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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy Spinach Dip - Herbalife Recipe Makeover

Hello. I'm Susan Bowerman, Registered Dietician for Herbalife. If you enjoy spending a little time in the kitchen and playing with recipes, you can have a lot of fun with recipe makeovers. Today, I'm going to do a makeover on a popular high calorie appetizer a cheesy spinach dip.

When you're looking at a recipe to do-over, you'll want to first focus in on the high calorie ingredients which are usually high in fat. Then, you'll want to see if you can either reduce the amount, or swap in a healthier substitute. The other thing you want to try to do is see if you can increase the amount of some of the healthier ingredients like vegetables or even add some healthy ingredients that aren't in the original version.

This spinach dip is traditionally made with cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and very little spinach. For this entire recipe, we're looking at nearly 1400 calories, and more than a half a cup of fat. And that's not counting the calories or fat in the bread or chips that you dip into it.

For my makeover, I did three things. I swapped the high fat ingredients for lower fat ones, I increased the amount of spinach, and I reduced the amount of parmesan cheese.

So here's what we are going to do I'm going to start with some plain non-fat yogurt which makes a great substitute for the sour cream that's in the original recipe because its creamy and its smooth.

The other thing I'm going to add is some low-fat ricotta cheese and I'm using this because it's mild and it's creamy and this makes a good replacement for the cream cheese and for the mayonnaise. I'm going to start to stir these together and I'm going to add some lemon juice. And what that lemon juice is going to is replace some of that tanginess that's in the mayonnaise and also help smooth it out.

Just give it a little stir until it's nice and smooth and now I am going to season it and I just do this really simply just a little bit of salt and fresh pepper. And then lastly I'm going season it with fresh garlic and if you don't want to use fresh you can use garlic powder you can use some onion powder.

The last thing I did was I reduced the amount of parmesan cheese and that's because the original recipe called for a full cup and I am just using a quarter of a cup. Which is really plenty because parmesan cheese is strongly flavored. And the last thing I am going to add is my spinach. All I did was add some chopped frozen spinach and what I did is I thawed it out and I just put in into a strainer and just kind of pressed it a little with a spoon against a strainer so I could get most of the liquid out of it.

And I'm going to gently stir this up because my bowl is a little bit small. And that's it. Now what you might notice is that this is a lot larger volume of dip than I had in the original recipe and that's another way that I've been able to reduce the calories but the most important thing is that the calories in this recipe this total recipe is about 500. And remember my original recipe was 1400 but I also have more so we have less per table spoon less per serving.

The other thing that is different about this one is that I'm not going to be serving it with chips or bread. I am going to serve it with some raw carrots and some raw cucumber and have it as a dip that way.

Now I'll be honest with you. Is this as creamy as the original? No. Is it as cheesy as the original? No. But does it taste great and will it satisfy your craving when you want some spinach dip but don't want all the calories? Absolutely.

Keep in mind that the goal of a recipe makeover isn't to make the new recipe indistinguishable from the original. What you're trying to do is shave some calories from a dish you love, and make it healthier so you can enjoy it with a lot less guilt. And don't be surprised if you find you like your new version even better. For more tips on how to make over your recipes at home, take a look at my blog post: "How to cut fat but keep taste in your favorite recipes" here:

For more nutrition advice from Herbalife visit or take a look at my YouTube playlist:

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