this will remove any excess water and keep your dip from separating or becoming watered-down.

US-Navel-Orange-EastcoastimpexOranges, like other citrus fruits, are powerful sources of antioxidants like vitamin C. Choose oranges that seem heavy for their size and evenly firm. If you’re looking for an orange with thinner skin, select ones that have evenly smooth skin. Store oranges at room temperature for up to a week. These delicious fruits are excellent for flavoring dishes with their zest or just eat them raw.

These ingredients are only a few of the fruits and vegetables that can be easily incorporated into your diet through the convenience and fun of a dip. This week’s recipes hail from Greek and Mexican cuisines. The Greek spinach dip perfectly pairs spinach with the strong flavor of feta and freshness of green onion. The Tzatziki is a traditional Greek dip as well, which combines creamy yogurt, seasonal cucumber, and the bite that only freshly minced garlic can give. The sweet salsa, while not as traditional as the Greek dips, blends sweet and tart flavors of strawberries and oranges with just the right amount of spice to keep you wanting more.

With all the benefits that fresh fruit and vegetables have to offer you can feel good about dipping into these delicious dips!

For our next Delightfully Healthy demo, we will sample the following four recipes:

Sweet Orange Salsa

1/2 cup of Valencia orange chunks
1/2 cup of strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup of tomato, chopped
1/2 cup of red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1-2 Tsp of fresh Lime juice
1-2 tsp Jalapeno
Salt to taste if desired

Preparation
1) Chop all salsa ingredients, including orange, strawberries, tomato, onion and cilantro. Add to small-medium sized bowl.
2) Add lime juice, and jalapeno.
3) Salt if desired, let chill about 1-2 hours for extra juiciness & flavor, or serve immediately.


Whole Wheat Pita Chips

3 8″ whole wheat pita rounds
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Black Pepper

Preparation
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Slice pita rounds into 8-12 slices each.
3) Spread pita slices onto baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with desired amount of salt and black pepper.
4) Bake pita slices in oven 10 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com


Tzatziki

1-2 Cucumbers
Salt
2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from 1/2 of one Lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, chopped

Preparation
1) Slice cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Thinly grate cucumber. Add a pinch of salt to grated cucumber. Strain excess liquid from cucumber in sink, about 10 minutes.
2) Combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill and cucumber in medium bowl.
3) Chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from http://superbcook.com


Greek Spinach Dip

1/4 cup of Shallots, roughly chopped
4 Green Onions, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
12 oz. fresh Spinach leaves
1 Cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp of fresh Lemon zest
2 tsp fresh Lemon juice
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
1) Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add shallots, onions and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring often.
2) Add spinach leaves to skillet. Cook until wilted, about 2 minutes, stirring often.
3) Scoop spinach mixture into food processor. Pulse until roughly pureed, about 4-5 pulses.
4) Add all remaining ingredients to food processor except the black pepper. Pulse until just combined.
5) Add ingredients to medium bowl, season with black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com

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