Snacks are my kryptonite and dissolve any bit of willpower I possess, especially when I’m having a glass of wine (or two). So the other night, when getting ready to have a couple of friends over for a drink (or two) and some post-dinner appetizers, I decided that I really wanted to put together a spread that would satisfy the urge to munch, but also not undo all the hard work I’ve been putting into clean eating. Not to mention the hard work my friend has been committing to her own weight loss journey, of which she has already lost almost 40 pounds in just 4 months! My usual tapas spread includes 5 different kinds of cheeses, crackers, prosciutto, and salami, but I wanted this one to be free of guilt. So between a couple of fresh, homemade dips and lots of fresh fruits and veggies, I pulled together a spread that I think even Gwyenth would approve of. Here’s how I did it.
A Good Mix Of Fresh Ingredients, Both Savory & Sweet 1 of 5
With 2 homemade dips as my starting point, I focused on layering dipping ingredients that would complement both flavors, and offer a bit of freshness, and crunchiness, both important when you're craving snacks. I made a simple guacamole dip with avocados, freshly squeezed lime juice, cilantro, and sea salt. I also whipped up Gwyenth's Yogurt and Cucumber Dip, made with goats milk yogurt, cucumbers, and freshly chopped herbs. Both are ridiculously easy, yet both completely satisfying in the savory department. They leave you feeling fulfilled but not stuffed. Served alongside pita chips and gluten free corn chips, your snack woes are resolved.
Nuts & Olives 2 of 5
There's a reason why olives and nuts are common bar food across the world; they satisfy the need for both crunch and sodium when having a cocktail. I served raw almonds soaked in water, to aid in digestion, and pitted green olives soaked in lightly salted water instead of olive oil. I was worried that our guests would notice the almonds had a bit of a softer texture to them because of the soaking, but no one said a word and they ate every last bit.
Something Sweet 3 of 5
To satisfy the sweet tooth, I put out some fresh fruits, including grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and some sliced apricots. I found a vegan chocolate dip also -- however, to be honest, it was more like a pudding than a thick creamy dip, and no one really touched it. I layered in some dried crystallized ginger, golden raisins, coconut slices that were lightly sweetened, and pepitas, which made a really nice compliment to the fresh fruits. Again, it all got eaten up in less than an hour!
Don’t Forget the Veggies 4 of 5
Honestly, when preparing veggie platters, I always go overboard and serve way too much, and way too much variety. I simply ran out of time, so I put out 2 veggies you usually don't eat everyday; fresh red pepper slices and sliced Persian cucumbers. One strong flavor and one mild, but both great with each dip I served.
Satisfy the Need To Snack Without the Guilt 5 of 5
I was, quite honestly, really hesitant about how well-received my version of tapas would be taken. Void of any hard and soft cheeses, buttery crackers, and salty cured meats, I had some doubts that my friends would enjoy this lighter fare. But I discovered that these drastic swaps weren't really that drastic at all. When one wants a snack, it doesn't always have to be riddled with salt, preservatives, sugar, and fat to be satisfying. All we really need is some crunch, a bit of salt, and a good dip, and we're all good!