Whether you're preparing chicken wings for a football tailgate or a gorgeous spread of veggies, a party platter just wouldn't be complete without a delicious dip.
But traditional creamy dressings are often loaded with calories, extra fat and even hidden sugars, turning that simple snack into a heavy meal.
But that doesn't mean you should forgo that creamy dips altogether.
"I'm a vegetable pusher. I'm always trying to encourage people of all ages to eat more vegetables," says TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer. "And one of the easiest ways to get somebody to try a new vegetable or just eat new vegetables is to douse it with ranch dressing."
Knowing that many store-bought dressings aren't exactly meant to consumed by the spoonful — and after family and fans asked her to create a lightened-up version of a classic ranch dressing — Joy made a few simple swaps to create a ranch dip recipe that doesn't skimp on flavor.
In the latest episode of Joy's digital series "Joy Full Eats," the TODAY nutritionist shows us how to make one delightfully decadent ranch dressing base that can be transformed into a variety of different dips for any night of the week.
The secret to Joy's favorite dressings? Greek yogurt.
"A lot of dips and salad dressings will call for full fat sour cream," says Joy. "Just by making the swap from full-fat sour cream to a non-fat Greek yogurt, you will save loads of calories and you're gonna bump up the protein."
This versatile dressing base can be adapted for a variety of tastes (and thicknesses) depending on what you're serving. For people who love blue cheese, Joy adds a few tangy crumbles to the base to create a ranch-y blue cheese dip. If you like a little spice in your life, just add a few tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce to turn it into a sriracha or Buffalo ranch dressing. And if you love bacon (because really, who doesn't?!) simply chop up a few strips of turkey bacon to boost the protein and the flavor profile of the original dip.
Plus, the base recipe is so easy, you don't even need a blender to throughly blend all of the ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your pantry.
After trying this dreamy dressing, store-bought versions will be a thing of the past!
Looking for more of Joy's powerful food-packed recipes. Check out her book, "Joy's Simple Food Remedies," available now!