Wow, has summer arrived! As you’re all fully aware of, most of the country has experienced temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and heat indexes above 100. That doesn’t even mention the out-of-control humidity levels that have kept my hair in a permanent ponytail.
I’m fortunate enough to work from home, so many days, I don’t even leave the air-conditioned house until after the peak hours of heat. But on the mornings I go to yoga, Pilates or the farmer’s market… oh man.
One of this week’s classes in Integrative Nutrition was timed perfectly with this heat. I learned all about the raw food diet, or should I say lifestyle, which is ideal during hot weeks like this. I know that personally, I could never live the life of a raw foodist in the winter. I need my protein, fats and warming foods to keep my body remotely warm duringMidwestsnowstorms. But in this weather, I strive on raw food.
Ever morning or after an evening workout, I drink a green smoothie. Every afternoon or evening, I eat a salad with ingredients from the farmer’s markets. I love raw food! Not only does it keep my body cool and able to handle heat and humidity better, but it allows me to keep the oven off in my kitchen, which is key. Let me tell you, when that thing is turned on, it takes hours of staying out of the kitchen until it cools off. Any anyone who knows me knows that staying out of the kitchen is mere torture to me!
In between indulging on my raw veggies and fruits, I try to find new ways to incorporate raw foods. I mean, there are only so many salads and smoothies I can handle in a week. So this week, I made this dip based off a recipe that came in the mail with a free bag of Kashi 7-grain pita chips. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the crackers (just because a box says it has seven grains doesn’t mean it’s perfect), I fell in love with the dip.
Why is it that the base of every delicious dip is cream cheese, sour cream or mayonnaise? Afterward, you’re left feeling lethargic, fat and sometimes still unsatisfied. This dip has a garbanzo bean and tahini base, much like hummus, which provides protein, fiber and healthy fats. It’s heavy enough to satisfy you, but light enough to keep you energized. The vegetables in it just add to the summery flavor and taste.
I’m eating it right now as I type! No joke. It’s the perfectmiddaysnack.
Red Pepper Tahini Dip based on a recipe from Kashi
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
6 Tablespoons tahini paste
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
Over medium heat, sauté two tablespoons of lemon juice with the garlic and red onion until onions become translucent. Remove and allow to slightly cool. (I’m impatient and didn’t do this. It turned out fine.)
In a food processor, add the onion mixture, the rest of the lemon juice, the red bell pepper, the garbanzo beans, the tahini paste and the spices. Pulse until smooth.
Pour into a large bowl and stir in the cucumber and feta, if using. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or multi-grain crackers.
If you wanted to make the dip less thick, you could get away with using less tahini paste.