I firmly believe that healthy food and delicious food are not mutually exclusive — fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans, prepared well, are wonderfully filling and satisfying. That's not to say that I don't have a sweet tooth though. We're all programmed to love sweet things!
In the U.S., we are paying a lot more attention to our food and nutrition, and that is great news because our obesity epidemic is out of control. We need to work on more fruits and vegetables and more fiber. Having fresh produce with a tasty dip means we usually eat more of the fruits and vegetables, but most dips aren't adding much to the nutrition equation. They're loaded with calories and have the less-healthy fats from butter and cream cheese.
Here is a delicious dip that has a cameo star to replace the usual butter and cream cheese in party dips…garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas)! The beans are packed with fiber and protein and are low calorie. Can you believe it? Give it a try and I think you'll be surprised at how smooth and velvety this dip is, and how well it pairs with sliced apples. I even spread it on a whole grain waffle to have a high fiber and protein-packed breakfast.
Yes, the dip does have sugar in it, but much less than a traditional dessert. I am not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners, so I'd rather use the real thing, just less of it. The fat — from almonds — is heart-healthy, and if you're choosing fruit to dip, they're really achieving the goal: a healthy dessert that tastes great.
Cinnamon Roll Dip
Recipe by Holly Larson, MS, RD
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup water (more or less, depending on how thick you like your dip)
1 tablespoon buttermilk powder (optional)
- Drain and rinse chickpeas well and add to blender container of your food processor – unless you have a very powerful blender, you need to have a food processor for this recipe
- Add cinnamon, vanilla, almost butter, sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of water and buttermilk, if using. Blend for a full 2-3 minutes or until very very smooth. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached; I used 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) total.
- Scoop into your serving bowl, garnish with cinnamon and a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk and serve with sliced fruit and pretzel sticks.