Dip, Dip, Hooray!

Everybody loves chips and dip—but not the fat and calories that come along for the ride. So ease the guilt, and get on with the party with these high-flavored, low-octane (in fat and dairy) versions.
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Dip, Dip, Hooray!

Everybody loves chips and dip—but not the fat and calories that come along for the ride. So ease the guilt, and get on with the party with these high-flavored, low-octane (in fat and dairy) versions.

While you’re at it, why not forego the fat-laden chips as well? Instead, serve crunchy fresh vegetables, herb-flavored flat breads and pita crisps. (We tested these dips with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips—and we loved ‘em.)

Scooped or spread, the following dips—roasted pepper and bean, savory eggplant “caviar,” lightenedup artichoke and seasonal maple-pumpkin—are swirled with flavor. Perfect for holiday noshing.

CREAMY MAPLE-PUMPKIN SPREAD
Makes about 1 1⁄2 cups

You’ll be surprised at how quickly this spread will disappear, especially if you serve it with sliced apples and pears.

3⁄4 cup light cream cheese
1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin
1⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin and brown sugar in electric mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended. Add syrup and cinnamon, and beat until smooth. Cover, and chill 30 minutes.

PER TABLESPOON: 31 CAL; 1G PROT; 1G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 4G CARB; 3MG CHOL; 35MG SOD;

HOT ARTICHOKE DIP
Makes about 2 1⁄2 cups

Everyone loves spinach-artichoke dip, but it’s a fat-and-calorie fiesta. Not this recipe—yet you’ll never know it.

1 12-oz. pkg. light silken tofu
2 Tbs. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
1⁄2 tsp. onion powder
1 15.5-oz. can artichoke quarters in water, drained, rinsed, chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika for dusting

Preheat oven to 400F. Purée tofu, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic and onion powder in blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to bowl.

Stir artichokes, spinach and Parmesan cheese into tofu mixture. Spoon into 8-inch glass pie dish or casserole. Bake 20 minutes. Dust with paprika; serve.

PER TABLESPOON: 16 CAL; 1G PROT; 1G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 1G CARB; 1MG CHOL; 56MG SOD;

ROASTED PEPPER AND BEAN DIP
Makes about 2 1⁄2 cups - Vegan - 30 minutes or fewer

You can’t go wrong with the combo of roasted red peppers and white beans. Serve this dip with crisp vegetables or pita crisps.

1 7-oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup light firm silken tofu (about 6 oz.)
1⁄3 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. olive oil
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 16-oz. can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained

Reserve 1⁄4 cup roasted peppers, and set aside. Place remaining peppers in food processor. Add all other ingredients, and process until smooth.

Spoon mixture into small bowl, and stir in reserved chopped peppers. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

PER TABLESPOON: 15 CAL; 1G PROT; 0.5G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 2G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 59MG SOD;

EGGPLANT “CAVIAR”
Makes about 3 cups - Vegan

This spread may be made up to two days ahead, tightly covered and chilled. Bring it to room temperature, and serve with toasted bread slices.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 firm eggplant (about 1 1⁄4 lb.), cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes (about 3⁄4 lb. total), cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1⁄4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. sugar

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, onion, garlic and salt to taste, and cook, stirring often, about 7 minutes, or until eggplant begins to brown. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes more, or until eggplant is tender. Transfer to bowl, and let cool.

Add tomatoes, basil, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend well. Serve at room temperature.

PER TABLESPOON: 11 CAL;

You can never have enough great dip recipes, says contributing editor Kathy Kingsley. These are some of her favorites.