Those of us with diabetes know that friends and family may invite us to gatherings with food, and the food consists of pizza, pasta, or other dishes that can make our blood sugar levels skyrocket. Even close friends and family that know we try to avoid certain foods can do it and this is understandable with restrictions on time and finances. When this happens, I try to take a simple and fresh vegetable platter to share. I take food that is diabetes-friendly and full of raw vegetable nutrition and fiber.
Because I'm often short on time, I have a handful of favorites that are very easy, cheap and tasty. Sometimes just arranging simple and attractive vegetable dishes can make all the difference and somehow make the food taste even better.
1. Endive with Hummus
You will need: Endive, canned garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice.
Optional: Paprika and olive oil.
Remove any wilted or damaged leaves from the head of endive and discard them. Remove leaves to use as scoops. Place hummus into a bowl and arrange the leaves around the bowl on a platter. If you like, you can drizzle olive oil and sprinkle paprika over the hummus and garnish with parsley. If you are taking to a potluck or party, take the endive scoops and bowl of hummus and quickly arrange the platter at your destination. Celery stalks or bell pepper strips can be used instead of or in addition to endive in this fresh vegetable platter.
How to make hummus: Put one 19 oz. can of garbanzo beans (drain and save the liquid), ¼ cup tahini, 1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Blend for two to three minutes, adding some of the reserved liquid until it is blended into a smooth paste. Double or triple the recipe for a larger crowd.
2. Cucumber Slices with Cheese and Walnuts
You will need: Cucumber, feta cheese, and walnut halves.
Feta cheese works well for this dish. Slice the cucumber and cut the feta cheese into thin squares or large cubes. Place a feta cheese pieces on top of each cucumber round and put a walnut half on top. Arrange on a platter. What simple yet irresistible fresh vegetable platter fare.
3. Caprese Salad
You will need: Tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, salt.Caprese salad is basically made up of tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and salt. There are a couple ways this dish can be served. You can arrange alternating sliced tomato, basil leaves, and cheese on a plate or platter. This can be done in a circular arrangement, in rows, or place a slice of cheese and basil on top of each tomato round. Drizzle olive oil over the dish and sprinkle some salt. Alternatively, you can make mini toothpick kabobs or appetizers. Using a toothpick, secure a little basil and a cube of cheese on top of a cherry tomato. Try adding green olives if you have them. Arrange on a plate and drizzle olive oil over the kabobs and sprinkle with salt.
4. Fresh Vegetable Kabobs
You will need: Raw vegetables.
Optional: Olives, cheese, deli meat, and fruit such as grapes or pineapple.
These are raw vegetable no-cook kabobs. Thread vegetables onto skewers and arrange on a plate. You can choose to add olives, pieces of cheese, deli meat, grapes, or pineapple chunks for an extra touch. Get creative and scan the vegetable section and deli for ideas. Some kabob-friendly choices for this vegetable platter are mushrooms, broccoli pieces, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, celery chunks, pieces of squash, and bell pepper pieces.
5. Raw Okra Boats
You will need: Okra and salt.
Okra is definitely an acquired taste. You can either love raw okra or you can absolutely hate it. I fall into the "love it" category and think it is fun to eat. Okra has been found to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels because of its mucilaginous fiber and it's this fiber that can make people love or hate this uniquely-textured vegetable that can turn into slime as you chew it.
As you prepare, keep in mind that moisture causes the slime to develop so wash the okra and then dry it very well before slicing to prevent inducing slime before it's served. To prepare, cut off the caps and slice in half lengthwise to make little okra "boats." Place on a platter cut-side up and sprinkle with salt. Be prepared for some compliments on this vegetable platter and also some expressions of yuck.