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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Super Bowl

TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Dip Recipes, Part 2

Take the ingredients of a Greek salad and
turn it into a layered dip, served with pita
chips. Photo courtesy


Yesterday, we discussed layered dips, beginning with the layered Mexican dip, also known as a layered bean dip and seven-layer dip. We also introduced a layered Middle Eastern dip.

In Part 2, we travel beyond Mexico and the Middle East to Greece and India.

If you use a base of nonfat Greek yogurt layered with vegetables, your dip will be low in calories.



  • 2 diced cucumbers (peel if waxed)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Green bell pepper, diced
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt, seasoned with fresh dill, garlic, salt and pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (fresh tomatoes in
  • Optional layers: babaganoush (eggplant dip),
    tabbouleh (bulgur, mint, finely chopped parsley, tomatoes)
  • Basil or oregano for garnish
  • Pita chips
  • Optional: anchovies, chopped flat-leaf parsley


    1. SPREAD seasoned yogurt across the bottom of a shallow bowl.

    2. LAYER with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

    3. SPRINKLE with crumbled feta and oregano/parsley.




  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 2 cups shredded or crumbled paneer cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup chutney
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sliced naan or other Indian bread; or use pita chips

    1. BLEND together the sour cream and curry. Spread across the bottom of a shallow glass bowl, baking dish or pie plate.

    2. ADD layer of coconut and peanuts, followed by the layer of paneer cheese.

    3. BLEND cream cheese with chutney and layer on top. Sprinkle with green onions.


    A warm pizza dip. Photo courtesy See recipe below.

    4. SERVE with pieces/slices of Indian bread: chapata, naan, pappadum or whatever you can find (try an International supermarket). Or, pita chips will do nicely.


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning*
  • 1/2 cup chunky pasta/pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced pepperoni or sausage
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toasted baguette or Italian bread slices (bagel chips and pita chips also work)
  • 9″ pie plate
    *Create your own Italian seasoning with dried spices, 1/4 teaspoon each basil, marjoram and oregano plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage.


    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F (175°C).

    2. BEAT sour cream, cream cheese and Italian seasoning on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.

    3. LAYER other ingredients in the order listed.

    4. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes until heated through; top with mozzarella. Continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    5. SERVE warm with toasts.

    Here’s a recipe variation from the blog,


    You can add any ingredients to the layers that appeal to you. Some ideas:

  • Almonds, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Pesto
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Raisins or dried berries (blueberries, cranberries)
  • Red onions, finely sliced
  • Sundried tomatoes


    TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Dips, Part 1

    The original seven-layer dip recipe. Photo


    The first layered dip we encountered was the iconic layered Mexican dip, also known as a layered bean dip/refried bean dip, nacho dip, taco dip, Tex-Mex dip and five-, six- or seven-layer dip. Dipped with taco chips, it was the rage.

    Made from healthful ingredients, it may be time to add into (or back into) your repertoire, starting with Super Bowl Sunday.

    The layered dip is typically built in a glass bowl that shows off the different colors and textures of the layers: refried beans, shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, guacamole, diced tomatoes, salsa, canned green chiles, olives and shredded lettuce, with some seasonings such as taco seasoning or a dusting of cumin.

    Variations proliferated, including a bean-focused dip with whole black beans and pinto beans, with or without the refried beans layer; cubed avocado instead of guacamole; Greek yogurt instead of sour cream; cilantro and scallions, keeping the diced tomatoes and shredded romaine.

    One can regret that, after a few guests have dipped their chips, the pretty layered dish turns into an unattractive mush. If you have aesthetic standards, there are two solutions to this:

  • Make very thin layers on a flat dish (see this example of a thin layered dip)
  • Make individual flavored dip cups (use rocks glasses or plastic 4-ounce cups)
    Expand your horizons beyond Tex-Mex layered dips with today’s and tomorrow’s layered dip ideas.

    And enjoy them guilt-free: Even the Tex-Mex dip is relatively healthful, if higher in calories: The beans are protein, avocados are a great nutrition food and a top-quality brand of corn/taco chip (we like Food Should Taste Good, Garden Of Eatin’ and Rosa Mexicano) is whole grain.



    This recipe comes to us from


  • 1 tub (16 ounces) hummus (or make this hummus recipe)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (use fresh tomatoes in season)
  • 2 diced cucumbers (peel if waxed)
  • Crumbled feta
  • Diced olives
  • Basil or oregano for garnish
  • Pita chips
  • Optional ingredients: capers, sweet onions,
    chopped flat-leaf parsley

    A Middle Eastern layered dip. Photo courtesy


    1. SPREAD hummus across the bottom of a shallow bowl

    2. LAY:ER with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

    3. SPRINKLE with crumbled feta and basil/oregano.

    Do you have a favorite layered dip concept? Please share.

    And tune in tomorrow for more layered dip ideas.



    TIP OF THE DAY: A Slow Cooker For Entertaining

    Beef stew stays warm to the last spoonful in
    Cuisinart’s Multicooker. Photo courtesy Sur La


    If you’re old enough to remember the original Crock Pot, you know how far slow cookers have come in functionality and aesthetic appeal. Today’s gleaming slow cookers can go from kitchen counter to dining table. And they do more than slow cook. Even the highly rated Crock Pot has gone glam, in gleaming stainless steel.

    Slow cookers have been a boon to people who don’t have the time or the desire to spend hours in the kitchen. Just add the ingredients to the unit, press a button and leave. After cooking, the appliance keeps food at the perfect serving temperature until you’re ready to eat it.

    But the slow cooker has evolved: Welcome the multicooker.

    The Cuisinart Multicooker does everything the stove will: It sears, browns, sautés, simmers, steams and slow cooks, all in one pot. It will keep food warm for up to 24 hours. And the parts clean easily in the dishwasher.


    For food cooked in conventional pots and pans, a slow cooker serves as a chafing dish or hot tray, keeping food warm. As you plan your Super Bowl fare, consider how you could use it for chicken, chili, stew or other hot fare.

    If you’re new to slow cooking, once you get the hang of it you’ll find that it does much more than you ever imagined:

  • Barbecue, including pulled chicken and pulled pork, ribs and wings

  • Breads
  • Braises
  • Casseroles
  • Chilis
  • Chutneys, jams and fruit butters
  • Desserts, from puddings to cakes
  • Eggs and other breakfast foods
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Meat loaf and meat balls
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Rice and other grains
  • Roasts, including pot roast (for a full roast you
    need an oval shape slow cooker and a capacity of 6
    quarts or larger)

    Crock Pot today: The company that started it all still makes one of the best slow cookers. Photo courtesy Cuisinart.

  • Sides
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Tex-Mex favorites (enchiladas, tacos)
    Pick up a cookbook, such as Slow Cooker Revolution, and start planning the menu!


    The original Crock Pot, introduced in 1971 by the Rival Company, was developed as an electric bean cooker. It was originally called the Beanery. Earlier, the Rival Company had introduced the electric can opener.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: Monday Morning Quarterbacking The Super Bowl Food

    This got buried under zillions of emails, so we didn’t read it before the Super Bowl. But we find it just as interesting the day after.

    The “Big Game” has become much more than a football game: It’s the second biggest day for food consumption in the United States, after Thanksgiving.

    So, says Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and editor of, here are the eye-opening exercise equivalents for some favorite football snacks, along with Dr. Platkin’s recommended alternatives. While football season is over, snack time never is.

  • THREE FRIED MAC AND CHEESE BALLS = RUNNING 249 FOOTBALL FIELDS. At more than 500 calories per ball, made with peanut oil, egg, cheese, butter, flour, macaroni, milk and more, what do you expect? Fit Tip: Try baking, adding veggies, and using whole-wheat pasta and low-fat cheese.

    Are you kidding: 68 minutes playing “catch” to burn off three pigs in blankets? Photo courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

  • THREE PIGS IN BLANKETS = PLAYING CATCH WITH A FOOTBALL FOR 68 MINUTES (NONSTOP). Hot dogs wrapped in a crescent or biscuit dough adds up: Each one you pop in your mouth is 66 calories. Fit Tip: Low calorie franks (fat free), with low-fat crescent dough.
  • THREE SLICES OF PIZZA HUT MEAT LOVER’S PIZZA = 1,229 MINUTES OF TEBOWING. That’s more than 20 hours of continuous praying to burn off those calories. Each slice is loaded with high-calorie meats, including pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon and sausage. Fit Tip: Try cheeseless pizza with plenty of veggies—broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or even artichoke hearts—on top. Also, avoid personal pan and stuffed-crust pizzas: The thick, oily crust equals added fat and calories.
  • SIX BOTTLES OF BUDWEISER BEER = DOING “THE WAVE” 4,280 TIMES. Beer and football may go together, but keep in mind, each beer is 145 calories. Fit Tip: Planning on having a few bottles? Try Beck’s Premier Light at only 64 calories per 12-ounce bottle, or MGD Light, 64 calories, Michelob Ultra or Natural Light at 95, or you can go very low with Budweiser Select for 55. Best bet is to sample a few light beers before the game to see which ones you prefer.
  • BLIMPIE’S SUPER STACKED BLIMPIE BEST = 313 MINUTES OF CHANTING, POINTING AND WAVING A FOAM-HAND NUMBER ONE. This calorie-laden sub includes cholesterol-filled slow-cured ham, salami, cappacola, prosciuttini and provolone. Fit Tip: Go for low-fat cheese and skip the mayo. If you’re buying at Blimpie, try the Deli Trio Sub, a low-cal combination of ham, oven-roasted turkey and roast beef at 330 calories for a 6-inch sub.
  • ONE DEVILED EGG = 12 MINUTES OF CHEERLEADING. Deviled eggs are made with mayo, and mayo is very high in calories. Fit Tip: Use low-fat mayo, or how about just hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce?
  • ONE SLICE OF HOOSIER SUGAR CREAM PIE = 58 MINUTES OF CLIMBING THE STADIUM STAIRS. It’s been said that this is the unofficial state pie of Indianapolis (where the Super Bowl is being held this year). The name says it all. “Sugar cream pie” is made with sugar, flour, whipping cream, milk and butter in a pie shell. Fit Tip: Go to or and put “healthy cream pie” in the search box.
  • ONE KFC EXTRA CRISPY CHICKEN BREAST AND ONE EXTRA CRISPY DRUMSTICK = 203 TOUCHDOWN DANCES IN THE END ZONE. That’s a lot of dancing! Deep-fried chicken is very high in calories, especially the extra crispy kind. Fit Tip: Bake skinless chicken and use whole-grain bread crumbs.
  • APPLEBEE’S CHILI CHEESE NACHOS = 159 MINUTES OF PLAYING PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL. That’s nonstop time. Just like beer, nachos and the Big Game go hand-in-hand. Fit Tip: Make your own nachos with low-fat cheese and black beans. Use salsa and make your own whole-wheat pita chips and you’ll be even better off.
  • TEN LAY’S CLASSIC POTATO CHIPS WITH KRAFT FRENCH ONION DIP = 134 MINUTES DANCING TO MADONNA DURING THE HALFTIME SHOW. Dancing is actually great exercise (if you don’t get ill from all the food you’ve eaten already). Each chip is 10.5 calories, and every dip of dip is 60 calories. Fit Tip: Try Popchips, and make your dip with low-fat mayo or non-fat yogurt.
  • FIVE TOSTITOS RESTAURANT-STYLE TORTILLA CHIPS WITH 7-LAYER DIP = 110 MINUTES CLEANING THE STADIUM AFTER THE GAME. Each chip has 20 calories (yes, 20!) and 1 tablespoon of the seven-layer dip is approximately 70 calories. Fit Tip: The answer is salsa: It’s very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you’re eating the chips, have one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them. Make sure you have to get up each time you want more than six chips.
  • ONE PIZZA HUT CRISPY BONE-IN WING BUFFALO BURNIN HOT WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING = FACE PAINTING 8 WILD FANS. You ever see some of the fans who get their faces painted? Traditional wings are deep fried, not to mention the super high-calorie ranch or blue cheese dressing. Fit Tip: You can easily make the wings yourself. Remove the skin (it saves lots of calories), soak them in hot sauce or roll them in egg whites, dip them in bread crumbs and bake them in the oven. Skip the blue cheese dressing, which has about 305 calories for 4 tablespoons. Dip them in hot sauce instead.
  • ONE BACON CHEDDAR JALAPENO POPPER = 60 MINUTES PERFORMING IN A MARCHING BAND. Those poppers are made with cream cheese, bacon and Cheddar cheese. Each one will cost you a bit of marching. Fit Tip: Use turkey bacon, low-fat cream cheese and Cheddar cheese. Bake, don’t fry.
  • JUST ONE PEANUT = COACHING FOOTBALL FOR A LITTLE OVER A MINUTE. One peanut has about 5.5 calories. A handful, or about one ounce (30 peanuts), is 166 calories. Fit Tip: Nuts are healthy, but they’re very high in calories. Don’t keep a huge bowl in front of you. And try to eat one at a time; don’t shove a handful in your mouth all at once.


    RECIPE: Cocoa Habanero Wings ~ The Best Hot Wing Recipe?

    Here’s the wing recipe that THE NIBBLE’s chef Johnny Gnall will be enjoying during the Super Bowl:

    “Wings are one of those things that people just get excited about,” says Chef Johnny. They seem synonymous with sharing, partying and enjoying with friends. Any time I can remember eating wings, it was with others, digging in and getting messy.

    “Best of all, wings can be very, very delicious. Everyone has his preference: teriyaki or buffalo, spicy or mild, from the spot down the block or the one across town. When wings are good, they’re really good, and even when they’re bad… they’re still really not that bad.

    “More often than not, when people want to get down on some wings, they grab their phone to order them. But wings are way easy to make at home; and making them yourself allows you ultimate control. Even with a standard recipe, you can adjust sweetness and heat so that it’s just right for you.


    Even if your team loses, these wings are a winner. Photo by Lauri Patterson | IST.


    “This recipe, however, is not a ‘standard’ one. It has a wonderful earthiness to it and a good amount of heat, and it’s not like any wing you’ve ever tasted. They can be made in advance and they will blow some minds.”



  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño jam (any jam can be used; a spicy jam is best if you want more
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons habanero chile (finely minced habanero with seeds works, as does jarred
    habanero paste)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt, or to taste
  • 12 chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

    1. Combine all ingredients except wings and butter; then add wings and toss in the sauce to thoroughly coat. This is best done with your hands so you can really work the sauce into the wings.

    2. Place everything, including as much of the sauce as you can, into a sealable bag and refrigerate overnight (a few hours is fine, but longer marinating is better).

    3. Lay the marinated wings on a greased cookie sheet, but reserve the excess sauce in the bag. Combine it with 2 tablespoons of melted butter by whisking the two together over low heat.

    4. Bake the wings at 350°F for one hour, basting with the butter sauce every 15 minutes.

    Once you taste these wings and see the reactions from others who do, they may very well become a regular request at future gatherings. Given the ease of the recipe and the deliciousness of its results, feel free to volunteer for “wing duty” when you’re invited to parties.

    Even if your team disappoints, your wings will not.



    RECIPE: Sweet And Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

    Spicy Thai chicken wings. Photo courtesy
    Spice Market | New York.


    According to the National Chicken Council’s 2012 Wing Report, more than 1.25 billion wing portions will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend.

    That’s more than 100 million pounds of wings!

    If you haven’t decided on a wing recipe, here’s one from Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market restaurant in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

    Anyone who loves fried chicken and Thai flavors will love this dish. It’s a Thai-seasoned version of wings, coated with a sweet-and-sour sauce after being fried to a crisp.

    The recipe below makes 4 servings. You can multiply the recipe to make a large batch for a party.





  • 1/4 cup grape seed, corn or other neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried red finger chiles
  • 1/2 fresh red Thai chile
  • 1/4-inch piece fresh galangal, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/8 teaspoon shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 pounds chicken mini drumsticks from chicken wings, separated at joint
  • 1 ripe mango, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Grapeseed, corn or other neutral oil for deep-frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

    1. To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until they become a deep golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil.

    2. Simmer, stirring, for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Purée carefully until smooth, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and set aside until ready to use.

    3. To make the wings: Put the soy sauce, lime juice, nam pla, garlic, chiles and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cool completely, then pour over the mini drumsticks in a shallow baking dish and toss to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

    4. Meanwhile, toss the mango cubes with the salt in a small bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

    5. When ready to cook, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a heavy, deep pot and heat to 375°F. Remove the drumsticks from the marinade and pat dry. Combine the cornstarch and rice flour on a shallow plate. Dredge the chicken in the mixture, then carefully put in the pot. Do not overcrowd; work in batches if necessary. Cook until crisp, brown, and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil’s temperature.

    6. Drain on paper towels and transfer to the bowl of hot-and-sour sauce. Toss well to coat and transfer to the serving plates. Arrange the salted mango in a little mound next to the chicken, garnish with the mint leaves, and serve.



    SUPER BOWL: “Hail Berry” Punch

    Whip up a pitcher of punch. Photo courtesy
    Belvedere Vodka.


    If you want to mix Super Bowl cocktails by the pitcherful—making it easier to refill glasses—here’s a tasty seasonal punch recipe from Belvedere Vodka.

    For this occasion, it’s been renamed:



  • 10 ounces vodka
  • 15 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2.5 ounces lemon juice
  • 3.5 ounces Aperol (you can substitute Campari—see below)
  • 5 ounces orange juice
  • Dash bitters
  • Dash simple syrup
  • Garnish: orange and lemon slices


    Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir. Garnish with orange slices and lemons.



    Aperol is an Italian apéritif created in Padua in 1919, now owned and produced by Campari. Its ingredients include bitter orange, cinchona, gentian and rhubarb, among others.

    Aperol looks, tastes and smells much like Campari, another fruit-and-herb apéritif; although it has an alcohol content of less than half of Campari (11% for Aperol, 20.5%, to 28% for Campari, depending on the country in which it is sold).

    In 1950, the apéritif took off with the creation of the Spritz cocktail. Building on the popularity of the white wine and soda spritzer, Aperol’s recipe is born: 1.25 ounces Aperol, 3 ounces Prosecco and a splash of soda.


    Aperol on the rocks with a slice of orange.
    Photo courtesy Terence Carter.


    SUPER BOWL & BEYOND: Lentil Chips & Hummus Chips

    Hummus chips and lentil chips are each
    available in three flavors. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    How many different ways do you enjoy hummus? As a dip, of course; but also as a bread spread, on sandwiches, on a mezze plate, as a dip, as a canapé (as filled cherry tomatoes or on crostini with ham or turkey, for example), as low-cholesterol deviled eggs (replace the mashed yolk filling with hummus) and [add your own favorite use here].

    And then, there are hummus chips. While hummus chips have been around for a few years, there’s a new hummus chip in town. And it’s brought its lentil-based brother.

    Simply7* bakes chickpeas into all-natural, bite sized hummus chips, and does the the same with lentils. The result: two flavorful, nutritious chip alternatives for the Super Bowl and beyond.

    Each variety is made in three flavors:

  • Hummus Chips: Hummus Sea Salt, Hummus Tomato Basil, Hummus Spicy Chili Pepper
  • Lentil Chips: Lentil Sea Salt, Lentil Creamy Dill, Lentil Bruschetta

    *The name does not stand for seven ingredients, but for the seven core standards that the chips must live up to: (1) simple ingredients containing (2) no trans fat or cholesterol, (3) no artificial flavors or colors, (4) no additives or preservatives, (5) gluten-free ingredients, (6) all-natural recipes and (7) simply delicious.

    Both chickpeas and lentils have long been appreciated for their nutritional value. Chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber and other important minerals, as are lentils. Both are low in sodium and are cholesterol-free.

    If your Super Bowl crowd likes things on the healthier side—or simply likes to try new and different foods—introduce them to Simply7.

    Simply7 Hummus Chips and Lentil Chips are available nationally in select stores and on

    We also enjoyed baked lentil chips in six flavors from Mediterranean Snack Foods: Cracked Pepper, Cucumber Dill, Parmesan Garlic, Roasted Pepper, Rosemary and Sea Salt. Is this the beginning of a new chip trend?

    Learn more at and Mediterranean Snack

    Find more of our favorite snacks.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Different Focaccia Toppings

    Focaccia (foe-KAH-cha) is a thick Italian snack bread that is served with meals, used as a base for pizza and as sandwich bread. A basic focaccia is simple, sprinkled with salt; it can be topped with fresh herbs and ingredients as elaborate as any pizza. Popular toppings include sautéed onions and mushrooms, diced tomatoes, prosciutto and cheese—or they can be anything that appeals to the maker.

    “Focaccia is the canvas upon which you can paint,” says chef Johnny Gnall, “and your artistic freedom should know no bounds. Sure, everyone loves some herbs or cheese on their focaccia. But if you’re interested in really expanding your palate (pun intended), try looking beyond the everyday and reach a bit further into your fridge—and your imagination.”

    Check out the suggestions below as a jumping off point, then survey your own on-hand ingredient list and get to topping! Focaccia is delicious any day of the year. If you’re a Super Bowl host, your guests will love it.


    Focaccia: a canvas upon which you can paint
    your favorite flavors. Shown with heirloom
    grape tomatoes. Photo courtesy


    Start with a basic focaccia recipe and try the toppings below. Enjoy a batch as you watch the Super Bowl.


    When you’re making a batch of focaccia, you don’t have to limit yourself to one type of topping. Feel free to “mix and match.”

    Apples And Pears
    Apples and pears, in season right now, work as focaccia toppings. Slice them very thin and lay them flat on the dough, then brush heavily with olive oil so they don’t dry out. Keep an eye on the focaccia as it bakes so that you can reapply some olive oil if the fruit gets too dry. Dust lightly with cinnamon if you’d like, but stop from heading too far in the direction of focaccia apple pie.

    Take your favorite cooked beans (canned black beans always work); toss them in olive oil and a generous amount of your favorite herbs, then sprinkle them atop the focaccia. You’ve just added protein and fiber that tastes like olive oil and herbs: a home run.

    Canned Tuna And Sardines
    Italian tuna brands are typically terrific. But as long as you use a top-grade brand, tuna is an outstanding focaccia topping. Moreover, you can use the oil it’s packed in to brush on the focaccia. The same goes for sardines or any other canned seafood. Clams and squid may seem like pushing it, but Italians will tell you otherwise. Just make sure the seafood is properly cooked and seasoned; toss it with roasted garlic to add more flavor and add some grated lemon zest.

    No orange segments on your focaccia; instead, think of different ways to prepare citrus that would work well on soft bread with a hint of olive oil. Almost any citrus zest has a place, especially with a hearty green like kale or chard. Julienned pieces of preserved lemon rind are delicious, their intense flavor and saltiness softened with some crumbled goat cheese. For even greater wow factor, top your focaccia generously with rosemary and paper-thin slices of grilled lemon or blood orange.

    Custom Sauces
    Create your own sauces for focaccia. An easy one is sour cream mixed with mustard and seasoned with salt and pepper. It’s a great way to add moisture to the focaccia and it goes well with most any vegetable. Another option: Mix roasted garlic with olive oil or a bit of chicken stock to make a spreadable paste. If you’re stuck for ideas, grab an armful of jars out of the fridge and just start mixing!

    Dried Fruit
    Chop dried apricots and dried cherries, toss them in olive oil and sprinkle them over the focaccia, followed by a very light dusting of cinnamon. The key here is knowing that less is more; too much fruit or cinnamon will taste like a failed attempt at dessert. With just a bit of both, you still get a light olive oil flavor from the bread. It also works as breakfast focaccia.

    Seaweed on pizza? Paired with the right ingredients, it works: Nori has umami, which pretty much makes anything better. Try a focaccia with anchovy filets, thin strips of nori, sesame seeds, chile flakes and sea salt. You won’t find focaccia in Tokyo; but if you did, this is probably what it would be like.

    Pickled Peppers
    Be they jalapeños, banana peppers, pepperoncini or other favorite, pickled peppers can bring a lot to an otherwise one-dimensional focaccia. They add brightness and acidity, both of which balance richer toppings. For a killer tag team, try focaccia with pickled peppers and shredded bacon or turkey bacon.

    Pine Nuts
    Not many nuts work on focaccia, but pine nuts—an Italian favorite—do. They get incredibly buttery when roasted and they also go well with fresh herbs. If you put basil, pine nuts and a little Parmesan cheese on focaccia, you basically have a deconstructed pesto. Add some grated lemon zest for a final flourish.

    Seasonal Vegetables
    Try butternut or your favorite squash: Peel it, cut it into a very small dice, coat generously with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle it onto the focaccia along with your favorite herbs (rosemary works great) and bake. Hearty winter greens (kale, chard, spinach and even Brussels sprouts leaves) are also ideal focaccia toppings; their edges get crispy in the oven and add a pleasant dimension of texture.

    Check out the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.



    COOKING VIDEO: Healthy Onion Dip Recipe


    Have you planned your Super Bowl menu yet? Are you looking for healthy options?

    In the chips-and-dips department, we save on fats with Popchips potato chips and go for the more nutritious whole wheat pretzels. Both products are just as delicious as their less-healthy counterparts.

    Making a yummy fat-free or low-fat dip is easy. In this video recipe, you’ll see how to make a delectable onion dip with caramelized onions, fresh chives and nonfat yogurt.

    We have three tips to add to those in the video:

  • Use nonfat Greek yogurt—it’s thicker, creamier and closest to sour cream.
  • Caramelize the onions in heart-healthy olive oil. Here’s the separate recipe to caramelize the onions. While you’re at it, caramelize lots of onions and keep them in the fridge to add to baked potatoes, burgers, eggs, main course proteins, sandwiches and more.
  • Never use pre-ground pepper. Always freshly grind it with a pepper mill.

    Find them in our Salsas & Dips Section. Another healthy recipe is this white bean dip, which is dairy-free and packed with bean protein, fiber and other nutrition.

    And don’t over look the Tequila Guacamole!




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