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Best dips/spreads for pitas and crackers?

icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:16 PM

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. Antilope RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:27 PM

    Spinach Dip is good.


    1. p
      pmody RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:29 PM

      have you thought about baba ghanouj or an olive tapenade?

      1 Reply
      1. re: pmody
        TongoRad RE: pmody May 7, 2008 01:33 PM

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

      2. d
        dcandohio RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:29 PM

        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. Rubee RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:35 PM

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

          Recipe link and pic:

          and Tzatziki (cucumber/yogurt/dill):

          This is easy and always a winner for crackers/crudites. I just made it last week again.
          Sun-dried tomato dip

          Finally, for blue-cheese lovers, this is so good and gets many requests (I like to use St. Agur blue):

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rubee
            Melanie Wong RE: Rubee May 7, 2008 02:49 PM

            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
              Rubee RE: Melanie Wong May 7, 2008 03:36 PM

              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

              1. re: Rubee
                Melanie Wong RE: Rubee May 7, 2008 03:44 PM

                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
                  Rubee RE: Melanie Wong May 7, 2008 03:53 PM

                  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
                    Katie Nell RE: Rubee May 9, 2008 07:34 AM

                    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!

          2. beelzebozo RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:39 PM

            i'm a tzatziki man.

            1. JungMann RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 01:53 PM

              Baba ghannouj, chipotle or roasted red pepper hummus, cheese ajvar, white bean dip with garlic, broccoli guacamole, zhoug.

              1. k
                kalidaemon RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 02:00 PM

                The black olive and sundried tomato tapenade from Moosewood Celebrates is a good party dip as is any kind of herb cheese. My favorite is the herb cream cheese from the Frog/Commissary cookbook.

                1. AnnVL RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 02:42 PM

                  Roasted Eggplant Dip (omg), Hummus, Artichoke Dip, Smoked Salmon Dip.

                  1. i
                    icecreamgal RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 02:46 PM

                    These all sound great! Do any of you have recipes you could paraphrase? The olive tapenade would be good to accompany the hummus, I think.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: icecreamgal
                      valerie RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 06:31 PM

                      I've made this olive and artichoke tapenade before and it's really tasty.


                    2. chef chicklet RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 03:07 PM

                      Hot Garlicky Artichoke Dip. period, easy and delicious and my recipe makes alot!
                      There are so many good recipes here:http://www.chowhound.com/topics/443265

                      1. l
                        lexpatti RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 05:39 PM

                        so simple and delish is one of my favs - cream cheese block with a nice pepper jelly over it.

                        Pita chips are great with a nice salsa mixed with sour cream.

                        1. c
                          callmijane RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 06:21 PM

                          baked brie.

                          1. AbeFroman RE: icecreamgal May 7, 2008 07:59 PM

                            Carrot puree with harissa -- my favorite of the trio of pita spreads at a local spot, but not something I've tried at home yet. Seems super simple and is a standout even next to a top-shelf tapenade and/or hummus.

                            This recipe looks about right:

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: AbeFroman
                              lexpatti RE: AbeFroman May 8, 2008 07:28 AM

                              I made something very similar with Curry Paste and Carrots - fantastic:

                              Peel and grate 3 carrots. Take 1 onion (finely chopped), the carrots, orange juice (from 2 oranges) and 1 TBL hot curry paste in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 10 min. Process the mixture in blender til smooth, leave to cool. Stir in 2/3 cup plain yogurt and handful of basil leaves (torn small). Add 2 TBL fresh lemon juice, hot sauce (to taste) and salt and pepper. (I didn't add the hot sauce but tad more curry paste). We dipped whole grain tortillas and crackers - sooooo tasty.

                              1. re: lexpatti
                                AbeFroman RE: lexpatti May 8, 2008 10:47 PM

                                Ooh, nice. I'm gonna have to try this one out! Anything special about the variety of basil -- Thai or otherwise?

                                1. re: AbeFroman
                                  lexpatti RE: AbeFroman May 9, 2008 04:51 AM

                                  Nope! Just market basket :-) I had it on a sandwich yesterday, very nice. But me thinks if it were the base of a nice plate of shrimp or scallops, maybe nicer! But then again, shrimp & scallops with anyting is nice.

                              2. re: AbeFroman
                                foxy fairy RE: AbeFroman May 5, 2009 09:06 AM

                                Smoky Roasted Carrot Dip ---

                                I tried something that ended up really smoky and delicious. I played around with a couple of recipes and ended up with this --

                                1. I drizzled a bunch of carrots, one quartered red onion, skin on, a head of garlic with a couple Tbsp olive oil, plus a teaspoon cumin seeds and roasted 375 for 40 minutes.

                                2. Then I blended the roasted onion, carrot, garlic (squeezed out the roasted cloves) with a few Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp (this was WAY too much b/c my paprika is really potent) smoky paprika and another tsp cumin. I must have been in a spicy mood b/c I think I even added a little Aleppo chile :)

                                3. This was absolutely divine but really overwhelmingly spicy, so I added sour cream to soften the flavor.

                                Couldn't stop eating it. I will make this again and again! Excellent as a sandwich spread! I do think roasting the carrots enhances the flavor.

                                I like the idea of lexpatti's recipe with the basil and lemon. Interesting flavors!

                                1. re: foxy fairy
                                  Val RE: foxy fairy May 5, 2009 10:21 AM

                                  Must.Try.This. (but I need more info) FF, would you say you used 1 pound of carrots? Did you slice them up or just cut into large chunks to roast them? Thanks!

                              3. v
                                Val RE: icecreamgal May 8, 2008 06:10 AM

                                Another tapenade-type of recipe that someone brought in to a work buffet and we went crazy over it:

                                Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade

                                Use this tapenade as a quick way to dress up pasta or bruschetta.

                                1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts
                                6 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
                                1 small garlic clove, pressed
                                2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
                                1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
                                1/8 teaspoon salt

                                1. Drain Artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes using small colander.  Place artichokes , tomatoes, garlic pressed  with garlic presser, pine nuts, parsley and salt on cutting board; finally chop together.
                                Yield:12 servings

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Val
                                  valerie RE: Val May 8, 2008 07:57 AM

                                  This sounds really good. I'm going to file it away for next time I have people over. Thanks!

                                  1. re: Val
                                    valerie RE: Val Jul 15, 2011 07:50 AM

                                    I made this tapenade after reading about it on this thread and, although it was a hit at the time, I haven't made it since for whatever reason.

                                    Anyway, last night I made it again and served with with pita chips and my friends could not get enough of it! Really, people were raving. As the host, I rarely eat anything when people are at my house, but after they left, I snarfed down what little was left! It was a good thing I doubled the recipe.

                                    1. re: valerie
                                      Val RE: valerie Jul 15, 2011 08:01 AM

                                      glad it worked for you, other-val...hee! haven't made this in a while either and need to revisit, it IS so good but best with lots of friends!

                                      1. re: Val
                                        alkapal RE: Val Jul 16, 2011 02:07 PM

                                        the name tapenade implies that the dish has capers. does this recipe have capers in the original recipe, perhaps?

                                        my sister loves the sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes. i'll be sure and share this with her. she likes quick and delicious cocktail-time snacks. thanks for sharing, miss val.

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          Val RE: alkapal Jul 16, 2011 02:56 PM

                                          hi, 'pal! hmmm...nope, no capers and I've also read that tapenades "should" contain anchovies too...nope, none in there...but you could add them I'm sure...I think co-worker said this came from Pampered Chef booklet but we didn't care, we all loved it.

                                          1. re: Val
                                            valerie RE: Val Jul 16, 2011 06:52 PM

                                            Maybe not a true tapenade, but my friends were still talking about it today!

                                            1. re: valerie
                                              alkapal RE: valerie Jul 17, 2011 04:36 AM

                                              i have no doubt that it is tasty. i just wouldn't call it a tapenade, that's all.

                                              Provençal dish made of black olives, etc., from Fr. tapénade, from Prov. tapéno "capers."<<<< http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?t...

                                    2. re: Val
                                      queenregina RE: Val Oct 24, 2013 06:03 PM

                                      I've made this several times and it's always a hit whenever I bring it to a party. Making it again tomorrow (so I was looking for the recipe) and thought I would comment.

                                    3. alkapal RE: icecreamgal May 8, 2008 09:46 AM

                                      weighing in for the "knorr's spinach vegetable dip in bread bowl" caucus:
                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/480147 you don't have to use the bread bowl, but you'd be missing out...

                                      double your recipe -- at least!

                                      and use the whole tender scallion -- not just the white bulbous end.

                                      some suggest adding cilantro for a variation.

                                      1. c
                                        cybermome1207 RE: icecreamgal May 9, 2008 11:31 AM

                                        TOFU DIP>>>
                                        and you cannot tell it doesn't have cheese in it..

                                        Firm tofu It has less water. 1 block
                                        1/4 cup sunflower seeds
                                        a table spoon olive oil
                                        basil or coriander
                                        fresh garlic to taste

                                        process sunflower seeds til ground.Add garlic and herbs with oil ..Process til smooth but not liquid. . Add tofu and process til smooth..

                                        This can also be used as a dressing if you thin out with oil!!!

                                        1. e
                                          ediecooks RE: icecreamgal May 5, 2009 11:24 AM

                                          this is embarassingly easy but is always a hit.

                                          take one block of cream cheese and slice it into two layers, like you would a cake. (helps to freeze it slightly first) spread wasabi paste on the bottom, top with the other piece of cream cheese. coat with toasted sesame seeds (check your jar, sometimes they are already toasted, others you ahve to do yourself in a small skillet) when ready to serve, drizzle generously with soy sauce and serve with rice crackers.

                                          spicy, creamy, salty and crunchy.....it's the best!

                                          1. Antilope RE: icecreamgal Jul 15, 2011 01:04 PM

                                            Kicked Up Hummus Dip

                                            This recipe has a few more ingreidents than the average
                                            Hummus, but I think it tastes so much better!

                                            1 (15oz) can Chick Peas, drained - rinsed (save 2 Tbs chick pea juice)
                                            2 Tbs chick pea juice
                                            4 Tbs lemon juice (fresh or bottled OK)
                                            2 Tbs lime juice (fresh or bottled OK)
                                            2 Tbs olive oil
                                            2 Tbs Tahini paste
                                            2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp crushed garlic from jar)
                                            1 tsp granulated garlic powder
                                            1 tsp toasted sesame oil
                                            1/2 tsp ground cumin
                                            1/2 tsp ground corriander
                                            dash cayenne pepper
                                            2 dashes ground black pepper
                                            salt to taste

                                            Place in food processer. Blend until smooth.
                                            Serve with crackers, pita bread, tortilla chips, etc.

                                            1. Scoutmaster RE: icecreamgal Oct 24, 2013 07:05 PM

                                              Shrimp dip always goes over well with that crowd. The kind with cream cheese, cocktail sauce, mayo... or even simpler where you spread cream cheese on a plate then cocktail sauce over that and baby shrimp on top of that.

                                              1. LotusRapper RE: icecreamgal Oct 24, 2013 07:12 PM

                                                " .... 30 guests, mostly college-aged .... "

                                                Cheez Whiz ?

                                                Oh, just kidding ! :-D

                                                A friend of mine once made a caramelized onion w. finely-shredded BBQ pull pork "dip". OMG it was to die for.

                                                1. Cherylptw RE: icecreamgal Oct 25, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                  So I catered a small event a couple of days ago and I needed something extra on my cheese tray. I mixed together a container of alouette crème de brie, container of alouette garlic & herbs spreadable cheese, and a container of boursin tomato & basil spreadable cheese.

                                                  I spooned it all in a bowl lined with a piece of plastic wrap with chopped celery leaves. Folded the plastic over it all and refrigerated an hour. Later when it was turned out in addition to sliced cheddar, smoked gouda & pepperjack and surrounded by assorted crackers & baked pita chips, it was the first thing to go. I'd say that's a hit.

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