Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bolthouse Farm Shakedowns and Dressing...Featuring Zesty Garden-Feta Dip

I recently received some great goodies from Bolthouse Farms, including two new kinds of salad dressing and a fantastic new snack. I featured the Miso Ginger Vinaigrette in my Asian Chopped Chicken salad for this month's #TheSaladBar feature, and I'm going to share a versatile and healthy dip with you in just a sec that features their new Italian Vinaigrette. It is full of bold flavor and contains 25 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving. That's 68% fewer calories and 81% less fat than regular dressing! Before I show you how I used the dressing to make a great chunky veggie dip, I want to tell you about the other fun item they sent me. New to the Texas market is their Shakedowns. It's a great way to eat more veggies! Each packet contains peeled baby carrots and big-flavor seasonings that you release into the carrots and give a shake. Every carrot is coated with either Ranch or Chile Lime seasoning, and it tastes fabulous! With only 25 calories per bag, Shakdowns make a fantastic after-work snack or lunch box addition. To show you how simple the Shakedowns are to prepare, Bolthouse created this custom video just for The Weekend Gourmet. 

Lucy and Maggie are famous now! They're my unofficial sous chefs, so I'm pretty excited to get them much-deserved attention. Shakedowns can be found in the Produce department in most large grocery chains in Texas, so I hope you'll find some and give them a try. I'm totally addicted to the Ranch flavor. about that dip recipe?
I decided to use the Italian Vinaigrette to create a healthy and versatile dip. My Zesty Garden-Feta dip is full of chunky veggies and tangy, salty feta. Just before serving, it's tossed with some of the vinaigrette and placed in a serving bowl. I served it with pita crackers for a veg-friendly football party food...but it's very versatile. It can also be used as a side salad or spooned over the top of grilled chicken or fish as a light and healthy accompaniment. It's a snap to whip up...all it takes is about 15 minutes of chopping and a few seconds to give it a quick toss with the dressing. If you have time, a couple of hours in the fridge give all the ingredients time to mingle and for some of the dressing to be absorbed. 
Dips like this are a great way to get picky adults...and small get their daily allotment of veggies in. Have fun and sub in your favorite veggies to suit your tastes. I love avocado, so I added half of a diced avocado to this salad. I loved the creaminess that it brought.

Zesty Garden-Feta Dip
a Weekend Gourmet Original
  • 1/3 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 2 thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 ounces block feta, diced 
  • 1/2 cup diced seeded tomato
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup Bolthouse Farms Italian Vinaigrette
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Place the chopped veggies and feta in a mixing bowl. Add the dressing and stir until combined. I recommend using a silicone spatula and gently folding until all ingredients are combined. By doing so, you help prevent the avocado and feta from breaking apart too much.
Step 2: Place the dip in a serving bowl. If time allows, cover the bowl and place in the fridge for an hour or two so the flavors can combine. Serve with chips or pita crackers. 
This versatile dip is high in flavor, low in fat...and delicious. With all of the rich and high-calorie party foods that I often see, this is one you can feel good about eating! The veggies, creamy avocado, tangy feta and dressing combine very well together. I hope you'll make this dip soon for your healthy-conscious and veggie-loving friends!

Disclosure: Bolthouse Farms sent me Shakedowns and dressings to facilitate this feature. I received no further compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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