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Jul 16, 2006 06:31 AM


With the hot weather, and no air conditioning in the kitchen, I am always on the lookout for easy no-cook meals (Sure, there's always grilling, but a change is good once in awhile). One thing I've been into lately are dips. I make something relatively healthy, and serve it with crudites from the Farmer's Market. I have discovered that cottage cheese makes a perfectly ok base for dips if you use a hand blender to smooth it out. (and better for you than sour cream!). Tonight's version was spinach-horseradish: fresh spinach cooked and chopped, a little bit of mayonaise, about a cup of cottage cheese, about a tablespoon of soft goat cheese from the farmer's market, some horseradish, mustard powder, salt and pepper. The hand blender makes it into a nice dippeable consistency, if not totally smooth. Other favorites are (of course) guacamole, and fresh basil with the cottage cheese (good dippers for this are cherry tomatoes). What about you hounds? Any other ideas???

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  1. Muhammara - roasted red peppers, walnuts, a little hot pepper, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, some spices.

    Tarator - pine nuts, garlic, some bread, spices, olive oil.

    Both are Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, you can find recipes online for either. They're quite delicious and a little different from dairy-based dips.

    We also like pico de gallo made with lots of cilantro and chiles.

    1. Fage Total Yogurt (any percentage of fat - I use the 0%) make GREAT bases for dips. Dip is sort of a personal passion of mine - I'd eat appetizers all day long if I could.

      Equal parts tahini and yogurt, with garlic and lemon and salt added makes a great tahini dip.

      Not even remotely healthy, but: carmelize two onions (thin sliced) in EVOO and butter with a dash of cayenne pepper, after about 20 minutes of caremelization, mix together i food processor or with hand mixer (including the oil and butter) with equal parts of mayo, cream cheese and sour cream. I guess you could do it with the cottage cheese and low fat mayo and low fat cream cheese. Makes the best onion dip I've ever tried.

      I've been making one recently that is sort of a parmesan peppercorn: sour cream(or cottage cheese) and yogurt with garlic, a dab of dijon, a squirt of lemon juice, salt, loads of fresh ground pepper and much coursely grated parm.

      I like to grate my garlic into dips on the microplaner so it really permeates the dip.

      1. Krissy, for a hot kitchen I suggest cold bean dip soup and must hang my head in shame after the lengthy posts about home cooking going away and awful soup can cookery. This is assembled food from cans, not real cooking but tasty. Combine a can of refried beans with chorizo, or green chilies or whatever flavor you prefer, plain, etc. with about 10 oz. good beef stock and a can of chopped tomatoes in a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth. Refrigerate until icy cold. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream, salsa of your choice and crispy tortilla chips, those I do prefer to fry on my own, but if there is no AC in the kitchen I think store bought would be fine. Diced ripe avocado, chopped olives the topping options are endless like a 7 layer bean dip. It is refreshing, cooling, flavorful and filling.

        If you wanted to make a vegetarian version you could certainly use vegetarian refried beans and veg. stock.

        Since I cannot cook for a couple of weeks and my DH is handling it he just came in to ask me for dinner suggestions. My kitchen is air conditioned and if you lived in Anderson you know how hot and sticky an Indiana summer can be. We are having it tonight. Thanks for bringing the question up, I would not have thought of it. I've not made it for awhile and had forgotten how satisfying it is.

        1. I've posted this recipe before, but it's one of my favorites. It's not really healthy, but I bet you could make it healthier with some slight modifications.

          Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Dip

          tortilla chips
          2 pckgs. (8 oz. ea.) low fat cream cheese, softened
          3/4 cup low fat mayo
          3 T. combination of southwest spices, i.e., cumin, chile powder, etc. to taste
          2 green onions, thinly sliced
          1 cup diced red pepper
          1 can (3.25 oz.) pitted ripe olives, drained and chopped fine
          3/4 cup salsa
          1 garlic clove (I use 2!) minced
          1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
          1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained

          Beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, and spices until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture in the bottom and up sides of a 9x9x2 dish or equivalent. Combine sliced green onions, diced red pepper, olives, salsa, garlic, beans, and corn and spread over cream cheese mixture. Serve with tortilla chips.

          I'm a little obsessed with dipping too. I also could eat appetizers all day long! I was thinking about having a dipping party for my parent's birthday! Ina Garten has an onion dip recipe similar to Krissywats that is really tasty, though again, not healthy! Also, I like peanut dressing as a dipper for lots of things. I had a roasted red pepper and white bean hummus that was really good recently... it was served with flatbread that had been smeared with roasted garlic! Roasted garlic also makes a fablulous dip! I made a white bean dip with cumin once that was really great (I just now found a recipe on epicurious that looks similar, but I'm not sure if it's the same one or not.) I could go on and on!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Katie Nell

            I actually have a recipe for a roasted garlic dressing that was given to me not long ago that I think could easily be used as a dip:

            2 heads garlic, tops sliced off
            4 short sprays of 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil
            2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (any combination of parsley, basil, oregano and thyme leaves)
            4 ounces light sour cream
            1/4 cup buttermilk
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
            1/2 lemon, juiced

            Roast the garlic for 45 min. at 375 then squeeze out the garlic and put all the rest into a food processor. Bet it would go great with crudite!

            1. re: krissywats

              Ooh... you're speaking my language! That sounds great! Thanks!