Raw fresh vegetables served with Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Garlic Dip and Cucumber Dill These dips will make you wonder why you don't have them more often.
Summer is just around the corner, it is time to lighten up your dinner menu. A tray of raw vegetables will do nicely. If you work outside the home, stop by a supermarket that has a salad bar and buy salad-bar-ready vegetables for an easy dinner. Buy an assortment of four to six vegetables. Of course you can visit the veggie section and buy vegetables to prepare yourself. There is a bonus when you prepare your own salad fixings; washing and cutting vegetables can be very relaxing, it may help to get rid of the tension of a bad day at your workplace or at home.
A to Z Vegetable for dipping
- Asparagus - spears
- Bell peppers: green, red, yellow and orange - sliced
- Broccoli - florets and stems (blanch florets for brighter color) (peel stems, slice into rounds)
- Carrots - sticks
- Cauliflower - florets
- Cherry or grape tomatoes - leave whole
- Cucumber - peel, seed and cut into thick slices
- Green beans - remove ends, leave whole. (blanch for brighter color)
- Green onions - remove roots and green tops (keep tops to decorate platter.
- Mushrooms button -leave whole unless large, then halve
- Radishes, make 3 or 4 shallow cuts into radish and put in cold water to take away some of the sharpness and open the radish like a flower.
- Yellow squash - sticks and rounds
- Zucchini - sticks and rounds
Arrange in a large platter. Serve with dip.
Hint: There are a lot of beautiful colors here. Make your platter a show piece by grouping the vegetables in greens, whites, reds, yellows so they complement rather than blend in (no green beans next to broccoli) go for contrast.
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
3 large red bell peppers
1 small white onion
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place peppers under broiler and cook until charred on all sides, turning frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and cool. Peel peppers and remove the seeds and core. Place peppers and remaining ingredients in blender and puree to a rough mix. Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Makes approximately 1 cup.
Cucumber Dill Dressing
1 medium sized cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1 pint plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon Dill weed
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Drain and dry cucumber, mix into remaining ingredients. Chill 2 to 3 hours.
Serves 6 to 8.
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoon buttermilk*
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Pinch of salt
Paprika and chopped parsley for decoration (optional)
Mix first three ingredients together in a small bowl and chill. When ready to serve, place into 3 and 4 inch celery sticks. Remove strings before cutting celery stalks. Garnish with parsley and paprika before serving.
If you do not have buttermilk, add a couple of drops of white vinegar to whole milk. While buttermilk is not absolutely necessary, it does add a lot to the dip.
Garlicky Spinach Dip
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 cup sour Cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 3 cloves garlic, minced
Mix ingredients well and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or until dip is chilled. Serve with toasted pita bread that has been broken into large pieces or water crackers.