This holiday season, you can feel great about serving your family and friends this beautifully balanced, plant-based appetizer by nutrition Expert Kim Denkhaus that can bring any dinner party to life!
This fiber-rich, protein-packed crudite is a cinch to prepare, and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key ingredients that make up this colorful crudite accompanied with a beet hummus dip.
COLORFUL CRUDITE OF SLICED VEGETABLES
It is well-established that a plant-centered diet (rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans) is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your overall well-being. “Eating the rainbow” ensures we receive a daily supply of antioxidants which are crucial for good health.
Beetroot is an excellent source of folate and fiber. Beet greens pack a powerful nutritional punch of vitamin K, important for bone health, and Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant which plays an important role in eye health and immunity. Glycine betaine, a phytonutrient found in beets, has been linked to improved vascular health and enhanced performance. Beets are also naturally high in dietary nitrates, which have been linked to enhanced sports performance for their ability to improve blood flow to the exercising muscle.
The power of pulses, has been an emerging topic in the media. Pulses are plants that are part of the legume family, common varieties included chickpeas, lentils, and peas. Chickpeas, the principal ingredient in hummus, are a great gluten-free snack that is high in fiber, protein, and low in fat. The fiber content in chickpeas helps boost satiety, improves digestive health, and lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol. Pulses are an environmentally friendly protein source, since they don’t require the amount of environmental resources (like water, land, and animal feed) needed to raise livestock. Consuming more plants, and less meat helps protect the ecosystem. Going meatless even one day a week, and enjoying delicious, nutritious, and affordable pulses like chickpeas can have a profound impact on your health and the health of our planet.
Garlic has many medicinal benefits and is brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One of the most active ingredients, allicin, provides garlic with its pungent stinking odor, hence the name “the stinking rose.” Allicin is transformed into organosulfurs, which acts on DNA replication, causes cancer cell destruction, and minimizes inflammation in the human body. Research suggests that garlic may help safeguard against various forms of cancer and heart disease.
HELPFUL TIP: if you enjoy eating garlic, but don’t love the lingering aftertaste, try chewing on some fresh parsley sprigs at the end of a meal (your loved ones will thank you)!
Enjoy this beautifully balanced colorful crudite and hummus dip!
- 1 large, or 2 small red beets
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Lemon juice (1 whole lemon)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Raw vegetables of your choice to serve as Rainbow Crudité
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Wrap beet and garlic cloves in tin foil and place in oven. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour until beets are fork tender.
- Allow beet to cool, then peel off the skin.
- Place roasted beet and garlic, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil into food processor. Puree mixture, add 1/3 cup water, and puree until smooth and creamy.
- Add water or extra olive oil, if necessary, to thin the hummus, add approximately 1 tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to a bowl.
- Serve with your choice of colorful fresh vegetables!
Recipe adapted from Erin Stewart, natural foods chef at Define Foods.
VIDEO: LR CREATIVE // IMAGE: BERNARD GABRIEL
Kim Denkhaus, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with her private practice based in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In a modern-day society focused on convenience and fast-paced lifestyles, Kim is on a mission to help people reconnect with food in a sustainable, healthier way that will help them appreciate where their food comes from and empower them to use use whole foods to fuel and nourish their bodies.