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Dips for Crudités Trays

by Elizabeth Skipper | June 23rd, 2015 | Ask the Chef
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Vegetable tray

When I make a crudité tray, I always make a dip using sour cream and a packet of salad dressing mix. I want to try something different; do you have any suggestions? (I typically include carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, and broccoli as the veggies, in case that matters.)

Ranch dip and that other perennial, Lipton’s onion soup mix with sour cream, certainly have their followings. They’re familiar, and most people like them. However, they’re predictable and do get boring – not to mention the fact that there are a lot of questionable ingredients in the packets we might prefer to avoid.

Fortunately, there are tons of other choices for dipping your veggies into. There’s blue cheese dip and ranch dip, familiar in their ready-made versions but fabulous when homemade.

In fact, lots of salad dressing flavors are good with vegetables. They just need to be thick enough not to be drippy. A nice change of pace is mayonnaise-based Green Goddess dressing with its mustard, garlic, parsley, tarragon, capers, and anchovies.   

Hummus can be purchased in different flavors, and you can make your own with an even wider range of additions; I’ve seen sweet potato, ginger-garlic, artichoke, and buffalo-style, for example.

What about seafood? Clam dip, smoked salmon dip, or bluefish pâté needn’t be relegated to the cracker tray. They go well with most vegetables.

Non-dairy choices include dips based on legumes like white beans or tofu. I’d give my eye teeth to have the recipe for a sunflower seed-based dip made by my local artisan baker. It has chipotle chiles and cilantro in it, but I’m unsure what else. It is delicious!

You can even dip vegetables into themselves. Baba ganoush is made with cooked eggplant, and so is a sesame eggplant salsa I’ve made. Cooked, puréed spinach and carrots make good dips, as do roasted vegetables like red peppers. The sky’s the limit for dipping.

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