Summer is the perfect time for light, healthy eating and snacking, and few things refresh, sustain and satisfy to the degree that fresh, delicious garden vegetables do. A platter of crudité, the French word for an assortment of fresh, raw vegetables, is not only healthy, it is visually appealing as well, and might just be the most beautiful thing on your table. A crudité platter calls out for dip, and while you could just dump some Newman’s Own Ranch in a bowl and call it a day, I thought I’d pull together a selection of fresh and delicious dip recipes to inspire you to whip some up from scratch.
Raw food advocates and supporters of the Paleo diet have been espousing the benefits of raw veggies for years, although the scientific community points out that some vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, asparagus and cabbage actually supply more antioxidants and beta-carotine when cooked, (especially steaming or boiling) but that cooking also destroys much of the vitamin C.
Then again, it seems that some vegetables, such as broccoli are in fact better for you raw than cooked. It seems most prudent to use a little moderation; eat some of your veggies raw, some cooked, and your fruit raw. (Unless you’re making a pie, then definitely cook away!)
For a more in depth discussion on this topic, go here.
“Comparing the healthfulness of raw and cooked food is complicated, and there are still many mysteries surrounding how the different molecules in plants interact with the human body. The bottom line…. is to eat your veggies and fruits no matter how they’re prepared”- Scientific American
Parents have known for years that whether they are served cooked or raw, getting kids to eat their veggies can be a slightly easier task if the veggies are dolled up a little. Ants on a log-a piece of celery filled with peanut butter and dotted with raisins or currants- is one of the more famous tactical embellishments in the culinary/child rearing world.
Adults, we like our crudités jazzed up a little as well, and a fresh made dip or sauce for scooping into will elevate your platter of veggies into a culinary masterwork. Making dips for crudités is easy and fun. Mowing down on a chunk of raw broccoli may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but put a bowl of fresh made baba ganoush, hummus or a garlicky tzatziki in the middle of the platter and I guarantee you will run out of broccoli in no time at all. Homemade mayo and a lemony aioli are also sure to please, and even your favourite Caesar salad dressing, like this one makes a great and familiar dip.
Summer dips and sauces are also great as an accompaniment to dishes like fresh grilled. Romesco roasted red pepper dip are two of our favourite sides for grilled fish and veggies, and also awesome for scooping into with a pice piece of pita.
For your crudités why not serve a small selection of dips and let you and your family and guests decide on their favourite, or which dip works best with each veggie. Strong flavours in the Greek tzatziki and skordalia work great with more subtle flavours, while milder dips flavoured with fresh herbs and lemon, like this super simple white bean and rosemary dip are perfect for strong or somewhat bitter flavours of endive or radicchio.
White Bean Dip with Lemon and Rosemary
- 1 14-ounce can white navy beans rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons chives, chopped
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.