Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner healthy is tricky but not impossible for most people; easy swap outs of grains, adding more fresh vegetables, and using healthy sources of protein is becoming mainstream. However, when it comes to snacks, all good intentions go out the window once hunger is burning a hole in your stomach in the afternoon. You are happy to grab the first thing crossing your path: a muffin, a bag of chips or a chocolate bar.
Healthy snacks are not easy, as you can’t often find a packaged healthy snack, but with a little preparation, healthy snacks can be an easy part of your daily routine.
The best snacks are fruit and vegetables. An apple is nature’s easiest snack packaged neatly in its own skin to throw in your handbag. I carry one with me every day. Also oranges or bananas are super easy. If you have some extra time, wash grapes or berries or chop up some vegetables and put them in a snack container.
Most of the time, just a fruit or a vegetable stick just doesn’t cut it to make you feel full and fueled. I hear you! A banana by itself on a really empty stomach might raise your blood sugar so quickly that you feel yourself crash and burn just a few minutes later. I like adding some healthy fats (nuts, avocado, nut butters) or protein (especially beans) to my snacks to prolong digestion and give me a steady rise of energy. For fruit that might mean some almond butter on my banana or I pair vegetable sticks with a bean or nut based dip. That’s how this minty pea dip came about. The peas make this dip a little chunky and give it some texture. The macadamia nuts make the dip creamy and smooth. If you can’t find any raw macadamia nuts, switch them out to cashew nuts instead. The dip tastes best if you give it at least 30 minutes in the fridge after preparation so all the flavors can marry each other. But if you are in a hurry and desperately want to eat, go ahead and indulge right away!
Preparation time: 40 minutes (but only 5 minutes of this is hands on)
Cooking time: 10 minutes for peas
Cooling time: 30 minutes
For about ¾ cups:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- ½ cup raw macadamia nuts (or cashew nuts)
- 20 mint leaves, no stalk
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp water or more if needed
- 1 garlic clove (optional)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Once water is bubbling, add the peas and cook for 5 minutes (about 10 minutes if the peas are frozen). They should be soft with a slight bite to them. Then drain and let cool for 30 minutes.
Put macadamia nuts in the food processor and process until smooth for 15 seconds on high.
Add the peas, mint leaves, lemon juice, water, and garlic if you would like to use it. Process for 1 minute until smooth. You may need to stop the food processor in between, scrape down the mixture, and start the food processor up again.
Next, while the blade is running, drizzle in the olive oil and process for 2 minutes until smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick and the blades are not moving well.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The dip keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make a bigger batch for a few snacks.
Bonus note: I usually carry small tupperware containers with dip in my bag. However, if I am traveling - like on a plane - and don't want to carry the container with me for the rest of the trip, I will use a small snack sized zip lock bag instead and squeeze the dip out. Perfect little snack on the go!