Protein Dip for Endless Afternoons

You may be familiar with the 3 o’clock slump. It’s a terrible time of day. It’s when you realize that scavenging through the insulated bag and surreptitiously scarfing down your lunch at 10:30 am was a very bad idea indeed. You consider, and reject, and consider, and reject, and consider whether or not you have the desire to trek across the office for a mephitic cup of lukewarm coffee.  (And reject — trust me).  The 3 o’clock slump is the time when you can actually feel another hair follicle turning gray, your co-workers and customers are irritating you beyond lucid reason, and you could really, REALLY use a snack.

When I go to work, every day I pack about six Tupperware containers into my bag. There are usually two for breakfast, one for my morning snack, a container or two for lunch, my afternoon snack, my emergency snack….You guys, I really like my healthy snacks.

The thing is, when the clock approaches 3pm and I’m in imminent danger of turning into a howling werewolf, perfectly cubed honeydew melon just does not cut it. And hey, helpful Spark People, neither does A GODDAMNED APPLE. You know what I don’t need? To eat my snack and then consider whether or not I might gnaw my way through my office furniture before the day is done.

Enter protein. Ah, delicious protein. I tend to make a lot of bean dips (as you may have noticed from the archives), which are full of protein, fiber and flavor to keep me satisfied in both body and spirit. My daughter loves hummus with all the ardour of a toddler who is 1/4 Lebanese, so that tends to be my go-to, but once in a while I need something that is more of a treat, and which can be eaten with fruit as well as with vegetables. I used to make a quick dip with peanut butter, honey and Greek yogurt, but since my current workplace is vehemently peanut-free, I’ve been experimenting with peanut butter substitutes instead, like Sunbutter. This dip is perfect to pack for lunches at your kids’ school, or anywhere else that is peanut- and treenut-free.

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Sunbutter Protein Dip

serves 8; keeps well in the fridge, sealed, for about a week

  • 1 can (14 oz) navy beans *
  • 1/2 cup Sunbutter **
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sesame oil
  • salt, to taste

* Navy beans have a delicate and not-so-beany flavour and liquefy into a fairly thin and somewhat fluid puree. If you prefer, you can use white kidney beans or Cannellini. Chickpeas and Great Northern beans are perfectly acceptable but you will want to puree them well to avoid any graininess and add a bit of water to thin out the texture which can be firm.

** Sunbutter is made of ground sunflower seeds (with a few additives) and is a great substitute for peanut butter if you are looking for something hypoallergenic. If you prefer, your favourite nut  butter can be used instead. Almond butter works particularly well here.

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Rinse the beans under cold running water and drain them well.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth. Many canned beans have a moderate to high sodium content already and you are unlikely to need any additional salt, but by all means, season to taste if you feel the yen.

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With a base of heart healthy white beans and a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt, this dip packs a protein punch when you need it the most. With a little bit of sweet cinnamon and a dash of sesame oil to pull through the toasty flavour, this is the perfect love child of hummus and cinnamon butter. I tend to stick to my favourite dippers, celery and apple slices, but pretzel sticks or carrots would be equally welcome.

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When the clock is ticking endlessly away, I suggest reaching for the protein if you want to power through. Because, hey, nobody likes the hangry guy in the cubicle next door.

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  • Erica Prince

    SOLD! I’m allergic to nuts (…and sesame, so maybe I’ll sub out the sesame oil for something else) – my go-to PB substitute is Wowbutter (soynut butter) since it seems to behave nicely in baked goods and doesn’t separate into oil/grout layers if I forget about it for a month. A high-protein and tasty dip will be an excellent snack in the coming months, I suspect. And if I eat it while trying to nurse the baby and some falls on his forehead, I will have no shame licking it off. Right? Right.