A new year often brings new resolutions, and many—myself included—have resolved to try to eat a little better this year. I’ve taken it upon myself to eat more raw fruits and vegetables, but I've found it challenging to keep things interesting. Luckily, the world of dips is vast and wondrous, and tapping into it can transform a drab side of raw vegetables into something delicious.
Though dips are often associated with parties and gatherings, there’s no reason we can’t whip one up for two (or even one!) to enjoy, considering how easy they are to put together. Elegant spreads like salmon rillettes and vegetarian pâté make a healthy midday snack something to look forward to, while creamy white bean dip and Lebanese garlic sauce feel like perfect everyday treats. And if you’d rather ditch the veggies for something heartier, you can always opt for some pita bread or crackers instead. Read on for 15 of our favorite dips to help you keep your New Year's resolution while hopefully keeping it interesting, too.
For the creamiest, tangiest companion to your veggies, this whipped feta dip is the way to go. You can customize it to your preferences, adding more feta for a thicker result or more yogurt for a thinner one. If you want to jazz things up a bit, you can also add fresh herbs like dill, mint, or oregano; just chop them up and stir them in after blending.
Making hummus at home is the best way to guarantee great flavor while still achieving the smooth consistency we love from store-bought versions. Dried chickpeas offer a better flavor than canned, so we cook them in water with baking soda and then purée them while still hot to get that creamy texture. We whisk in tahini and salt, then finish the hummus with olive oil, za’atar, paprika, and chopped parsley.
Baba ganoush gets its flavor from smoked eggplant, tahini, and good olive oil. After charring the eggplant on a broiler or gas grill, we turn to a salad spinner to remove moisture from the flesh, concentrating its flavor. Since baba ganoush tends to have a chunkier texture than hummus, we emulsify the eggplant, olive oil, and tahini by hand instead of using a food processor. The smoky, creamy dip is best enjoyed with warm pita.
This recipe gives you both a dip and something to dip. For the hummus fries, we start by whisking tahini and chickpea flour with lemon juice and spices over the heat of a stove to create a thick batter. The chickpea base is then chilled, cut, and fried. Meanwhile, for the dip, we mix tahini, garlic, and hot sauce in a food processor, slowly incorporating water to thin out the mixture slightly. Sprinkle both the fries and the dip with paprika and enjoy together as the ultimate pairing.
Though you can make toum with a mortar, pestle, and a little bit of elbow grease, using a food processor makes the process much easier. Since this recipe is really all about the garlic, we recommend using fresh heads instead of pre-peeled cloves. Keep this sauce handy for topping meats or adding a garlic punch to other dishes, like` pasta.
Garlic and anchovies give this Northern Italian dip its pungent flavor. The two ingredients are cooked down in oil and smashed until a smooth purée forms. If you prefer an even smoother texture, you can pulse everything with an immersion blender until you've reached your desired consistency. Bagna càuda is best served with sweet and peppery vegetables like bell peppers, radishes, and cauliflower, but we especially love it with slices of roasted onion.
The texture and flavor of this Japanese-inspired dip pairs perfectly with both raw and cooked vegetables. The combination of pork, walnuts, and onions help tame the miso’s salty intensity while still creating a deeply flavorful dish. It’s a minimal effort dip that offers maximum results, and keeps for about a week in the fridge. Make a batch to keep on hand for snacking throughout the week.
Though this French spread is often made with pork, salmon rillettes are an elegant, lighter alternative. Gently poaching the fish ensures extra-tender and juicy results, and briefly sautéing the shallots softens them and brings out their sweetness. The salmon and shallots are mixed with mayo, chives, and a few spices, and the rillettes are then chilled before serving.
A good tapenade can be made with a food processor, but a great tapenade makes use of a mortar and pestle. A mortar and pestle extracts more flavor from the ingredients and offers a better texture, while a food processor produces a paste that’s more easily spreadable. To save time, we recommend searching for good quality olives that are already pitted.
Unlike the more modern version above, this old-school recipe incorporates tuna, and the brininess of the olives, capers, anchovies, and tuna come together to create a deeply savory dip. The tuna also helps form a more stable emulsion, thanks to its protein-rich base.
The key to achieving maximum flavor with this Northern Thai dip is charring most of the ingredients. Though they’re traditionally charred over a live fire, a hot cast iron pan or a broiler can produce similar results. Once that’s done, everything is pounded together with a mortar and pestle. Though this recipe calls for shrimp paste for a savory boost, fish sauce will work in a pinch—both work to bring out the rich, roasted flavors of the dip. Serve with raw vegetables or even boiled eggs.
This recipe starts with a paste made from toasted chiles, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste, with an added smoky flavor from charred plum tomatoes. After cooking the paste in hot oil to bloom the aromatics, we add ground pork, soy and fish sauces, and fermented soybean paste for an extra umami boost. The finished product is spicy, sour, sweet, and savory—perfect for dipping with raw and steamed vegetables, or even serving with rice.
Instead of the mushrooms, which most vegetarian pâtés rely on, this recipe uses roasted cauliflower To help create a pâté-like consistency, we incorporate pecans into the mix, and a splash of soy sauce and brandy bring out a savoriness of the cruciferous vegetable. Though the pâté goes well with veggies, we love spreading it on some toasted baguette rounds.
Beans are the star of this creamy dip. After cooking some white beans, we blend them with a little bit of their cooking liquid, garlic, and lemon juice, and then incorporate olive oil to form a smooth purée. The dip is topped with a bright roasted cherry tomato salad made with black olives, anchovy, fresh parsley, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Here, instead of blending chickpeas like you would in regular hummus, most or all of the chickpeas are left whole and tossed with the tahini sauce. We opt for cooking dried chickpeas instead of using canned ones, since they're more flavorful, and we finish the dip off with olive oil and parsley or za'atar, serving it with warm pita alongside.
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