Enjoy blood-pressure friendly crudités with 3 dips

Eating more vegetables is a healthy choice whether you're concerned about high blood pressure or not. Try these three dips to liven up your veggie platter for a blood-pressure friendly treat.

Enjoy blood-pressure friendly crudités with 3 dips

Prepare your dips and veggies

Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes soaking; Serves 8

Pesto-Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • 250 g (1 c) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) pine nuts
  • 250 ml (1 c) plain low-fat yogurt

Fresh Herb Dip

Ingredients:

  • 175 ml (3/4 c) low-fat sour cream
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped parsley
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) finely snipped fresh chives
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) tarragon vinegar

Italian-Style Tomato Dip

Ingredients:

  • 125 g (1/2 c) sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed)
  • 125 g (1/2 c) low-fat cottage cheese
  • 50 ml (1/4 c) plain low-fat yogurt
  • 50 g (1/4 c) fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To Serve

  • 500 g (1 pound) vegetable crudités, such as baby carrots, zucchini sticks, green beans (blanched for 1 minute), pepper strips and broccoli florets

Instructions:

  1. For the pesto-yogurt dip, use a pestle and mortar to crush the basil, garlic and pine nuts into a paste. Work in the yogurt, a spoonful at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add seasoning to taste. (Alternatively, puree all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill.)
  2. For the fresh herb dip, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Cover tightly and chill until required
  3. For the Italian-style tomato dip, place the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover them. Let them soak until the tomatoes are plump and tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the tomatoes well, then pat them dry and finely chop them
  4. Puree the cottage cheese with the yogurt in a food processor or blender. (Alternatively, press the cheese through a sieve and stir in the yogurt.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomatoes. Cover and chill until required
  5. Just before serving the Italian-style tomato dip, finely shred the basil and stir in with seasoning to taste
  6. Serve the bowls of dips on a large platter with the crudités arranged around them

Mix it up

  • There is a wide choice of vegetables for making crunchy, delicious crudités
  • For example, try celery or cucumber sticks, whole radishes, baby plum tomatoes halved lengthwise, small cauliflower florets (raw or briefly cooked), and baby new potatoes cooked until tender
  • You could also offer a selection of fruit and warm pita bread for dipping, as well as vegetables

Health points

Broccoli is one of the most studied of vegetables, and for good reason; it has an extraordinary number of nutrients. In fact, broccoli may be as close to a blood-pressure superfood as there is, with its rich stores of calcium, potassium, antioxidants and other heart-friendly phytochemicals.

Pine nuts are rich in a variety of minerals: magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.

Each serving (equal amounts of each dip) provides:

Key nutrients:

  • 80 Calories
  • 40 Calories from Fat
  • 4 g Fat
  • 2 g Saturated Fat
  • 0 g Trans Fat
  • 6 g Protein
  • 7 g Carb
  • 0 g Fibre
  • 110 mg Sodium

Blood pressure nutrients:

  • 5 mg Vitamin C
  • 25 mg Magnesium
  • 297 mg Potassium
  • 119 mg Calcium

Few foods can be healthier than raw vegetable sticks, so make the most of them by serving them with these tempting low-fat dips for a snack or instead of a formal first course. Or, for a light lunch, these quantities will serve four.

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