I needed a ray of sunshine tonight. Just a bit. It was dreary and drippy and my shoes got wet walking home from my rotation.
Please don’t get me wrong- I was thankful for my raincoat, and my umbrella, and my warm home to dry off in. But my spirits needed an extra boost. In addition to exercise, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies are a great way to stave off the winter blues.
Every Wednesday night I gather together with a group of friends for dinner, and tonight I was asked to bring a vegetable side dish. I didn’t want to spend a long time cooking, and I was ready for something fresh and raw.
I pulled a handful of carrots out of my mega-bag that I have been chowing down on the past few weeks.
I scoured the outsides well with a vegetable scrub brush. I don’t bother to peel my carrots- I buy organic carrots- because that way I get to keep a bit of the extra fiber and nutrients, and there isn’t as much waste.
Speaking of food waste, I just happened across this article about using carrot peels (byproducts of the ready-to-eat vegetable industry: aka baby carrots) to create an antioxidant high dietary fiber powder. Cool! But, I’d rather just buy whole carrots, and eat the entire thing, rather than buy pre-cut ready-to-eat baby carrots that create a lot of waste. That being said, if you want convenience food, baby carrots are still a MUCH better snack than a bag of chips!
I haven’t costed it out, but I am nearly certain that it is cheaper per ounce to purchase whole organic carrots than pre-cut conventionally grown. And considering that I took me only 5 minutes to transform the above pile into a full bowl of short, easy to munch on carrot sticks, this is a worthwhile way to pinch your pennies at the grocery store.
To accompany my little Vitamin-A rich spears, I decided to make Green Surprise Dip. I first made this with my supervisor from Joshua Farm when we were giving a demonstration on fresh veggies to a group of moms at a local pre-school.
It’s super easy.
I steamed and drained a handful of kale, and measured out plain yogurt, chickpeas, a bit of mayo, some garlic, onion, lemon juice, and a of salt.
Then I threw them in my handy-dandy food processor, and voila, I had a delicious dip.
I modified the recipe slightly from the original. My onions and garlic were really strong (they’ve been stored for a while!), and I wanted to keep the concentrated green color so I actually reduced the amount of those three ingredients.
Here’s the recipe:
Green Surprise Dip
1 cup steamed kale, Swiss chard, or spinach
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
The dip didn’t quite get RAVE reviews like an herb veggie dip that I’ve made before, but I really like this one. A bit more salt, and more experimentation with spices would perk it up a bit, but I was on a time crunch.
It only took 15 minutes from when I started cutting the carrots to when I had this dish assembled. But then I had to clean up- and that was another 12 minutes. With a few tunes playing and some dancing around my kitchen, it was a pleasure.