The Most Versatile Dip Ever!

Is it a dip? Or is it a pesto? Whatever you call it, I call it delicious 🙂

This concoction of leafy greens, artichokes, nuts and oil all whipped up together = good-for-you perfection. It’s packed with healthy, mostly-raw ingredients (the way nature intended them) and is just so delicious on everything.

It can be tailored to your tastes and to what ingredients you have on hand (hence why I called it versatile!). Don’t have arugula? Try baby spinach, kale, basil or parsley. Substitute the artichokes for roasted red peppers or omit them all together. Add a few olives. Make it more hummus-y by throwing in some beans. Use up leftover cooked sweet potatoes. Try melted coconut oil instead of olive. Add chia or flax seeds for extra nutrition; Parmesan cheese for a salty bite. You get the idea: the possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to use up some leftover healthy ingredients you may have at home.

This recipe is definitely one of my favorites and a staple in my house.  It’s also a big crowd pleaser – I served it at my family’s Christmas Eve party with carrots and cucumber slices and everyone, including the vegetable-averse, loved it! That was a proud moment, for sure 🙂

Artichoke-Greens Pesto Dip

Serves 5-10 as a dip, 4-6 over pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts/almonds/cashews or a mix
  • 1 package of frozen artichokes, thawed or 1 can/jar of drained artichokes
  • 1 cup of loosely packed greens; I used baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1/4 cup, more or less depending on desired consistency
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of imported grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)

Directions:

Place all your ingredients (except for the oil) in the food processor.  Begin to pulse until everything starts to come together, then slowly drizzle olive oil until you reach the consistency you want.  I generally enjoy this more as a chunky dip so I don’t process it too much. For a more pesto-like consistency, continue to process and add more oil or even some broth.

Best enjoyed at room temperature or warmed in the oven. This dip stores well – I’ve kept it for 2 weeks in my refrigerator (when I serve it, I let it sit out for a bit to get to room temperature). I imagine it would freeze well, too, especially if you left out the cheese.

Now go forth and make dip.. pesto.. dip..

Advertisements

For Dinner, with Love (part 2)

Here is Part 2 of our Valentine’s Day dinner: the “healthy” course!

We enjoyed a small portion of the very rich and delicious Truffle Macaroni & Cheese as our starter and finished off the meal with this lovely flounder, simply baked in parchment with lemon and some rice and broccoli rabe on the side.

I would have normally made whole wheat pasta, quinoa or brown rice, but since it was my Valentine’s gift to Steve, I made his favorite – white rice.

The odd thing about this dinner, though is that anyone who knows Steve knows that he’s not a seafood person at all. Sooo why on earth would I make him fish, you ask? Well, because he requested it! The wonderful thing about my husband is that when he knows how good something is for you (like fish), he’ll try it. He tries to eat a healthy, balanced diet (I’m a lucky girl :)) so that was what he asked for. And his wish was granted.

It came out quite tasty (not “fishy” at all) and was so easy peasy. Simple flavors and simple cooking methods made for a fish dish that I’ll happily make again!

Parchment-Baked Flounder with Rice and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

Serves 2, plus leftovers for lunch

Ingredients:

  • 4 flounder filets (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 small lemon, cut into slices
  • 1-2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, thoroughly washed & roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, have more handy if needed
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white rice

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the rice using the method you usually use (I have a rice cooker, but stove top is fine). Clean fish and pat dry. Prepare 4 sheets of parchment paper – make sure to leave enough room to fold and enclose the fish.

Pour broth into a large saucepan and when it begins to boil, toss in the broccoli rabe. Cover and let broccoli “water saute”/steam for 5-7 minutes or until desired tenderness.

While broccoli cooks, prepare the fish. Place each filet on a piece of parchment, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and season with garlic salt, pepper and a slice of lemon on top. Feel free to add any other spices you like.  Fold the parchment so that the fish is enclosed and that the juices won’t leak (this method is pretty brilliant. Wish I’d found it when I made this!)  Place the packets onto a baking sheet, for easier transport.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the type of fish.

Meanwhile, when the broccoli is almost done, season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil — the health benefits of the oil remains intact if you don’t cook it down.

Lastly, plate everything and enjoy!

my date, about to dig in