Healthy chips and dip?
March 7, 2008 3:24 AM   Subscribe

Healthy chips and dip?

Lo, long have I quested thro' the dales and deep, like Bilbo for the One Ring, seeking chips that art not crap for my diet. (That would be “crisps” for you heathen Brits. And yes, I know Tolkien was British.)

Recently I happened upon Snyder's of Hanover sunflower and corn chips. They have a very nice texture but the flavor is meh.

In dip news, I like Middle Eastern food in general. I like حُمُّص بالطحين but besides putting it in falafel I've never found much else to use it with, much less dip in it.

But… Whoso putteth these chips in this dip, shall be the King of the Britons! There's a snacktacular gestalt between these two things, creating a Nietzschean Über-Snack, that I find delicious. And looking at the nutrition facts the combination doesn't look too bad health-wise: no trans fat, not too much fat overall, average carbs and below average sodium for a snack food. Definitely better than potato chips and onion dip, in any case.

So I ask you, me droogy droogs, what sort of healthy chips / crisps do you know of that I could put in my hummus, or healthy dip that I could dip my Hanoverian sunflower chips in, or other healthy combination of chips and dip?
posted by XMLicious to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
What is wrong with salsa to dip in? Not very middle eastern in itself but I imagine that if you make tabouli and leave out the bulghur you should end up with something that's nice to dip in. Tabouli goes great with hummus btw.

The most crazy delicious mid-eastern dip is made from aubergine. Just put roasted aubergine, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil in a mixer. Should be healthy enough for you.
posted by uandt at 3:54 AM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks uandt, salsa or tabouli are good suggestions. The aubergine thing you're talking about is Baba Ghanoush, right?
posted by XMLicious at 4:02 AM on March 7, 2008

We're big fans of Terra Chips.
posted by Atom12 at 4:30 AM on March 7, 2008

Hummus has some (healthy) fats from olive oil, but also much protein. You can make it yourself if you have a food processor. PM me for a recipe; it's time consuming but easy. I am of the opinion that good hummus is a gift from God.

The proper dipping vehicle is pita bread. Grocery stores will rip you off on pita, but you may be able to find a middle eastern market or restaurant and get a good deal. If you want that chip-like crunch, you can toast them. This place is a gold standard and one of my favorite restaurants ever. They schooled me on the ways of hummus and pitas.
posted by scose at 4:31 AM on March 7, 2008

Carrots and hummus. Crunchy and delicious.
posted by methylsalicylate at 4:47 AM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

They aren't chips, but they are crunchy: carrots are very yummy dipped in hummus. So are red peppers, raw broccoli, and other (very healthy!) veggies that you may like.

If you want your pita healthier, get some whole-wheat pita. If you want it to be more chip-like, cut into wedges, brush with olive oil, and toast. Mmm.

If you're feeling lazy or are in a rush, plain ol' toast is great with hummus. So are bagels and bagel chips. And there are some baked (not fried) tortilla chips out there that taste pretty decent - you'll have to do some experimenting.
posted by bassjump at 4:48 AM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone!

Since we're getting into the pita, toast, etc. realm it seems fair to bring up crackers. I totally can't believe how bad for you most crackers are. I went looking back maybe four years ago or so and I think I found one single brand, out of an entire grocery aisle full of them, that was zero trans-fat! And the total fat, sodium, and carbs is actually more than potato chips for some brands! Oh, the humanity!
posted by XMLicious at 5:06 AM on March 7, 2008

Thirding carrots. If you take a largish carrot and do a thin waffle cut on the diagonal, you get nice big oval rippled chips that are perfect for dipping, crisp and yummy.

If you like hummus and baba ghanouj you might also try muhammara, another tasty & healthy middle eastern dip.
posted by magicbus at 5:16 AM on March 7, 2008

Crunchy things:

Archer Farms (Target owned brand) Jamaican Jerk baked crisps
Archer Farms Roast Chicken baked crisps (coming soon, can't wait)
Guiltless Gourmet tortilla chips
Ming Tsai Hot Tamari rice crisps
Sesmark Savory Thins
rice crackers
water crackers
pita chips
jicama (i love it but it may be an acquired lack of taste)
air-popped popcorn

Dippy things:

refried beans
bruschetta topping
peanut butter
pureed cannellini beans with a little chicken stock and basil

I'm not promising that all of these are 100% healthy and will make you lose weight if you eat a diet of just them, but I do promise they're all better than Ruffles and French Onion dip.

Also, if you fall off the wagon, try Salt and Pepper kettle chips dipped in a softened mix of 1/2 black pepper brie and 1/2 cream cheese. No, not healthy at all. But so good.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:21 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cut corn or flour tortillas in wedges, spray lightly with cooking spray, salt, and bake them until they're crunchy. These are way better than mass-produced baked tortilla chips, which tend to taste like cardboard.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:23 AM on March 7, 2008

I agree that hummus is the snack of the gods. Stuff I dip in it, which may or may not inspire you:

no carbs:

a spoon
my fingers (I'm not ashamed, and you shouldn't be either)
raw carrot, cucumber sticks and snow peas, baby sweetcorn, french beans, sweet peppers, cauliflower, broccoli
whole chilies, if not insanely hot
strips of roasted chicken
strips of cheddar cheese
halved hard boiled eggs


wholewheat crispbreads (swedish sort, like little boat shapes)
if I feel like a treat, chips (french fries to you)

But the raw veggies or a spoon are the winners, for me. Guilt-free and in the case of veggies, packed with goodness. And both mean I can scoff MORE hummus.

Brilliant, tasty, if messy dip idea from a friend:

- Grate a cucumber into a bowl
- Squeeze in the juice of a lime or two
- Finely chop one or two green chillies and add to taste
- Add a handful of chopped coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste

Goes with anything Mediterranean, Mexican or Indian.

Only works with scoopy-shaped dip things, though. And yeah, salsa.
posted by dowcrag at 5:26 AM on March 7, 2008

Pita chips (crisps made out of pita bread) are super crunchy and generally amazing.

I also love dipping cucumber slices in hummus. They're crunchy enough to satisfy my "need something crunchy" cravings but they are also a healthy alternative to chips.
posted by taraza at 5:27 AM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: magicbus thank you so much! I guess I had something like muhammara in a lamb dish in an Iranian restaurant a couple of years ago but couldn't find it again because the menu said something like “walnut salad sauce”.

Juliet Banana - thanks, I've seen jícama in supermarkets but I didn't realize that it's eaten raw. And I find the roast chicken crisps intriguing too, I'm glad there's a Target nearby. And potato chips with brie? Are you gettin' Paula Dean on me? ;^)

dowcrag, the grated cucumber dip sounds interesting, I really like cucumbers. So I'll definitely try taraza's cucumbers in hummus suggestion.
posted by XMLicious at 5:37 AM on March 7, 2008

One of my fave dips/spreads:

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup of nama shoyu or soy sauce or bragg's
1/4 red bell pepper
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups of raw (not roasted) cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, or combination (a mix of cashew and mac are best)

Put everything in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

This is absolutely delish on anything. It's a great dip and also a great spread (I spread it on Collard Green leaves (remove stem) and wrap it around fresh mango, bean sprouts, cabbage, etc.)

It's also good if you dip very thin slices of jicama in it.
posted by dobbs at 6:20 AM on March 7, 2008 [12 favorites]

My new favorite dip is:

1 can of Canneloni Beans, well rinsed
a few cloves of garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few dashes of hot sauce
some rosemary

Puree in a food processor and add olive to get it to the consistency that you like. Then salt and pepper to taste.
posted by mmascolino at 7:01 AM on March 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

Terra Chips are good, and I've recently discovered Lundberg's Rice Chips, which come in many tasty flavors and are made from brown rice. The sea salt variety would probably go best with hummus.

You're right about crackers -- Triscuits are about the only decent cracker you can get without trans fat. Goldfish crackers are good too.

Happy snacking!
posted by Koko at 7:09 AM on March 7, 2008

To make healthier crisps/chips I bake my own - slice really really thin slices of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips or beetroot (slice with a vegetable peeler to get super thin), arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, spray with spray oil, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven! - How long for depends on their thickness, just keep an eye on them!

These are really yummy with any kind of dip you'd usually have, and a little less guilt-inducing because you know they're not deep fried, nor do they have any nasty flavourings or anything!!
posted by schmoo at 7:11 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I dip Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels in hummus. OMG so good.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2008

XMLicious, if it was a sauce rather than a dip it might also have been fesenjan/fessenjan (lots of recipes available on Google). I recommend both!
posted by magicbus at 8:18 AM on March 7, 2008

Holy tags, Batman!

Lo, a princely collection have you acquired, sir!
posted by SlyBevel at 8:55 AM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: Someone actually used the term “Übersnack” previously. I thought I was such a special snowflake. I'm crushed. Sometimes the tags show you bad things.
posted by XMLicious at 9:53 AM on March 7, 2008

Response by poster: A little snack humor contributed by MeFi's own O9scar.
posted by XMLicious at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2008

I don't know if there are Trader Joe's grocery stores where you are, but they make a fantastic cracker kind of thing called Corn Tortilla Flat Breads. Some kinds have seeds sprinkled on them. They taste good and they're low in fat (no trans fats, no sat. fats).
posted by rtha at 10:20 AM on March 7, 2008

What about guacamole? (avocados are still good for you this week, right?) It goes well with baked tortilla chips or carrot sticks and the like.

Also a personal favorite is the 'roasted red pepper' flavor of hummus. It accents the sweetness of carrots perfectly, I think.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:32 AM on March 7, 2008

If you have access to a Whole Foods, Central Market or other similar health store, they typically sell dehydrated veggies in the bulk bin that are fantastic. The crunch and texture of chips, but only 4 grams of fat per serving (veggies include green beans, cabbage, red potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini).

This fat free black bean dip is amazing.

Another amazing dip I love:

1 8 oz. lowfat cream cheese
2 small avocados
1 small can of jalapeno strips (the kind you get in the mexican food aisle)

Soften cream cheese; dump in food processor. Blend with other two ingredients; as you blend, mix in some water to make it creamier. Just play with the consistency until it's right. Very spicy, delicious and lowfat! Everyone loves it whenever I make it for parties.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:54 AM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Dip, if you like the typically sour cream kind:

1 container Fage Total 0% greek yogurt (or similar)
some salt
some garlic
some lemon juice if desired
some green onions or chives
some of whatever herbs you like (I'm a dill person usually)

I use this more for veggies like carrots and cucumber slices. This greek yogurt stuff is amazing, it's like 80 calories for the whole container, 0g fat, super rich and creamy, and 13 (!!!) grams of protein. It's unsweetened and tangy, but if you have a sweet tooth too you can mix it with honey, artificial sweetener, granola, fruit, etc to make it sweet.

For a crunchy salty treat, there's always popcorn if you don't get the crazy buttered kinds (or make it yourself). And I like to make my own pita chips out of whole wheat pitas. I eat the pitas with hummus b/c I love it.

Another creamy treat to put on pitas, crackers, etc: Laughing Cow light garlic and herb cheese. Comes in portioned out wedges that are only 35 calories.
posted by misskaz at 11:06 AM on March 7, 2008

I like Wasa and Ryvita for dips and spreads. They're about as healthy as you can possibly make a cracker-type-thing.

Seconding the Greek yogurt; I can eat that stuff straight.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:28 AM on March 7, 2008

I don't have any macadamia nuts or cashews on hand, but I just tried dobbs' dip with almonds instead (roasted the pepper, cut the volume of shoyu in half) and got something very tasty to go with my small forest of carrot sticks If I get some cashews in, I'll have to try it again, as those are softer and would puree more smoothly than almonds (and are awesome on their own, anyway).
posted by maudlin at 12:28 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Trader Joe's makes these sour cream and onion rice crisps that are amazing, and not too bad for you. Until you eat the whole bag. They also come in salt & pepper, but I haven't tried those yet.
posted by dizziest at 3:05 PM on March 7, 2008

I got these chips to switch my boyfriend over from the regular tortilla chips he'd been buying lately.

They're kind of high in fat, but low in carbs, high in fiber, and protein (for a chip). And they're pretty damn tasty.

And I think dobbs has just introduced me to my potentially new favorite dip. That sounds so good.
posted by birdie birdington at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2008

maudlin, part of the "point" of the dip recipe I posted is for it to be eaten raw. Give it a shot without roasting the peppers.
posted by dobbs at 9:34 PM on March 13, 2008

And here's another kickass raw vegan dip.

Sun Dried Tomato and Cashew Romesco

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, soaked an hour or more and then squeeze out excess water
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 hours or more
zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup red miso
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of za'atar*
2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Put everything in a food processor and let it rip. You may have to add some water to get it to the consistency you want (make it spreadable)... and if you do add water, use the sundried tomato soak water.

*Za'atar can be hard to find. Any good middle eastern store should have it. It's a Lebanese combination of spices that includes sumac and a bunch of other good stuff. The recipe works without it but za'atar adds extra zing.

This recipe is from Raw Food Real World, a cook book. The previously posted recipe I put up is from Rawvolution, another raw food cookbook.

And here's another (from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen):

Ginger Almond Pate

2 tbs grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups almonds
juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tbs)
1/2 cup water (as needed)

In a food processor with S-blade: process ginger, salt, until mixed. Add almonds and process while adding lemon juice. Add water only as needed for hummus-like texture.
posted by dobbs at 9:48 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Bit of ironic timing, The Onion just put up this article making fun of Snyder's for only making pretzels.
posted by XMLicious at 1:23 PM on March 14, 2008

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