Have you ever Googled eating healthy? There are guidelines and “so-called” experts across the globe with varying ideas of what eating healthy really means. As I clicked through the articles, I found someone who was upset that McDonald’s was putting apple slices in their toddlers happy meal (too nutritious?) and those who think you shouldn’t be taking your children to McDonald’s in the first place. I must admit that I am more on the don’t-eat-fast-food-and-don’t-feed-it-to-your-children bandwagon. I’m also the freak who on the rare occasion walks into a fast food restaurant, and asks for their nutrition information before considering placing my order. But a five-hour drive on a sparse highway in the USA with rest stops only every 30 miles, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything but McDonald’s. Truth be told, a McDonald’s softserve is one of my guilty pleasures – at only 150 calories per serving and 3.5 grams of fat, it’s a pretty good sweet treat choice. Do you think they put that pink slime in the ice cream too?
CNN had a very disturbing article about a phobia called orthorexia. The term was coined by Steven Bratman, M.D. in 1997 and was described as a “fixation on eating proper food.” This takes us in the complete opposite direction of our greater population of over-eaters of bad food in this country. No one can argue that the obesity rate in our country is out of control, especially in our children. But is it possible there is too much information available on how to eat healthy? I don’t think it’s that complicated, and I believe there needs to be a simple balance. Denying ourselves entire food groups or the occasional ice cream, only makes me cranky. I’m no expert, but I believe in a diet filled with whole grains, lots of fresh in-season vegetables and fruits, and lean meats. Avoid artificial sweeteners, processed foods and excess sugar. And let’s not forget the most important part, get your butt off the couch and move your body. Exercise is key.
How I ended up on this healthy eating tangent, I just don’t know. It could be my body dysmorphic personality that haunts me or my addiction to lentils and kale, but I think this white bean dip is a great example of a healthy choice that your whole family will love. Made with nutrient rich beans, garlic and olive oil, this dip is super versatile. It’s delicious served with pita chips, sliced cucumber and olives as an appetizer. I often serve this schmeared inside a warm pita with grilled chicken or lamb and a greek salad for the perfect dinner. This recipe doubles or cuts in half nicely, too.
This is a great substitute for hummus, perfect for my sesame allergic friends out there – you know who you are… wink wink.
INGREDIENTS (Makes about 2 cups of dip)
- 2 – 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large clove of garlic, cut in half
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, loosely packed
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (enough to make it creamy)
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a large food processor, except the olive oil. I use an 11 cup machine. Pulse the machine to blend the ingredients. Turn the machine on and slowly stream in the olive oil with the machine running. You want the dip to have a creamy consistency. Stop the machine when it looks nice and smooth (you might not need all of the oil) and taste for reseasoning. We like it spicy. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to make the heat level the way you like it. Enjoy!
* This dip will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, so it can definitely be made the day before entertaining.