Sunsets, beautiful views and a delicious grazing platter is what I would call a pretty perfect afternoon. However, cheese and meat platters with spicy dips is not the best option if you have eczema or any other skin complaint!
So if you have a BBQ or picnic coming up, we think this pretty vegetable platter (featuring foods from the Eczema Detox) is the perfect entertaining snack replacement.
It boasts beautiful fresh vegetables, healthy dips, and a few fun tempura treats to keep you satisfied. Just make sure there is enough to go around because I bet your friends will be reaching for your colourful eczema-friendly veggies and dips.
Purple carrots are rich in an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the bright purple coloured flesh and can help to protect blood vessels from oxidative damage. Anthocyanins also have to ability to block glycation and AGE (advanced glycation end products) formation, which degrades collagen and elastic fibres in the skin, and plays a role in skin ageing.
Edamame is a young soybean, and one of the only plant-based proteins that contain all the essential amino acids required by the body. Our body uses proteins to build and repair tissue, so ensuring enough protein in the diet is vital for healthy skin.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, manganese and beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant that can increase your skin's hydration and improve the health of your skin.
If you are following the FID (Food Intolerance Diagnosis program from The Eczema Detox), or are highly sensitive to salicylates this platter is not suitable and best to wait until you have progressed onto the Eczema Detox.
For this platter, any eczema friendly ingredients can be used such as raw vegetables, fruits, roasted chickpeas or rice crackers, so I will leave this part up to you (use the pictures as inspiration).
For the vegetables and crackers of choice, we have created two new yummy dips to enjoy PLUS as a treat, some delicious gluten-free tempura vegetables. Please keep in mind tempura vegetables are to be used for special occasions only (as frying with a lot of oil is not great for your skin health). We suggest favouring raw veggies, and if your skin is healing well, these can be enjoyed for certain special times.
For the Sweet Potato hummus
1 small roasted sweet potato (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of cooked or canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt (such as Celtic sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid
1 teaspoon of rice bran or sunflower oil
2 roasted garlic cloves
5 tablespoon of filtered water
Optional: 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F).
NOTE: If you are making both dips make sure you pop the sweet potato and garlic in the oven first so it can roast while you make the edamame dip.
Peel 1 small sweet potato and chop into circles about 2 cm thick, then cut these in half. Place on a baking tray with 2 cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon of oil (or water) and place in the oven for about 40 minutes or until soft and just starting to colour.
Keep an eye on them while you are making the edamame hummus as you do not want the sweet potato to get too brown.
Once ready, remove and leave to cool, then place the sweet potato with all other ingredients (except the water) into a food processor and process until everything is combined. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency and mixture is smooth.
Adjust taste (add the maple syrup if you like at this stage), then transfer mixture to a serving bowl and store in the fridge to keep cool.
You can now prepare the vegetables of choice on a plate or chopping board, so everything is ready to go once you have cooked the vegetable tempura. For a pretty looking platter, we recommend ingredients such as coloured baby carrots, sugar snap peas, caramelised leeks, roasted chickpeas and celery sticks.
For the Edamame Dip
1 cup of fresh edamame beans (unshelled)
1/4 cup of cooked or canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 fresh garlic clove (crushed)
1/4 teaspoon of citric acid
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt (such as Celtic sea salt)
1 teaspoon of rice bran oil or sunflower oil (these are low salicylate oils, but check for additives and avoid antioxidant additives)
1-3 tablespoons of filtered water
Add all ingredients (except the water) into a food processor and blend on high until combined. If needed turn the food processor off, scrape down the sides and continue processing.
Add water 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the consistency you like, you can add more then 3 tablespoons if needed. Continue processing until mixture is smooth.
Adjust taste if you like it more garlicky and then transfer it to a bowl to store in the fridge.
For the Vegetable Tempura
Vegetables of choice (we really enjoyed the asparagus and thinly sliced beetroot, however thinly sliced sweet potato, potato or pumpkin would also work well)
1/4 cup of chickpea flour (besan flour)
5 tablespoons of filtered water
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of good quality salt (such as Celtic sea salt)
2-3 tablespoons of rice bran oil or sunflower oil for frying
If you are using beetroot, leave these until the end as they will turn the batter pink.
The amount of batter you make will depend on how many vegetables you decide to do so this batter can be doubled or halved. The recipe above will cover about one small bunch of asparagus and one small beetroot sliced.
In a small bowl mix the flour, water, salt and garlic until combined and smooth. This should make a very thick batter, add some more flour if needed. Pour mixture onto a large plate.
Place a large non-stick pan on medium heat and add two tablespoons of oil.
Place the vegetables on the plate one at a time and cover with the batter using your hands or a spoon. This process can be a little fiddly but do the best you can at covering the vegetables then quickly place into the hot oil.
Keep on one side for about 40 seconds then gently turn over, continuing to turn for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. The entire process will take about 5-7 minutes depending on the vegetable.
Transfer each vegetable onto baking paper or paper towel to absorb the oil then add to the platter. These vegetables are best hot but are also just as tasty cold.