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What healthy dips/appetizers are you putting out for guests?

Would like to try something different from guacamole so I'd love to hear new suggestions.

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  1. bean dips are always a good bet - lots of fiber, a little protein...just don't load them up with oil, sour cream, or other fatty components. tons of possibilities depending on which beans & cuisines you like.

    salsa is another one - if you don't go too heavy on the sodium, it doesn't get much healthier than that.

    and i always serve my own homemade chips - baked, not fried, as well as plenty of crudités for dipping.

    2 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I love Bagna Cauda. Anchovies, Garlic, Olive Oil, Butter warmed up. You can probably make it with just a tad of butter...

      1. re: michele cindy

        I used to looooooooooove this stuff. It's one of my few remaining non-produce cravings after more than a decade of vegetarianism.

    2. Hope this doesn't show up twice--I seem to have made my original reply to you disappear! Anyway, I serve crudites with a reduced-fat peanut dip (that people seem to love), hummus flavored with pesto, and sometimes homemade crackers (from Bittman's How to Cook Everything--I flavor with cayenne pepper or cracked black pepper). The cracker recipe does use butter (about 2 Tbsp for the entire recipe), but it's free from all of the additives you might find in commercial crackers. And they are darn tasty!

      2 Replies
      1. re: nofunlatte

        can you paraphrase the cracker recipe? I'd love to make my own. Thanks!

        1. re: nofunlatte

          Will you share your reduced-fat peanut dip recipe?

          Thank you!

        2. I make hummus in the blender with garlic, lots of lemon juice, a can of chickpeas, tahini, a jar of roasted red peppers, and a squirt of sriracha sauce. Serve with crudites and wedges of pita bread.

          1. Goodhealthgourmet is being coy! Her Spicy Black Bean Dip is killer good and quite healthy...here's the link & you'll need to scroll down a little bit for the recipe...I've made it a number of times and have passed the recipe along to others who also love it:


            You can't go wrong with hummus as another pointed out; it's delicious with celery dippers and snap peas for dippers, too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Val

              awww, stop. you're making me blush :)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                goodhealthgourmet, I took your black bean dip and homemade chips to a party last night. After leaving it on the food table, I went outside and didn't come back in til much later so I did not get to hear any comments but I can tell you that it was all eaten! That says it all as the table was heavily loaded with food.
                I do not have a spritzer so I combined the oil and lime juice in a bowl and ran the tortillas through it, sort of like making french toast except that it was a quicker dip than than, then stacked and cut them. It worked fine but the chips were so good that I'm thinking I'll watch for a spritzer to make it that much easier. We'll want to make these again.

                I liked thatthe dip calls for things we already have in the house (at least as long as the cilantro plants keep going) so it is easy and inexpensive to do.

                Thanks very much for a delicious and healthy recipe!

                1. re: fern

                  yay! i'm so glad you enjoyed it. definitely invest in a spritzer - you can get a 'misto' for under $10 at places like bed, bath & beyond...i have a dedicated one just for the chip seasoning now :)

            2. I made this Olive and Artichoke Tapenade last night for the 2nd time. Both times (different set of guests) it got rave reviews.

              I did change it a little, though, based on the reader reviews. Used marinated artichokes and added some garlic. I also added a few more olives than called for.


              1. I make a pumpkin/black bean dip. Have also made some interesting dips with edamame - the color is really nice! For Christmas time I have swirled together an edamame dip with a roasted red pepper dip.The flavor and colors worked well.

                4 Replies
                1. re: meatn3

                  This past weekend I was planning to try an Edamame Feta dip that was on another CH thread, but I had some trouble finding shelled edamame. Went to Trader Joe's. The woman said that they used to have it in stock, but for some reason they haven't been carrying it for a while. I was bummed and since I already had the feta, I made a Feta Cucumber dip that sounded good in theory, but was just okay.

                  Where else could I find shelled edamame?


                  1. re: valerie

                    Whole Foods or a similar sort of store should have it. I haven't looked, but I suspect a fair sized Asian grocery would have it too!

                    I love Trader Joe's, but there is not a lot of breadth in the products stocked.

                    1. re: valerie

                      Normal grocery stores should carry shelled edamame. I love Trader Joe's but they do have random gaps in their stock. Kroger's and the like carry shelled edamame.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Whole Foods has the shelled edamames. In NYC the 365 brand is about $1.49/bag. I've made a dip out of them with chick peas, lemon juice, and spices.

                  2. mini black bean cakes, ahi poke, fresh rolls,hummus, baba ganough, caprese, lettuce roll ups - with laab, or grilled shrimp etc, sweet potato fries ( ok not so healthy but oh so good) cucumber salad - i serve as an appetizer - its nice and palette cleansing. Red pepper jelly,

                    1. Cheese ajvar is especially packed with nutrients but has the rich taste that makes dip great. Muhammara is a similar option.

                      Baba ghannouj has always been a staple, but I am experimenting with ways to lighten it by substituting yogurt and pureed cottage cheese to mimic the effect of tahini, while adding a bit of strong sesame oil for taste.

                      Then there are the easy favorites: spinach dip, chipotle creme, tzatziki, sesame-curry, banana ketchup, wasabi cream, salsa verde and the ever-popular bean dips.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: JungMann

                        "Baba ghannouj has always been a staple, but I am experimenting with ways to lighten it by substituting yogurt and pureed cottage cheese to mimic the effect of tahini, while adding a bit of strong sesame oil for taste."
                        someone else discovered the secret to my lightened baba ghannouj!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          What is the secret? The cottage cheese or the yogurt? It's still a work in progress for me.

                          1. re: JungMann

                            actually, there are a few..

                            - the right proportion of yogurt to cottage cheese [which must be blended extremely well to remove all telltale cottage cheese lumps]
                            - toasted sesame oil for a deeper flavor
                            - properly prepared eggplant - i roast it whole in the oven, peel & seed it, & then caramelize the pulp on the stove [it's labor-intensive, but you can't beat the flavor].

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              This is how my Hungarian mother makes what we call 'eggplant dip': she roasts the eggplant first, caramelizes it on the stove; when cool, she mixes it with yogurt, parsley, and garlic. No oil, no tahini. Haven't made it in a while, but I would go for a thicker kind of yogurt...

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I learned to roast it whole on the stove until the skin is ash as the oven doesn't impart the smoky flavor, but your technique sounds like it might work. How do you caramelize the pulp on the stove? Simply in a hot, dry pan?

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  "How do you caramelize the pulp on the stove? Simply in a hot, dry pan?"
                                  yep, works like a charm. btw, re: the smokiness - you can always boost it with a pinch of pimenton de la vera [shh, don't tell ;)].

                        2. Haven't made this yet, but it looks good -- especially the color. Some edamame hummus or dips are a very unappetizing beige color.


                          1. Fresh homemade salsas, doesn't have to be tomato based


                            Yogurt mixed with mustard...to taste.

                            There was a recipe for a red lentil-based hummus floating around on chowhound, it was pretty good. (Don't make it with regular lentils...it looks awful!)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mlgb

                              I was also thinking of yogurt-based dips -- yogurt with garam masala or other Indian spices; yogurt mixed with a little olive oil and oregano; or any combination of yogurt + spices + optionally, a tiny bit of flavored or olive oil. Or, yogurt + Lipton onion soup mix as a pretty close approximation to the usual potato chip onion dip.

                            2. Hope this link works. It is for a Moroccan Roasted Carrot dip. Very yummy.


                              3 Replies
                                1. re: jens

                                  I was stymied by the link but after clicking around I finally got to it. This does sound good. Anyone who has the Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon will find the recipe on pages 13-14.

                                  Edit to add a different link to the same recipe: http://yumminessnsues.blogspot.com/20...

                                  1. re: jens

                                    I was just going to suggest this. Took me a while to accept carrots as a dip, instead of a dipper, but I've fully converted.

                                  2. I've mentioned it before, but I loved this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara) http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r... We served it with veggies and pita chips that I sprinkled with cumin and sea salt.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                      I've made an approximation of something Whole Foods sells in their antipasti section (mothership in Austin) that they call Italian salsa. Didn't measure, but it has feta, good olives, basil, garlic, and a bit of oil blended together.

                                    2. I've been making this twist on the classic white bean dip.

                                      I use white bean, olive oil, smoked paprika, harissa (a mediterranean hot sauce that comes in a small can), salt, and garlic.

                                      I don't have the exact measurements, but roughly it's one can of beans, one clove of garlic, a tsp of harissa (or more if you don't mind heat), a pinch of smoked paprika (not too much or else it gets too smokey), salt to taste, and enough olive oil fed into the food processor while it's blending to make the dip smooth.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: PandanExpress

                                        I also love Muhammara, but I use Paula Wolfert's recipe from her Cooking of the Eastern Med. I've had the book since the early 90s and the recipe page is covered with red spots from roasted red peppers. Her recipe uses one or two hot chiles, a half cup of crackers and some lemon juice in addition to all the ingredients in Katie's recipe. She also serves it (I do mine with or without this) sprinkled with toasted pine nuts or pistachios and a sprinkling of ground cumin.

                                        Another healthy app. is from Jamie Oliver's original cookbook. It's roasted squash slices brushed with herbs, spices and olive oil and then roasted. It's good hot from the oven - the slices cut in half - or cooled down or even cold.

                                        Another good Wolfert app. is a one I adapted from a recipe that is best served in bowls with implements. It's tahini, Chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, a bunch of Italian parsley, and a seeded jalapeno chile ground in a food processor with some olive oil. It's really a good variation of the husual humus.

                                        Dukkah is also great - toasted seeds and nuts and spices ground fine and served with bits of good bread dipped in olive oil and then into the Dukkah. I first came across this in an ad for the Aussie spice providers "Herbie's Spices". I ordered it and t was so delicious I found a recipe and made it myself from then on. Felt a bit guilty, but......not that much.

                                        I also love radishes, cukes, etc. dipped into hummus or red pepper sauce. I usually add a bit more sesame paste to my hummus. That takes it out of the "healthy" category, but it's a lot better than Cheetos and Cheese Wiz!

                                        This is a really interesting, useful and fun thread! Thanks for hopegoode for starting it and all for responding.

                                      2. Asparagamole - use well cooked asparagus instead of avocadoes, and add a little fat free plain yogurt to creamify a bit and give a little tang.. prep as usual with seasoning, onion, lime juice, etc.

                                        Homemade chips - thinly slice potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, then season and bake

                                        Ratatouille made w/ little or no oil

                                        Cherry Tomatoes marinated in good balsamic vinegar and wrapped in a basil strip

                                        Egg white frittata wedges w/ wild mushrooms, tarragon, and leeks

                                        for those that aren't concerned w/ sodium, i do a chilled unbaked version of a broccoli souffle, pureeing cooked broccoli (or spinach), fat free ricotta, fat free sour cream, lipton's onion soup mix.

                                        1. I posted a curry carrot dip that was fantastic. This one looks very close:http://www.indianchild.com/Recipes/di...

                                          Hubby recently tricked guests by making the knorr's veg spinach dip with reduced cottage cheese and pureed it (everyone raved about it


                                          I love cottage cheese mixed with that Harry & David's smokey hot relish.

                                          I also love reduced fat cream cheese block with pepper jelly over the top.

                                          I absolutely love home made hummus (normal and Edamame is my favorite)

                                          I've been making most of my typical dips with the greek yogurt (fage?), I like the flavor much better then reduced fat sour cream.

                                          1. I have been making the following, which doesn't really have a name (the recipe called it a Throne...) Guests LOVE these and they go quickly.

                                            Mix cream cheese and blue cheese in a 1:1 ratio. Top a dried apricot with the mixture and a toasted pecan.

                                            Goes great with champagne or a sparking wine.

                                            Here's a similar recipe that I found on line:


                                            1. I make a fava bean dip, basically frozen fava beans thawed into he food processor, a bit of olive oil, salt pepper juice of half a lemon, plus some zest, mint leaves. puree. put on crostini with pecorino shaves. There is some oil but not much and the fava is very healthy. This makes a nice sandwich too with veggies on a wrap or pita. it is a beautiful color too, which is so key especially if you are trying to serve something less rich.