A good dip for raw veggies?
December 15, 2014 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I have volunteered to bring a vegetable tray to my in-laws' holiday gathering this weekend, and I'd like to take along a few dips for the veggies beyond the usual suspects. I also have some constraints, detailed within...

The constraints are these:

--at least one of the dips must be dairy-free and wheat-/gluten-free
--I will be preparing everything a day or two before, and bringing it to a location a few hours away by car
--I may have access to a microwave, but I do not know if a stove will be available (the party is at a small hotel).
--Not hummus; I made some (excellent) roasted red pepper hummus for this group last year and it was not very well received.

Additional information: I'm an experienced cook, and live in a city where I can probably get most any ingredient.
posted by Janta to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Hit post too soon -- I meant to add that I'd looked at previous questions like this, and found this, but that was a few years back, and I also have some requirements not in that previous question.
posted by Janta at 6:03 PM on December 15, 2014

Best answer: Guacamole would be good for gluten-free, dairy free choice, and people like it on veggies. (weird, depraved people.)

Green Goddess is an oldie but a goodie.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2014

Oh, for the guacamole, assemble the stuff you're putting into the avocado, but wait to make it until you get where you're going. Throw the seed into the dip bowl to keep it from getting brown.

My recipe

Chopped tomato
Chopped green onion
Chopped green chiles (El Paso or Ortega in a can)
Lime juice
Shot of hot sauce (to taste)

Throw it in a plastic container for travel and mix together in a bowl before serving.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:08 PM on December 15, 2014

Something ranch related. Everyone loves ranch.

Also my fave is French Onion Dip which is exactly as weird as it sounds and 10x more delicious.
posted by hepta at 6:12 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

How about broad bean and mint dip? Or baba ghanoush? Those are my go-to dips after houmous, and both are dairy and gluten free. Tzatziki is lovely too, but not dairy-free.
posted by tinkletown at 6:15 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pickled vegetables (carrot slivers, cauliflower bits, asparagus spears, etc.). Can be eaten without a dip.
posted by JackBurden at 6:21 PM on December 15, 2014

Salmon, Dill and Cream Cheese. I use smoked salmon, and you can cut it with greek yogurt to thin it if needed.

I also do it with smoked salmon, a pack of Philly, and a pack of Boursin.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:21 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

What about a white bean dip? Or is that too much like hummus?
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 6:24 PM on December 15, 2014

Oh my goodness tahini dip is SO DELICIOUS. But add some minced fresh ginger to this recipe. Trust me.
posted by workerant at 6:30 PM on December 15, 2014

Muhammara is delicious. For those who eat dairy: whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers (Aleppo, Urfa, red bell).
posted by rebekah at 6:35 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Silken tofu is an incredible non-dairy dip ingredient. This recipe from The Garden of Vegan is super delicious. You just have to blend together these ingredients (but add the pickles in after everything else is already creamy):

3/4 cup soft or silken tofu
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2-3 medium dill pickles roughly chopped
posted by peacebone at 6:46 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I made some (excellent) roasted red pepper hummus for this group last year and it was not very well received

Do you happen to know why? Was it just too "foreign" or specifically too strange/inedible* with the roasted red peppers?

*I find them loathsome, though I will eat any other kind of hummus. Also, some people do not understand that red bell peppers are not hot.

If these folks are brave enough eaters, this is the Toum of my soul. Yes, it is emulsified raw garlic, dairy and gluten-free (and you can probably skip the egg, if you have a stick blender cup that's made for emulsifying), and it is beautiful.

You could make Ranch from powder (gluten free), vegan mayo, and soy/tofu sour cream. I had this at a party recently and my only complaint is that it was very stiff even for a dip and needed a tablespoon or so of water or something. It was otherwise pretty normal Ranch.

Roasted Tomato and Onion Dipping Sauce - vegan and gluten free.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:47 PM on December 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We just had a big cocktail party with a table full of appetizers and everything was eaten but no one touched the veggies with a few interesting dips. I'm tempted to advise you not to put a ton of effort into your veggie offering because it might be unappreciated like your yummy hummus.
posted by cecic at 6:48 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love this tahini-miso dressing. Vegan-friendly, quick and easy and delicious.
posted by bunderful at 6:48 PM on December 15, 2014

Surprised about "Not hummus," and not sure if that just means "Not chickpea hummus" or "Nothing vaguely like hummus at all." Could you try beet hummus? Recipe 1, recipe 2 (no chickpeas).

I really like to make dips with basil pesto. Pesto blended with cream cheese or goat cheese, probably (or tahini?). Make the basil pesto from scratch if that suits you.

I also make a spicy lime-cilantro yogurt (or sour cream) dip. Make this paste in a blender and then add plain greek yogurt, or sour cream, to taste (as concentrated or not as you like):
2 tbsp water
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon canned pickled jalapeño, minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Once you blend the paste with the yogurt (about a cup, maybe more) you can also add extra lime juice/zest, jalepenos, etc. to taste.
posted by amaire at 6:57 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

ALSO! I love vegetables, but less so most raw ones. I really, really like it when the veggie tray has lightly steamed (still firm finger food) carrots, asparagus, green beans, zucchini/squash strips, portobello mushroom strips. Cooked then chilled is fine.

I am one of those people who will avoid the veggie tray if it is raw baby carrots and celery sticks and cherry tomatoes, but dig in if the veggies are lightly steamed.
posted by amaire at 7:00 PM on December 15, 2014

Does it have to be something you prepare yourself? If not...I like to dip fruits and veggies in almond butter.
posted by barnoley at 7:07 PM on December 15, 2014

Roasted garlic - roast 2 bulbs, smoosh out the goodness and mix with whole egg mayo.

This is a weird one, Kiwi Dip - One packet of french onion soup mixed into a can of reduced cream.
posted by Youremyworld at 7:10 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

This spicy pepper and feta dip is really good with veggies. I couldn't find cherry peppers so I made do with a couple of poblanos and a jalapeño or two. It didn't have the nice red color, but it was still really tasty.
posted by Fig at 7:26 PM on December 15, 2014

My go-to dip is incredibly easy: mash a ripe avocado with garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can use pre-crushed garlic from a tube and pre-juiced lemons from a bottle. Doesn't matter. Still tastes fantastic.

I've made various fancy dips over the years but this simple one always goes the fastest.

The only downside is that you have about four hours before it starts to blacken, so you need to make it the morning of your event. But it literally takes about three minutes.
posted by Georgina at 7:35 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't have a recipe for it, but edamame hummus is amazing. There used to be a wonderful premade one at Trader Joe's but it got recalled and hasn't returned.
posted by radioamy at 8:02 PM on December 15, 2014

This onion tofu dip is delicious and travels well.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:12 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peanut sauce/dip, gluten* and dairy free: half unsweetened ("natural") peanut butter, half coconut milk, half teaspoon of fish sauce, slightly greater amounts of soy sauce* and rice wine vinegar (maybe half a tablespoon each) and a bit of finely minced garlic. I also add a bit of palm sugar (you can substitute regular sugar) and red pepper flakes.

*if your gluten free people actually have coeliac disease (where a couple of gluten molecules can make them really sick) and aren't just avoiding gluten for other reasons, you can use regular salt instead of soy sauce or try to find the gluten-free kind.
posted by cilantro at 10:44 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ve-gan cheese! Ve-gan cheese! Ve-gan cheese!

Hear me out. I'm not vegan, but I love this stuff. They're not so much cheeses as they are savory umami spreads of deliciousness. The best ones hit cheese-ish notes of saltiness, sharp aged-ness, maybe some sourness, some richness, lots of complexity. I often eat them straight, with a spoon, because I'm slightly obsessed. Jo Stepaniak's Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook has the best recipes, and a lot of them have been posted online.

Her crock cheez, which is meant to be sort of like those grainy "pub cheese" spreads, is awesome. With these recipes in general I recommend putting 2-3 times the amount of seasoning, to taste. In particular, put in tons of nutritional yeast. I like the addition of a touch of liquid smoke, too.

Cashew cheese is another wonderful variation. It's amazing how creamy blended raw cashews that have been soaked in water for a few hours will become. I tend to use the same spices that I do for the crock cheez, and it's super easy because you don't have to cook it. Sweeter, a little milder, super creamy. Neither is all that hummus-y in my mind but this one is even less so because of the lack of tahini.

Both improve with being made a day or two before, to the point that it's practically required. You need a food processor, too. And since they're animal-product-free, I don't worry about letting them sit out a little longer (during travel, for instance) than I would some other products.
posted by spelunkingplato at 11:14 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

This one from Andrew, the One Ingredient Chef, is amazing:


Here, let me give that 10 out of 5 stars: **********
posted by hz37 at 1:16 AM on December 16, 2014

Make an olive tapenade: 1 unit (no need to be fussy) each of black olives, green olives, capers, (all drained), tuna in olive oil, anchovies, cup or so of Parmesan cheese, handful of fresh basil, garlic and whirl in a food processor until grainy with a little more olive oil as needed. Throw a little pita on the platter for the veggie haters. It sounds nasty but it is delish.
posted by carmicha at 3:04 AM on December 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not dairy-free but super easy & delicious: kimchi & cream cheese. I have no idea how much of each- it depends on how wet your kimchi is, but you just throw some in the food processor with a blob of cream cheese & pulse. Add one or the other ingredients until it's a good consistency.
posted by dogmom at 4:52 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to be a cheese buyer for a fancy store, and we made and sold lots of dips. This was one of the most popular:

1) In a food processor, add [quantity] of cream cheese (brick style, not whipped), cut into chunks.

2) Process a few seconds until smooth, then add [quantity] of Pace* picante sauce (mild, med, or hot) and [quantity] of fresh cilantro (optional). Pulse until incorporated.

3) There is no step three.

Since you mentioned you're an experienced cook I'm confident you can play the quantities by ear! I know it's not fancy but people (including me) freaking love this.

*It doesn't have to be Pace, but it should have the same consistency; a fresh or homemade salsa fresca will be too watery.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:58 AM on December 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's one nobody's mentioned yet: Enchilada sauce. As in: it comes in cans in the Mexican food section of your local supermarket, there's typically a red and a green variety, as well as Mild and Hot. I'm looking at a can of Red right now and it has one allergen warning for "Soy".

You can serve it hot or cold. It's got the consistency of tomato sauce - thinner than most cream-cheese dips, but not excessively runny or drippy. Heating it for awhile would probably thicken it up a bit. A few drops of Tabasco if you want to increase the spice level.

It's super-cheap (about $1 for a 15oz can) and it tastes good, and it's got a character that is probably different from your other dips.
posted by doctor tough love at 5:23 AM on December 16, 2014

Response by poster: I actually wimped out on the veggie tray option and went with making a big batch of guacamole (avocados, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt) that went over pretty well. Also made some pickled carrots. I am definitely going to try making a bunch of these dips in the future though -- we have regular get-togethers with friends and it's always good to have some new things to snack on!
posted by Janta at 12:10 PM on December 22, 2014

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