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Best dips/spreads for pitas and crackers?

So my neighbors have enlisted my help cooking for their daughter's college graduation party. Grilled salmon for the entree, and I'm in charge of dips and spreads for pita and crackers. I'm making hummus for sure, but what else? There will be about 30 guests, mostly college-aged, so it need not be very fancy!

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    1. have you thought about baba ghanouj or an olive tapenade?

      1 Reply
      1. re: pmody

        Seconded- also add tabbouleh, and lebne (with dill and walnuts) to the list.

      2. Blend up feta with garlic and roasted red peppers (the jar peppers are OK but drain them first). Another winner is to spread cream cheese on a heat-proof pie plate (I use Pyrex) about 1/2 inch thick. Cover cream cheese with a spicy marinara (add some red pepper flakes to the jar stuff) and then shredded parmesean. Bake till parmesean bubbles. Or, start with the cream cheese and top with chopped artichoke hearts, garlic, dill and parmesean cheese. A spicy black bean dip is always good. I use canned black beans. Once, as a huge cheat, I bought that ooey gooey creamed spinach from Boston Market, put it in my own crock and heated it as "spinach dip." It was a huge hit!

        1. In addition to the great suggestions above, two of my favorites for pita: Muhammara (roasted red peppers and walnuts)

          Recipe link and pic:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37607...

          and Tzatziki (cucumber/yogurt/dill):
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38706...

          This is easy and always a winner for crackers/crudites. I just made it last week again.
          Sun-dried tomato dip
          http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

          Finally, for blue-cheese lovers, this is so good and gets many requests (I like to use St. Agur blue):
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            Took a look at your linked recipe for muhammara. I'd suggest going easier on the pomegranate molasses. I made a quart and a half for a party last weekend, and the three teaspoons (not tablespoons) I added for that large quantity was a little too much in the balance for me. I added more salt to try to mask the excess sweetness. Luckily, as it has aged, it tastes less sweet to me.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Hi Melanie,

              Thanks, great point! I think some brands are sweeter than others. I remember reading that some use "American" pomegranates which are sweeter than the tart Middleastern variety. The Al-Wadi brand I use is definitely more puckery tang than sweet, and IIRC, not too sweet when I used the full amounts for the recipes in "Arabesque" when that was Cookbook of the Month (which is why I originally needed the molasses).

              I like this one from Lebanon:
              Alwadi al Akhdar
              http://www.cubemarketplace.com/p-416-...

              1. re: Rubee

                I was happy just to find ANY brand of pomegranate molasses at the super in Salinas, CA. I bought Cortas, which is also from Lebanon. I wish I had tasted it first before mixing it in, this one is really sweet and not that tangy.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Yes, I lucked out - I was out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I somehow mentioned pomegranate molasses in talking to the chef and when I said I was having a hard time finding some, he went into the kitchen and kindly brought me out a bottle. Now....how to find some locally when I run out ; )

                  1. re: Rubee

                    I love that dip- I didn't realize that was what it was called. We've just reduced pomegranate juice to make the syrup- probably not quite the same, but still really tasty. My mom made Ellie Krieger's recipe, and I just really loved it at first bite!