How to build a healthy mezze platter
It’s midweek, it’s hot out, and just the thought of turning the oven on is enough to make you sweat. Enter the mezze platter: A delicious, easy-to-make array of cold, filling finger foods. While its origins are in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tradition of serving small bites before the main meal, with a little planning, the mezze platter can make a hearty lunch or summertime dinner that easily fits into Slimming World’s generous, effective and healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing. Here’s how…
Start with the dip
Beans of all varieties (cannellini, navy, black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzos) are Free Foods when you’re Food Optimizing, meaning you can eat them freely to satisfy your appetite. Drain and rinse canned beans, then blend with fat-free plain yogurt and add your favorite herbs and spices. For an Italian twist, use cannellini beans as your base, then flavor with lemon juice, chopped fresh rosemary, grated garlic, and pepper. Or forgo the beans entirely and make refreshing Greek-inspired tzatziki by adding chopped cucumber and fresh dill, lemon juice, and pepper to fat-free plain yogurt. For a fruit-friendly dip, mix fat-free plain yogurt with vanilla extract and no-calorie granulated sweetener.
Add your dippers
Carrot sticks, snap peas, whole radishes, sliced cucumber, bell peppers, and fennel are just some ideas for crunchy (and super healthy!) dippers. To keep veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli crisp and colorful, use a technique known as blanching: Place them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain and rinse in cold water. For sweet dippers, try apple slices, fresh pineapple chunks, and slices of stone fruit. Arrange your fruits and veggies around the dip for pretty presentation.
To take your platter to the next level, go beyond fruit and vegetables. Halve hard-boiled eggs for a filling, protein-rich addition and add pickles (of any fat-free variety, as long as they have no added sugar) for tang. For extra heft, roll up your favourite lean deli meats or slice up some cooked skinless chicken. Finish your platter with roasted red pepper and artichoke hearts (packed in water), and grilled zucchini and eggplant.