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Skinny Dipping: Delicious, Good-For-You Dips Take Inspiration from Global Cuisines

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During my travels, I’ve picked up dip ideas and recipes as varied as the stamps on my passport. In Morocco, I tasted how richly flavored hummus can be. In Greece, I discovered creamy, garlicky tzatziki. In Mexico, I sampled dozens of flavorful salsas. Besides being intriguing and delicious, these dips—and others from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Central America—are much better for you than the sour cream and cream cheese dips typically found on the party circuit here. That’s because they use healthful vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds as their base ingredients.

From the global perspective, hummus and guacamole are the most common examples, but there are worlds to explore beyond those. Smoky roasted eggplant and tahini (sesame paste) make baba ghanoush, and sweet roasted red peppers and almonds form a classic romesco. There are as many varieties of bean dip as there are national flags.

These dips not only contain less saturated fat than those made with sour cream or cream cheese, but their vegetables, nuts, beans, and seeds add lots of nutrients: for example, vitamins C and A in red peppers and tomatoes; healthy fat in avocado, nuts, and seeds; and protein, minerals, and B vitamins in beans. What’s more, all of these ingredients are rich in fiber and antioxidants.

In these dip recipes, avocados, beans, and red peppers take center stage. The Green Goddess Dip uses avocado as a foundation for fresh herbs and has just the right amount of vinegar and buttermilk. Beans provide creaminess in the Chipotle Black Bean Dip, which has a smoky, spicy kick. And in the Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip, charred peppers make a velvety base for Mediterranean flavors. Together, they make a deliciously healthy party platter.

Recipes:

Avocado Green Goddess Dip Good to Know
I like potato chips and fried tortilla chips as much as the next person, but there are many inspired options that are just as delicious and better for you. Try these for dippers:

• Whole-grain pita wedges or crunchy baked whole-grain pita chips.

• Toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic.

• Vegetables, including grape tomatoes, sliced red and green peppers, radishes, endive, blanched asparagus or green beans, and steamed fingerling potatoes.

• Fresh-baked corn tortilla chips.

Avocado Green Goddess Dip    
     
Chipotle Black Bean Dip   Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip
Chipotle Black Bean Dip   Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip

Make ahead: All of these dips can be made up to three days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

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