Dynamite dips

Mar 22, 2010 at 2:19 p.m. ET

A dinner fest or a cocktail party is a delicious way to bring people together. An assortment of finger foods and dazzlingly flavored dips will get the party started and keep your guests happily and healthfully well-fed.

Variety of Dips

Dynamite Dip Recipes

Though store-bought spreads are an easy grab, whipping up the following dips is fast and easy with a blender or food processor, and you can brag that they were made fresh in your own kitchen.

For your convenience, dips can be made two to three days ahead of your event and stored covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to plate your appetizers. Dips will taste better at room temperature so set them out 30 to 45 minutes before your first guests are expected to arrive. 

This array of dips is simply a starting point for your kitchen creativity! Try different spices, fresh herbs, flavored soft cheeses, citrus, and other favorite ingredients to blend dips that truly suit your tastes. Dips are handy to have in the refrigerator for snack attacks or to use in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches or wraps.

Baba Ganoush
Makes 2 cups

Baba Ganoush is a Middle Eastern spread and dip that is similar to hummus, but is made with eggplant instead of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Eggplant is much lower in carbohydrates than chickpeas, which makes it an appealing choice when blending dips for a party. Eggplant has six grams of carbohydrates per cup, while chickpeas have 44 grams carbohydrates per cup.

2 (1/2 pound each) eggplants
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter) or peanut butter
Juice and minced zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Poke holes in the eggplants with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until fork-tender and skin is slightly charred and almost black. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, place tahini or peanut butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper in a blender. Blend for 10 to 20 seconds.

3. Half eggplants lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape eggplant flesh into blender. Discard the skin. Puree eggplant and tahini mixture until smooth. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and sprinkle with parsley and paprika. Serve warm or at room temperature with baked whole wheat pita wedges, crudités, or eat lavishly with a spoon.

Nutritional analysis
Per 2 tablespoons: 42 calories, 27 calories from fat, 3g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 3g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g protein, 20mg sodium, 5mg calcium, less than 1mg iron

Apricot Goat Cheese Dip
Makes 2 cups

Creamy, tangy, slightly sweet, and healthy, this lush dip is deluxe enough to eat with a spoon. Fresh apricots, warm Serrano, and uplifting mint become a dreamy blend with the earthy-flavored goat cheese. Cream cheese can be substituted if goat cheese is not available.


2 fresh ripe apricots, halved, pitted, minced
1 Serrano chili, halved, seeded, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
1 cup goat cheese, soft variety
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds

Place apricots, Serrano, mint, goat cheese, and yogurt in a blender or food processor. Blend until ingredients are incorporated and small bits of apricot and chili are visible. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with sliced toasted almonds. Serve with wholegrain cocktail toasts, skewers of olives, or crudités.

Nutritional analysis
Per 2 tablespoons: 55 calories, 32 calories from fat, 4g fat, 8mg cholesterol, 1g carbs, less than 1g fiber, 29g protein, 62mg sodium, 39mg calcium, less than 1mg iron

Pistachio Orange Dip
Makes 1-1/2 cups

This is a versatile dip that can be served savory with vegetables and crackers or served sweet with cut fresh fruit or skewers of low-carb dessert cake. If serving sweet, omit the chives and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Splenda or other sugar substitute.

1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
Zest of an orange, minced
Juice of an orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)


Combine cream cheese with the orange zest, juice, oil, mint and coriander; process until all ingredients are well-blended. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chives. Add finely-ground pistachios (pulse in a food processor or blender).

Nutritional analysis
Per 2 tablespoons: 110 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10g fat, 16mg cholesterol, 3g carbs, less than 1g fiber, 2g protein, 60mg sodium, 30mg calcium, less than 1mg iron

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Makes 2-1/4 cups

A delectable blend of spinach, artichoke, and cheese -- the quintessential dip for a dinner gathering or finger food fest. Serve in a hollowed bowl of whole wheat sourdough for a showy presentation. Serve warm for the best flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

2. Add slightly damp spinach leaves to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, to combine garlic oil and spinach leaves, until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in artichoke hearts. Let mixture cool slightly.

3. Place cream cheese, parmesan, and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add spinach artichoke mixture and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with crudités, baked crackers, or low-carb toasts.

Nutritional analysis
Per 2 tablespoons: 64 calories, 54 calories from fat, 6g fat, 15mg cholesterol, 1g carbs, less than 1g fiber, 2g protein, 100mg sodium, 38mg calcium, less than 1mg iron