Memorial Weekend marks the beginning of summer and I am ready! We don’t have any plans for the three-day weekend, except waking up at 6:00 a.m. to greet the early birds at our everything-must-go moving sale on Saturday – oh joy 🙂 Whether you’re just kicking back to enjoy an extra day off or rounding up the kids to initiate summer with a little beach time, backyard camping, or throwing the first pool party of the season; simple foods that require a minimum of time spent inside are in order. And, it’s the best time of year to eat the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green – take advantage of the season’s bounty of fresh fruits and veggies!
Finally, there’s a moniker for “eat more fruits and vegetables” that sounds appealing. To quote Eating Well, it’s easy to identify foods with the highest levels of antioxidants—they’re often the most colorful. Carrots and sweet potatoes have plenty of beta carotene; bell peppers, strawberries and tomatoes contain vitamin C; tomatoes and watermelon have lycopene; and dark leafy greens like spinach contain lutein. Blueberries have anthocyanins. Red grapes have resveratrol. And the list goes on!
But wait, is white a color? You might think it’s the absence of color (that’s black) – it’s actually the sum of all colors of the spectrum, so totally counts. White fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower are colored by pigments called “anthoxanthins” and also may contain health-promoting chemicals. Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K (source: Whole Foods.org) Other white foods like bananas and potatoes are a good source of potassium, too.
Inspired by a recipe that I cut out of an Oprah magazine which they adapted from Skinny Dips, by Diane Morgan, today’s recipe is a chunky, chilled dip combining steamed cauliflower with warm Indian flavors that won’t have you in the kitchen very long. It’s satisfying and healthy, especially when served with the colors of the rainbow veggie dippers in lieu of crackers or chips. Like raita, tzatziki, and other sour cream and yogurt dips, it has a cool, lingering taste that’s so refreshing.
*Featured in HuffPost Taste’s “12 Amazing Dips for Football Season” on January 3, 2013!
- 2 cups of cauliflower florets about 1/2 of a head of cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon avocado or canola oil
- 1 small sweet or yellow onion diced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt*
- 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Cut the cauliflower head in half, break into small florets to equal about 2 cups. Place in a microwave-safe container, add a tablespoon of water, cover and heat on high for approximately 3 - 4 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave) until fork tender, but not mushy. I like cauliflower to still have a bit of crunch, but you may like it softer. Drain the water and, using a fork or potato masher, coarsely mash the cauliflower.
Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast for 1 minute. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Heat the avocado oil and sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry and salt to the onions and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
Add the sesame seeds and onion mixture to the mashed cauliflower. Remove and add to the cauliflower along with the yogurt, sour cream, honey, balsamic, cayenne, nutmeg, and cilantro. Mix well. Chill.
Serve with assorted crudités of your choice for a colorful and healthy appetizer, snack, or light lunch. Shown here served with sliced red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, blanched fresh green beans, and radishes.
* salt can be eliminated or reduced for very strict low sodium diets
What plans do you have to kick off summer?