This post goes out to all the moms and dads in the house. Holler parental units.
With the school year well on its way, I thought it would be fun to revisit a classic lunch snack and give it a bit of a Sodium Girl makeover.
Who didn’t eat Ants on a Log as a kid? Whether it was provided as fuel while hiking through Muir Woods or as a fun treat to enliven that lunch box, Ants on a Log was not only delicious, but fun to put together. It was one of the few childhood moments when you were encouraged to really play with your food, to eat with your hands, eyes, and mouth. It was whimsical. It was creative. It was healthy. It was the perfect after/in-school snack.
But here’s the issue – celery happens to be higher in sodium than most vegetables. According to the USDA nutritional database, one cup has around 80 mg. Now, this amount is not horrible by any means. The saltiness occurs naturally and it is a welcome addition when developing flavors in stocks (without any salt). But if you are looking for ways to cut out all unnecessary sodium (and use that 80 mg for something more “substantial” in your day), than there is an equally fun low sodium solution: Garbanzos on a Boat.
The preparation required to fashion these little hummus vessels is quite simple. First, wash and cut a cucumber in half. Use your spoon to scoop out the seeds (and perhaps even save some for making gazpacho later in the week or cucumber consomme). Then, either fill the boats with your low sodium hummus (recipe found here) or provide the hummus in a separate container with a spoon for self-assembly by the budding culinary student (i.e. your child).
As for accoutrements: if you are making this for diners that barely come up to your knee, then garnish with diced, dried apricots, golden raisins, or even pine nuts. If your audience hovers around eye level though, you can jazz up the dish with some freshly chopped parsley, smoked paprika, a drizzle of honey, and even a few chili pepper flakes.
Thinking ahead to the holidays, this simple snack is also perfect for pre-Thanksgiving snacking. It’s cool (no oven required), it can be prepared the day before, and it will keep people out of your kitchen.
Even without the celery, the salt, or the ants, you can create a playful snack that is as nutritious and flavorful as it’s inspiration – no exterminators necessary.
Smooth sailing ahead and chow on.