April 25, 2024/Recipes

Recipe: Cream Cheese Vegetable Dip

Nonfat and low-fat cream cheese combine for great taste

Veggie tray with cream cheese dip in center of tray

Why pick up a prepared dip for your crudités when you can whip up this great-tasting and healthy version in no time flat? A mixture of nonfat and low-fat cream cheese cuts the saturated fat but doesn’t cut back on taste.

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Ingredients

  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup soft silken tofu
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced English cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated carrot

Directions

  1. Place the cream cheese, tofu, garlic and pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  2. Add the chives, cucumber, bell pepper and carrot and pulse for a few seconds until just combined.

Ingredient health benefits

  • Tofu: This ancient, plant-based staple of Asian culinary traditions is loaded with benefits. Tofu is a complete protein that’s friendly to vegetarian and vegan diets. And it has magnesium, manganese and calcium for healthy bones, as well as flavonoids that help lower your blood pressure and protect against heart disease. Tofu is also a good source of essential nutrients like copper, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s).
  • Garlic: Sometimes, good things come in small, potent packages. Garlic, which many consider a superfood, gives you an immunity boost as part of a nutritious diet. This common ingredient may also promote a happy heart by helping decrease your blood pressure, and it can kill bad bacteria that lurk in your food, like Salmonella (in combination with proper sanitation methods). Garlic may have benefits for skin health as well. Rubbing raw garlic on your skin might clear up acne and pimples, but talk to your dermatologist before slathering it on.
  • Black pepper: Looking for a seasoning with substance? Black pepper provides flavor that can keep you from piling on the salt. Piperine, a natural compound, helps lower inflammation, especially when you eat it with ginger and turmeric. But that’s not all. Piperine can also help your body absorb key nutrients from your food, like iron.
  • Cucumbers: Hydration while you eat? It’s more likely than you think. Cucumbers are over 96% water and have some fiber to spare — both of which promote healthy digestion. There’s also vitamin K and calcium to support your bones and blood cells, while potassium helps regulate your blood pressure.
  • Red bell peppers: The perfect pick for a delicious dip! Red bell peppers are full of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and anthocyanins. These nutrients support your vision, skin and brain. Even your gut can benefit from the fiber found in red bell peppers. And certain compounds, along with the antioxidant vitamin C, fight chronic inflammation and arthritis pain.
  • Carrots: What’s a veggie dip without carrots? They’re full of carotenoids like beta-carotene and they can reduce your cholesterol levels, which your heart will love. When selecting your carrots, you may have a variety of hues to choose from. Though they’re all equally nutritious, each color comes with slightly different health benefits. For example, yellow carrots have lots of lutein (an important antioxidant for your eyes and brain), while red carrots have vitamin B6, vitamin K and molybdenum — a lesser-known essential mineral. So, don’t be afraid to sample the rainbow!

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Nutrition information (per serving)

Serving size = 2 tablespoons

Calories: 62 (45% calories from fat)
Total fat: 3 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Protein: 4.5 g
Carbohydrates: 3 g
Dietary fiber: 0 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg
Sodium: 137 mg
Potassium: 82 mg

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