As the Super Bowl approaches, beer, popcorn, chip and pretzel sales inevitably rise. The American palate is indisputably hooked on salt and malt liquor.

Our weekend recipe, created by Chef Bradford Thompson of Lever House in New York City, should score a touchdown, and it takes only 15 minutes to prepare. We have, however, lightened it by substituting low-fat cream cheese, sour cream and mayo for their full-fat equivalents, and the dip is served with fresh vegetables—not salty snacks. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

For another hors d’oeuvre recipe from Chef Thompson, check out his elegant Olive-Stuffed Goat Cheese Bites, which we featured on New Year’s Eve. You’ll also learn about his penchant for serving all-natural meats, sustainable seafood and seasonal produce at Lever House.

Green Olive Cheddar Dip

Yields 2 cups

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 (5.75-ounce) jar Spanish green olives stuffed with pimiento, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup green onion (white and green parts)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dippers: black ripe olives, carrot sticks, celery sticks, fennel sticks, red bell pepper sticks, green onion sticks

Combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and garlic in food processor. Pulse several times until ingredients are well incorporated.

Add green olives, green onion and black pepper. Pulse until chopped. The dip should be slightly chunky.

Transfer to serving bowl or plate. Dip can be garnished with additional chopped green onions.

Skewer black olives with vegetables, and arrange them around the dip. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Note: To make the vegetable sticks, slice the veggies lengthwise, and then cut into 4-inch pieces so they can easily skewer the olives.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Lindsay Olives