9 April 2012

Pea, mint & chilli dip - what a low calorie winner!

Fresh, sweet, hot and minty gorgeousness - that's good for you!
We appear to have developed a routine in our house, whereby on a Friday evening the two chaps (hubby and son & heir) pull out a bag of Sensations crisps and some flavour of Dorito (respectively) and get tucked in to half the bag, along with some sort of beverage or another (age dependent, usually!).  The other half disappears on the Saturday night.

I found myself slipping into this routine initially.  I'd get myself a bag of Pretzels (as they were baked, not fried, it felt better), but soon I'd have moved on to a bag of Kettle Chips (totally gorgeous - but oh, so bad for you!).  All this had to stop.

However, I felt left out.  There I'd be, surrounded by munching and crunching people all devouring snacks that I liked and - obesity aside for a moment - I'd have been very happy to have joined in with the devouring.

Pitta bread - add olive oil & sea salt & bake in the oven
So I decided I'd have to find something else other than opening a bag of crisps or corn chips.  I've been through the hummus, taramasalata (didn't realise quite how fattening THAT was!), tzatziki list and paired them up with crispbread, carrot, apple, pear, celery, cauliflower, cucumber - anything that it's possible to make a crudite out of, I've done it.

This last weekend, I realised that we had a pack of pitta bread too many and remembered the Cheesy Pitta Breads that I made just recently.  Hmmmn.  If I didn't sprinkle cheese all over them, but just sprinkle with a little olive oil and sea salt, they wouldn't be too bad calorifically.  What I needed to find, was a super-low calorie dip to go with them.

Enter the Pea, mint & chilli Dip.  Using fat-free natural yoghurt, this dip is so innocent it almost has a halo around it.  In fact, if it wasn't for the natural evilness of the red chilli involved, I am sure the halo would be a definite.  Again, it is a recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine, that I can't seem to find on their website.  However, the magazine gives the calorific value as being in the range of 70 calories per serving - which is just brilliant.

Now, I love every ingredient in this dip (which always helps).  I used petit pois (tiny baby peas, for those as don't know) as that was all we had at the time and I am sure it was improved slightly for their use.  Petit pois are so intensely sweet, that they provide a fine foil for the dairy yoghurt, the fresh mint and the heat of the chilli.

I divided the end product up into two helpings - one each for Friday & Saturday - and didn't feel left out at all.  In fact, son & heir was very definitely coveting my snacks and managed to whoofle off with more than one of the pitta dippers, duly dipped!  The dip didn't object to being left until the following day (sometimes they can split slightly, or noticeably deteriorate in other ways) and was just as fresh and lovely.

Eaten with vegetable and fruit crudites instead of the pitta bread, I reckon this one is a total winner for anyone who wants to nibble whilst watching a film - or even healthy nibbles for a party.

PEA MINT & CHILLI DIP   (makes sufficient for two helpings over two days)

Ingredients :

200g defrosted petit pois or ordinary frozen peas
50g fat free natural or greek yoghurt
juice of half a lemon
half a tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp mint leaves
half a small red chilli (or more, depending on the heat of the chilli & how hot you like it), chopped finely.

Method :

1.  Place the peas, yoghurt, lemon juice, cumin, mint and chilli into a food processor.

2.  Whizz until the dip achieves the texture you prefer.  You can add more yoghurt, lemon juice, mint or chilli at this stage.  Add a little salt & pepper half way through.

3.  Taste for seasoning and if you're happy with the results, decant into a bowl.

4.  Select your choice of dipping material (carrot & cucumber batons, apple or pear slices, wedges of pitta bread), sit down and be smug as all around you wish they had some too.



  1. Love this dip, love the bowl and love the post and the fact that is is LOW cal! Happy Easter Jenny! xx Karen

    1. So you, pretty much, loved it all then Karen? *laughing* AHA! It was you who has a bowl that is a similar shape, just with different patterns on it. I could remember commenting on someone's blog about the bowls, but not who it was! :)


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