About this recipe:Few foods can be healthier than raw vegetable sticks, so make the most of them by serving them with tempting low-fat dips for a snack or instead of a formal first course. Or, for a light lunch, these quantities will serve 4. You could also offer a selection of fruit and warm pitta bread for dipping, as well as vegetables.
55 g (2 oz) fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp pine nuts
250 g (9 oz) plain low-fat bio yogurt
Fresh herb dip
170 g (6 oz) fromage frais
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely snipped fresh chives
1 tsp tarragon vinegar
Italian-style tomato dip
55 g (2 oz) sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed)
85 g (3 oz) cottage cheese
85 g (3 oz) plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
salt and pepper
450 g (1 lb) mixed vegetable crudités, such as baby carrots, courgette sticks, baby sweetcorn (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute), green beans (blanched for 1 minute), pepper strips, chicory leaves and broccoli florets.
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Method Prep:55min › Ready in:55min
For the pesto-yogurt dip, use a pestle and mortar to crush the basil, garlic and pine nuts to a paste. Work in the yogurt a spoonful at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add seasoning to taste. Alternatively, purée all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill until required.
For the fresh herb dip, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Cover tightly and chill until required.
For the Italian-style tomato dip, place the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover them. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are plump and tender. Drain the tomatoes well, then pat them dry and finely chop them.
Purée the cottage cheese with the yogurt in a food processor or blender. Alternatively, press the cheese through a sieve and stir in the yogurt. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the tomatoes. Cover and chill until required.
Just before serving the Italian-style tomato dip, finely shred the basil and stir in with seasoning to taste.
Serve the bowls of dips on a large platter with the crudités arranged around them.
Some more ideas
There is a wide choice of vegetables for making crunchy, delicious crudités. For example, try celery or cucumber sticks, whole radishes, baby plum tomatoes halved lengthways, small cauliflower florets (raw or briefly cooked) and baby new potatoes cooked until tender.
Pine nuts are rich in a variety of minerals: magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper. * Dairy products such as yogurt, fromage frais and cottage cheese are valuable sources of calcium. This mineral is essential for the structure of bones and teeth, which contain 99% of all calcium in the body.