As the holidays approach, this festive make-ahead dip is great option for a party appetizer served with fresh vegetables or whole-wheat crackers — or it can be used as a tasty stuffing for baked zucchini or chicken breast. Adapted from a recipe presented by John Ash of The Culinary Institute of America at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference.
Servings: 8 quarter-cup servings
3 large red bell peppers (about 1 1/4 pounds) or use prepared roasted red peppers in a jar
2/3 cup blanched almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh basil, mint or cilantro, chopped
1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread, crust removed
Fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar, to taste
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Note: This recipe calls for almonds, but you can use other nuts, such as walnuts, in their place. Walnuts have tannins, which give a little more bitterness or bite to the mixture, while almonds are sweeter.
Char the fresh peppers over a gas flame or under a hot broiler. Put in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sweat for 5 minutes. Remove, scrape off the charred skin (do not wash) and remove and discard the stems and seeds. Set aside. If using jarred peppers, rinse and let drain.
Using a large skillet, gently toast the almonds over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft but not brown.
In a food processor, combine the onion mixture, bell peppers, almonds, basil (or other fresh herb), bread and lemon juice or vinegar, and process until fairly smooth, but still a little textured. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The dip can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition information (per serving)
Total fat: 10 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Carbohydrate: 10 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sodium will vary depending upon how much salt is added