Nutrition

Mediterranean sauces: 6 healthy companions for your evening snack!

Mediterranean sauces: 6 healthy companions for your evening snack!
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Dips are a beloved snack choice that pairs with all kinds of salads and chips. But let’s give them a healthy twist with the recipe of these Mediterranean sauces!

Get ready to say Opa!, aka Hurray!, with every bite as you try these recipes of healthy Mediterranean sauces. The Mediterranean diet is renowned for its vibrant flavours, fresh ingredients and numerous health benefits. One of the hallmarks of this culinary tradition is the wide variety of delicious sauces that grace Mediterranean tables. Let’s explore these healthy and mouthwatering dips that will elevate your snacking experience to new heights. From the velvety richness of tahini to the tangy flavor of tzatziki, these Mediterranean sauces are like little jars of joy that transform any get-together into a feast of flavours.

Packed with nutrient-rich ingredients like tahini, chickpeas, yogurt, and olive oil, these dips provide a substantial dose of healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The Mediterranean diet, of which these dips are a cornerstone, has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved heart health, reduced risk of chronic disease, improved brain function, and weight management. . So, dive in guilt-free, knowing that every spoonful not only brings joy to your palate, but also contributes to your overall well-being.

You can enjoy these Mediterranean sauces guilt-free! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are 6 healthy Mediterranean sauces to try:

1. Tahini

Ingredients:

*2 cups of sesame seeds
*2-4 tablespoons of neutral tasting oil (e.g. grape seed, sunflower or vegetable oil)
*2 tablespoons of lemon juice
*2 tablespoons of water
*1 minced garlic clove
*1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
*Salt to taste



Instructions:

1. Toast the sesame seeds. Then put the cooled sesame seeds in a food processor and blend the seeds for a few minutes until they start to break down and form a coarse paste.



2. With the stand mixer or blender still running, gradually add the oil, starting with 2 Tbsp.

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3. Continue to blend the mixture until the tahini is smooth and creamy.

4. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, minced garlic, cumin (if desired), and a pinch of salt.

Also Read: Weight Loss: Try These 6 Food Combos and Dips to Curb Cravings

2. Hummus

Ingredients:

*1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
*1/4 cup tahini
*2 tablespoons of lemon juice
*2 minced garlic cloves
*2 tablespoons of olive oil
*1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)
*Salt to taste
*Water (as needed for consistency)

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin (if using), and a pinch of salt.

2. Gradually add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

3. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika or fresh herbs.

4. Serve with pita bread, vegetable sticks or as a spread in sandwiches.

Hummus is a healthy dip made with chickpeas! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Zatziki

Ingredients:

*1 cup of Greek yogurt
*1 medium cucumber, grated and drained
*2 minced garlic cloves
*1 tablespoon of lemon juice
*1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
*1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint (optional)
*Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped herbs.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

4. Serve with grilled meats, pita bread or as a refreshing dip for vegetables.

4. Labneh

Ingredients:

*2 cups of Greek yogurt
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*Extra virgin olive oil (for serving)
* Fresh herbs and spices (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

1. Place cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix the Greek yogurt and salt.

3. Transfer the yogurt mixture to the cheesecloth or sieve and leave it to strain in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to remove excess liquid and achieve a thicker consistency.

4. Once strained, transfer the labneh to a serving dish.

5. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh herbs and spices if desired.

6. Serve with pita bread, crackers or use it as a spread in sandwiches.

5. Baba Ganush

Ingredients:

*2 medium aubergines
*1/4 cup tahini
*2 tablespoons of lemon juice
*2 minced garlic cloves
*2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
*Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

2. Prick the aubergines with a fork and place them on a baking sheet.

3. Roast the eggplants in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft.

4. Remove the aubergines from the oven and let them cool. Peel off the skin and discard.

5. In a food processor, blend the roasted eggplant pulp, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.

6. Transfer the baba ganoush to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita bread or vegetable sticks.

You will never get enough of this smokey sauce! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Skordalia

Ingredients:

*3 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled
*4 minced garlic cloves
*2 tablespoons of lemon juice
*1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, mash the boiled potatoes until smooth.

2. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Mix well until all ingredients are completely combined.

4. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.

5. Serve skordalia as a dip with pita bread or as a side dish alongside grilled vegetables or fish.

Also try: This low-calorie pea and mint dip is every Weight Watcher’s dream snack

Embrace the rich flavors of the Mediterranean with these healthy and delicious sauces. Whether you’re entertaining guests or simply indulging in a snack, these recipes will add a burst of flavor to your table. Explore the versatility of hummus, the freshness of tzatziki, the creaminess of tahini, the flavor of labneh, the smokiness of baba ganoush and the robustness of skordalia. Enjoy these Mediterranean sauces as part of a balanced diet and savor the goodness they bring to your culinary journey.

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