A flavorful cheese dip that is rich, creamy and - at least somewhat - healthy?
It's not as hard as you might think.
There are plenty of reduced-fat, creamy ingredients available, some good, some not so much. The key to success when using them is knowing which to use when and, just as important, what to blend them with.
Creamy foods, to put it simply, get their luxurious flavors and textures primarily from all the fat they contain. So when you start to reduce the fat, you have to replace it with something to give your mouth a similarly satisfying experience.
In most cases, it's best to avoid the completely fat-free creamy ingredients because they are made entirely of stabilizers and lack any of the flavor and texture that even a small amount of fat brings to the party.
This tangy Gorgonzola and chive dip is a perfect example of how to best take advantage of reduced-fat products.
Its creamy base is made from reduced-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat mayonnaise (which is thickened with starches rather than extra egg yolks). But the secret here is what gets added into this lighter base.
A modest amount of full-fat, full-flavored creamy Gorgonzola cheese is blended in along with tangy lemon juice, Champagne vinegar and chopped fresh chives. The resulting dip gets all the reduced-fat benefits of its lighter ingredients, plus all the fantastic flavor of the sweet and pungent Gorgonzola.
If blue cheeses aren't your thing, you can easily substitute a pungent goat or sheep's milk feta or even grated Parmesan with equally tasty results.
Tangy Gorgonzola and Chive Dip
Start to finish: 15 minutes
8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons milk
1⁄4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Champagne or white wine vinegar
3⁄4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese (41⁄4 ounces)
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh chives
Ground black pepper, to taste
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, milk, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice and vinegar. Pulse until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add Gorgonzola cheese, chives and pepper, then pulse until chunky-smooth.
Makes about 11⁄2 cups or 12 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
Nutrition information per 2 tablespoon serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 99 calories; 74 calories from fat (75 per cent of total calories); 8 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 21 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 0 g fibre; 238 mg sodium.