Thursday, March 25, 2010

Snack Attack: Healthy Vegan Carrot Spread

   I have an affinity for snacking. When my body is telling me it's hungry, I'm just not good at saying, "So sorry my friend, you must wait until the next scheduled meal".  So I don't.  When I'm hungry, I eat.  (And sometimes when I'm bored, too, but I'm working on that.)  The problems lies with the crazy over-processed convenient snack foods that line our grocery store shelves.  When I'm hungry for a snack, I want it now, not in the twenty or thirty minutes it would take me to prepare something fresh.  But I don't want to put all the crap ingredients into my body that come with those quick-and-easy pre-packaged snack foods.  My solution is to prepare fresh foods ahead of time, so when hunger strikes my snack is ready.  I especially love dips and spreads.  They are perfect for munching on fresh vegetables (pre-cut, of course) or spreading on crackers.  I often prepare a large enough portion of a dip or spread so that it will last me a week.  If you're really sharp you are probably thinking, "Hey, aren't crackers full of junk ingredients?".  Good work. Yes, they often are.  You can find crackers that are more healthy than the standard ones, however.  The brand that I have found to have the best ingredients is Kashi.  You want to look for crackers that use whole grain flours only and don't have hydrogenated oils.

    The snack I'm highlighting today is called Curried Carrot Dip and it is slightly modified from Veganomicon.  Veganomicon is full of great recipes, but my favorites are the dips, spreads, salad dressings, and sauces.  They are always relatively simple and really delicious.  Now, in the title I call this a spread rather than a dip.  I use it more as a spread, but it can be used as a dip as well.  It's versatile!  An added bonus is that Meghan, who prefers green vegetables to orange, will eat this dip if I spread it on a cracker.  So this is one way I get some carrots in her.  Isn't that strange? Most toddlers I know love the orange veggies.  Nonetheless, this can be a healthy snack for your toddlers or older children, as well. 

Curried Carrot Dip

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c. roasted sunflower seeds (salted)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil of your choice (I use grapeseed oil as that is what the original recipe suggests)
1 clove garlic, minced
1  tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
dash cinnamon 

Cook the carrots by steaming them, about 10 minutes or until soft.  Allow them to cool.  

In a blender or food processor, pulse the sunflower seeds until they are crumbs.  Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to process until the mixture is smooth.  You may need to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.  Allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and then serve.  If you can't wait, go ahead and dig in!  

This dip is great on crackers, as a sandwich spread, or with fresh veggies.  This is a quick (especially once prepared), healthy snack you can feel great about eating.  

1 comment:

  1. that sounds interesting! we usually snack on carrots with hummus so this would be a good change! thanks for the idea! -Colleen