When eaten raw, vegetables are a primary source of low-calorie, low-fat nutrients. For some, a bit of encouragement is needed to consume the recommended three to five servings per day. One of the best ways to enhance vegetables and increase their palatability is to eat them with vegetable dipping sauce. There are a wide variety of dipping sauces that complement vegetables and range from creamy and mild to hot and spicy.
One of the primary condiments used in popular creamy vegetable dips such as ranch style sauces is mayonnaise. While a favorite for vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower and celery, mayonnaise-based dipping sauces tend to increase the fat content of the vegetable serving. Low-fat creamy vegetable dipping sauces can be made by using healthier low-fat substitutes like yogurt in place of mayonnaise and sour cream and fat-free milk in place of high-fat buttermilk. In vegetable dipping sauce that call for sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese, use the reduced fat or fat-free versions of the ingredient.
While ranch-style dipping sauce is popular, thinking in terms of complementary flavors can result in a wider variety of sauce selection. Ingredients like soy sauce and hummus create new flavors for dipping. Soy sauce is a good base ingredient in dips for vegetables commonly found in Asian dishes such as bell peppers, broccoli and snow peas. Hummus, which is made from garbanzo beans, is rich in fiber, low in fat and is a nice complement to celery and cauliflower. Adding different spices, such as garlic, cayenne pepper or ginger, is another way to add variety to vegetable dipping sauces.
Whether the goal of selected vegetable dipping sauce is to encourage veggie snacking or to create the ultimate party platter, having a variety of dips is always a good choice. Many veggie dips complement fresh vegetables as well as chips and crackers. In fact some dips, such as salsa, that are traditionally reserved for chips are also good with vegetables. If planning a party platter, select a dip that complements a variety of snack foods like pretzels, tortilla chips and crackers as well as vegetables. For kid-friendly vegetable dipping sauces, choose milder flavors or use ones with peanut butter or cheese as the primary ingredient.
Recipes for vegetable dipping sauce can be found in cookbooks that include appetizers and sauces, as well as from a variety of recipe websites online. Experiment with different stir-ins for added flavoring like onion and garlic. Keep in mind the added fat and calories of dipping sauces when choosing vegetables as a healthy snack.