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Not-So Cheesy Dip

Super Bowl 2018 is tomorrow! I love watching a good football game, but who are we kidding, I’m all about the snacks. Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest food consumption day behind Thanksgiving…yikes! So in my opinion, either you embrace it or hide in a dark hole somewhere. I’ll opt for the first option.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the little piggies in a blanket, wings, and copious amounts of dips. But I’m also a lover of trying to create spins on recipes to make them healthier…without sacrificing flavor.

I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just another dietitian showing up to the party with a “healthy” appetizer. But I kid you not, this not-so cheesy dip will leave you wanting more and gives you a nice antioxidant punch, providing you with a little extra energy to get through the whole game without dozing off. Still no promises over here (I do love my sleep).

The special ingredient to this dip is nutritional yeast. This is my first time using nutritional yeast in cooking and I foresee a lovely relationship blooming 🙂 Nutritional yeast provides a great cheesy flavor without all the saturated fat from full-fat cheese (and all the toots, am I right?).

Nutritional yeast is a nutrition powerhouse. It’s packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, and folate. Plus, it’s low in calories (only 60 calories per 1/4 cup!), saturated fat, and sugar. The cheesy flavor hints provides a great substitute for all my dairy-free friends.

Between the vitamin A-packed butternut squash and B vitamin-loaded nutritional yeast, this dip passes the nutrition panel with flying colors. Lastly, this dip is seriously so easy to make. You can’t beat 7 ingredients (not counting the water, because well, it’s water) that you throw into a food processor. Voila!

Not-So Cheesy Dip

Course Appetizer
Servings 4 people
Author Elizabeth Weber


  • 1/2 Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed I roasted a whole butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional yeast
  • 1 Chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, canned
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 6 tbsp. Water
  • 1-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, peel, seed, and cube the butternut squash. Lightly grease a baking sheet and spread the butternut squash evenly. Drizzle with the olive oil.

  2. Bake the butternut squash for 30 minutes flipping halfway through.

  3. Once the butternut squash is done, combine the squash, chipotle pepper, salt, garlic powder, cheese, nutritional yeast, and water in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add additional water until desired consistency. 

  4. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or refrigerate for later use. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe is for about 4 people (makes 1 1/4 cups), but if you are having a larger get-together, using the whole butternut squash and doubling the other ingredients will work for closer to 8 people. 

Happy noshing!


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Top 5 Healthy Superbowl Sunday Swaps

With Superbowl Sunday approaching quickly, I know many of us are starting to think about the food. Dips on dips on dips plus WINGS. But then you may also be thinking about calories or diet debunking. Yeah, my Whole 30-er’s I’m talking to you 🙂

Some sources say Americans consume up to 2,400 calories on Superbowl Sunday, while others report numbers up to 6,000 calories by the end of Superbowl Sunday. Either way, these numbers are astronomical! And the key to remember is it doesn’t have to be like this. You can have an enjoyable Superbowl Sunday by just making a few easy and healthy swaps. Trust me, these swaps are undetectable! What people don’t know won’t hurt them. Hey, it may even help them in this case.

Old Bay Hot Wings

The video link below is the Fox 17 healthy appetizer swap segment that I did right before Christmas this past December, but many of these swaps still apply so be sure to check it out! Otherwise, skip down to these healthy and simple swaps 🙂



Dip into a healthy new year

  • Healthy spinach and artichoke dip:
    • Simple swap(s):
      • Use a combination of low fat and fat-free cream cheese, as well as non-fat, plain, Greek yogurt for ~60% lower calories and ~80% less fat.
      • Double the artichoke amount for higher veggie and fiber content. Use frozen spinach for a time/convenience factor.
      • For your chicken wing dip, use the Hidden Valley Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip mix with non-fat Greek yogurt for less calories and fat.

Avoid getting nutty this Sunday…

  • Serve air-popped popcorn instead of nuts.
    • Simple swap(s):
      • This Superbowl Sunday, try serving air-popped popcorn instead of nuts. One half cup of nuts is almost 9x more calories than a half cup of popcorn.
      • Popcorn is a great whole grain snack and great source of dietary fiber.
      • Try fun, new variations of popcorn flavors, such as ginger and wasabi, chili-garlic, parmesan and truffle oil with parsley, and paprika and chili powder.

Indulge the right way—

  • Don’t let baked goods debunk your diet!
    • Simple swap(s):
      • Use unsweetened applesauce to replace half or more of your margarine, shortening, or oil in your baked goods for ~50% less calories and fat.

Don’t drink your diet away


  • Calories can add up from beverages, not just food alone. Keep an eye on your added calories from alcohol and high-calorie drinks.
    • Simple swap(s):
      • Ok people, I know you are going to drink and who are we kidding, there isn’t a healthy substitute for beer (unless you enjoy light beer aka water), but let’s keep count at the very least. If you won’t limit yourself to one or two drinks for health, at least do it for safety purposes. Drive safely!
      • Make a wine spritzer using 3 oz white wine and 2 oz club soda or carbonated water to keep your head clear during a Superbowl Sunday party and to cut back on ~40% or ~50 calories.

Get creative with your balls (meatballs of course)—

  • When making meatballs, mix half of your ground beef with cooked lentils to lower calories and fat content.
    • Simple swap(s):
      • Reduce the amount of ground beef by half and add cooked lentils in your meatball recipe to provide up to 20% fewer calories and ~40% less fat.
      • If convenience or time is a factor, check to see if there are pre-cooked lentils available in the produce section at the grocery store.

Spiced Beef and Lentil Meatballs:

Prep time: 20 mins, Total time: 50 mins, Servings: 12-14 meatballs

  • Ingredients:
    • ¾ lb (341 g) lean ground beef
    • 1 cup (250 ml) cooked green lentils
    • ½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped onion
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ cup (125 ml) bread crumbs
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme
    • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
    • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
    • ½ tsp (2 ml) ground black pepper
    • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) canola oil
  • Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
    2. Combine all of the ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl and gently mix until combined.
    3. Form into golf ball sized meatballs, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Arrange on a tray. Should make about 12-14 meatballs.
    4. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Let it warm for 30 seconds. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
    5. Arrange meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160F.