As much as I enjoy the holiday season and all the wonderful food set before us, I try to limit my indulgence of all the thick creamy dips that seem to be on every table. This proves to be difficult, especially when there is pizza dip, buffalo chicken dip, spinach artichoke dip, taco dip, okay I’ll stop.
How do we maintain a focus on healthy eating when we’re faced with such delicious options?
There was a time I didn’t care, as my son reminded me this weekend. My response, you’re absolutely right, but now I know better and I care.
He loves to give me a hard time, especially since I didn’t tell him he was eating mashed cauliflower and he thought it was potatoes. He no longer has any trust in me, Ha! Ha!
My solution, Humus.
I see you shaking your head but stick with me.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well this has been a hit on my holiday table.
And understand, we have a major “Holiday Table”. We begin with appetizers, sandwich fixings, soups, and end with desserts, we eat and eat some more. Plus we have slow cookers of hot cider going.
Major overload of everything. By the end of the night, we’re stuffed and miserable.
A few years ago, my daughter and I decided we would add some healthy platters to our table. Knowing that no one would eat them, we placed our platters on the table and opened the door to family and friends.
As everyone began filling their plates, my daughter ran into the kitchen exclaiming, “mama, they’re eating our appetizers!!!!”
Great, now we have nothing to eat.
What did I learn from that night of surprises?
That healthy appetizers are acceptable on a table of unhealthy options.
Since that year, we’ve consistently offered healthier appetizers on our holiday table and each year we do not have any leftovers.
Hummus is always a favorite dip with an array of fresh raw veggies and crackers.
We enjoy preparing fresh hummus, which is a quick, easy, and tastes so much better than commercial hummus.
Your basic hummus is made from chickpeas or black beans, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Once you’ve made your basic hummus, you can get creative with additional seasonings.
Our favorite is black bean hummus, but regular chickpea hummus is just as tasty.
Here are our favorite hummus flavors…
Whether you use fresh roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin, this is an autumn favorite, think Thanksgiving.
Add your pumpkin to your food processor with chickpeas, minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and a little water to get it into a nice, creamy texture. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a perfect garnish.
Serve with carrots and celery or those delicious rosemary crackers you made.
Dress your holiday table with a red. Take fresh beets, slice them and roast with some garlic. Add the roasted beets, garlic, olive oil, chickpeas, lemon juice, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water to even out the texture to your blender. With some roasted almonds and fresh rosemary sprigs, it will have that wow-factor on your table. Serve with carrots, snow peas, crostini.
Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet potatoes are a staple in our home during the fall and winter seasons.
My thoughts were, if I can use pumpkin to make hummus, why not sweet potatoes?
Cook your sweet potato, peel it, then blend it with a can of chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, a chipotle pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water for that creamy texture. Drizzle olive oil on top before serving, garnish with pumpkin seeds and it’s ready to be enjoyed. Serve with pita chips.
Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
Autumn squash is abundant this time of year, with butternut squash being my favorite.
Since I eat hummus practically every day for lunch, I’m always looking for new flavors.
So, why not butternut squash?
Roast your butternut squash with some garlic cloves. Your home will smell delicious.
Once the squash is ready, blend the squash, minced garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper in your food processer. Boost the flavor with a little dash of cinnamon, cumin and smoked paprika. Serve with pita chips and vegetables of your choice. We serve with carrots and broccoli.
We like to make a tray with a variety of hummus flavors. I find it interesting to see which flavors disappear first. I place a big serving bowl of mixed fresh vegetables – carrots, celery, bell pepper, jicama, broccoli, and snow peas for our guest, along with homemade crackers or pita chips to go with the hummus. Which is a sly way to get healthy veggies on the table for everyone to eat.
Is it possible to have a healthy holiday table?
I would have to say “Yes!” because we have been offering healthier options on our table for the past few years with no leftovers.
If this southern gal can get her southern family to eat healthier during the holidays, you can too.