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When it comes to losing weight now and keeping it off for life, “filling yourself up and faking yourself out” is key…And here’s a recipe that proves just how easy, delicious and beautiful it can be: Skinny Sun Dried Tomato Dip.

The original version is from one of my favorite cookbooks by The Barefoot Contessa…and a few years ago, I made it so often, I knew it by heart.

But once I decided to break out of my 30+ pound fat suit, and started breaking down the ingredients in my favorite dishes, I knew I had to skinny-fy this delish dip.

The 8-ounces of cream cheese? 800 calories and 90 grams of fat. The 1/2 cup of sour cream? 240 calories and 20 grams of fat. And the 1/2 cup of real mayonnaise? Another 720 calories and 80 grams of fat!

And even though sun-dried tomatoes are a relative bargain here, adding in the 1/4 cup means the original recipe adds up to 1820 calories and 200 grams of fat for just two cups!  If I nibbled on a half cup of it with otherwise calorie free crudite–which I often did–I’d eaten more than 450 calories and 50 grams of fat before dinner was served!

I knew there had to be a better way. But simply substituting fat free cream cheese and fat free mayo was not it. Something about the texture of fat free cream cheese and the aftertaste of the fat free mayo interfered with the end result.  Many experiments followed and what I found, and my taste testers confirmed, is that an interesting mix of non-fat cottage cheese, non-fat sour cream, just a tiny bit of “light” mayo and twice the amount of sun-dried tomatoes delivered the best result in taste and calorie count.

All in? Just 465 calories for the whole dish and almost no fat.. which means a 1/2 cup serving is just 115 calories instead of 450!

And by re-designing this dip, you not only lose most of the calories and fat, you bump up the nutrition! Cottage cheese made of skim milk provides twice the amount of protein that cream cheese offers and sun dried tomatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!

So next time you throw a party and want to Skinny Dip, try this!

No one will know you’ve made the switch, and you and your guests will be healthier and thinner for it!


A note about ingredients..

Though the original recipe from The Barefoot Contessa called for Tabasco sauce, after many experiments with lower fat dairy products, I think that a hot sauce like Tapatio or Cholula works better….

There’s just a certain hot but sweet quality that masks the loss of fat.

And though sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil are in almost every market, you will save yourself a fortune if you buy dried sun-dried tomatoes in bulk and pack them in your own jar with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. If kept covered in oil and kept in the fridge, they last for weeks or months. In a pretty jar, they make a hostess gift that’s far more interesting than a bottle of wine..

1  1/4 c fat free cottage cheese

1/2  c fat free sour cream

2 T “Light” Mayo

1/2 c heaping cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (and 1-2 tablespoons more to add in the end.)

2-4 t Tapatio hot sauce

Toss the cottage cheese, sour cream, light mayo, sun-dried tomatoes and hot sauce in the food processor and whirl until creamy.

Taste for seasonings, adding more hot sauce if necessary.

Add another 2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes and whirl again to add texture..or just hand chop them and add them on top..

Serve with any crudite or pita chips….YUM!


If packing lunch for yourself or your kids, don’t forget to pack this along with a bag of sliced veggies! Or try adding a big smear to a whole wheat 100 calorie wrap with roasted vegetables for a gourmet but guilt-free lunch! Enjoy!!

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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  1. Lynn says:

    Do you have to use the sundried tomatoes in oil? We have them but they are not in oil.

    • Lisa McRee says:

      For taste, I prefer the ones packed in oil because they are seasoned with herbs, garlic and salt… And, since some vitamins are “fat soluable” (meaning they need to ride in on fat for your body to absorb them), I don’t mind the wee bit of heart healthy olive oil they contribute. If you do use the dry ones, you might want to add a t of olive oil and maybe a pinch more salt? let me know how it turns out!

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