If you like hosting house parties but are always scrambling for ideas on what to serve your guests, organising a party can be stressful. This is especially true if you don’t want to go the usual route of ordering food off a catering menu.
Well, look no further. Homemade dips make for an exciting combination with just about any finger food. Bonus: These will go easy on your waistline too!
But why homemade dips?
Homemade dips get our vote because they provide all the conveniences of finger foods, and then some.
For one, they don’t require piles of dishes and cutlery (less clean up!). In terms of preparation and storage, they’re hassle-free too. With just a food processor, you can churn out a large batch in the same time it takes to prepare a cheese platter or fruit skewers. They’re also easier to store than larger, crumblier options like pastries.
Are homemade dips healthy?
Homemade dips lend themselves well to portion control, allowing guests to sample an assortment of nibbles without gorging themselves.
This part is important because research shows that eating with others could cause you to subconsciously increase your food intake up to 29% to 48%! That’s because we’re likelier to overeat when we’re distracted and having a good time.
Moreover, dips aren’t quite like processed party fare (such as cold cuts, cheeses, crackers and confectionaries) which can be eaten on their own. Dips pair well with fruits and vegetables – foods that wouldn’t normally pass off for yummy finger food. It’s a fantastic excuse to introduce more greens to your buffet spread! Your guests will appreciate having a nutritious option that’s not always available in social gatherings.
With these tasty homemade dip recipes, you won’t have to dread stepping on the weighing scale the next day.
Homemade dip 1: Yogurt with caramelised onions and chives
Sour cream and onion is an addictive flavour combination. This one is better for you because yogurt contains probiotics that facilitate the workings of your digestive system, while also preventing bloat. Caramelising the onions does take some time, but you only need a few readily available ingredients to make this dip!
1 large onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup yogurt
10 chive stems (minced)
Salt (to taste)
Cut the onion into 0.5cm slices.
In a pan with a wide base, add two tablespoons of olive oil and warm up over medium heat. Add the onions and saute. Tip: If your pan is not wide enough, add the onions in batches or they will steam instead of caramelising. Start with one handful, let the slices wilt down and move them to the side before adding the next handful.
Once the onions have wilted, turn the heat down to medium-low. Sprinkle some salt and stir the onions occasionally for the next 25-30 minutes until they turn golden brown. If they stick to the pan or if brown spots start to form at the bottom, add a dash of water and mix the liquid back into the onions. Once done, cool the onions to room temperature.
Set aside one tablespoon of the onions and one teaspoon of the chives. Mix up the remaining onions and chives into the yogurt. Season the mixture to taste with salt and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
Before serving, stir the dip together again if the yogurt has separated. Garnish with the reserved chives and onions.
Pairing suggestion: This is a fairly loose dip! Serve with lettuce leaves, broccoli and pita chips.
Homemade dip 2: Mango and tomato salsa
You can’t have a list of dips without including salsa. This nutritious crowd favourite gets a fruity twist when you add sweet mango, which contrasts well with the tanginess of tomato and lime juice.
½ white onion
Small bunch of coriander
½ bell pepper (any colour)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tsp lime juice (about 1 small lime)
Chilli powder (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, coriander and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces and pour them into a food processor. Add the garlic, lime juice, chilli powder and salt. Pulse a few times till the dip reaches your preferred consistency.
Dice the mango and add to the mix. Let the salsa stand for 30 minutes before serving.
Pairing suggestion: The freshness of the salsa will accentuate roasted vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower and sweet potato.
Homemade dip 3: Beet hummus
Not only is this winsome dip packed with satisfying protein, its vivid pink hues will make it an Instagrammable standout on the buffet table.
2 400g-cans of chickpeas
1 small beetroot (boiled/steamed/roasted)
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Parsley for garnishing (optional)
Add all the ingredients except the parsley into the food processor. Blend to your desired consistency.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Top with parsley and serve.
Pairing suggestion: This dip is on the stiff side. Enjoy it with toasted pita, carrots, sliced bell pepper, cucumber and celery.
Homemade dip 4: Smoky eggplant dip
A staple in Levantine cuisine, smoky and creamy eggplant dips can convert the staunchest carnivore. They’re also substantial enough as a dinner option without being too heavy.
3 medium eggplants
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
1 clove garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
⅓ cup tahini
Salt (to taste)
Olive oil (optional)
Pierce the eggplants all over with a knife or fork. Turn on your gas stove to high and lay the eggplants right above the flame, turning every five minutes or so. You want the skin to char, which will take about 15 minutes. If you don’t have a gas stove, slice the eggplants lengthwise, place them in a baking sheet with the cut side down and roast at 230°C for 20 minutes.
Place the softened eggplants in a deep bowl and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Once they’ve cooled down, remove the skin which should now peel off easily. It’s fine to leave some blackened bits (there’s no need to rinse).
Mix all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Blend on low until the mixture is viscous.
Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Pairing suggestion: Besides pita or plain crackers, this dip sits well with tangy ingredients. Think dill pickles, apple slices, tomato wedges and marinated olives.
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