Everyone loves a dip. Is there an easier way to entertain than to pick up a stack and lay them out with some chips and crudités? It’s second nature. But maybe instead of leaning on them for starters, it’s time we asked them to do a bit more for us.
Dips for dinner, you ask? Yup. It’s totally a thing. Here are four ways to turn your favourites into more than just mezze. Tuck in.Hummus
This silky combination of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and lemon is the saviour of many solo dining sessions. Just add some carrots and you’re sorted. Yet there are plenty of other ways to put hummus to work. Try thinning it with a little warm water and using it as a dressing for pasta, or grain salad with olives, diced tomato and peppers. You can add it to flatbreads, along with za’atar dusted zucchini and red onion slivers, bake in a hot oven until crispy, then top with lemon juice dressed rocket and mint. Dollop it into pumpkin soup instead of double cream, or use it to bind leftover roast chicken and chopped celery for a sandwich filling. You can also use it as a base for this tasty tumble of spiced lamb mince, roast nuggets of eggplant, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. (It’s worth making double of the mince and keeping some stashed in your freezer for when you need a delicious dinner and only have a few minutes to pull something together). Recipe here
A good salsa is worth its weight in gold. This cheeky combination of tomatoes, spice and acidity brightens up any burger or burrito, can add a kick to any chilli and is often a head start to a casserole (add your protein of choice, one or two complimentary veg then simmer until cooked through and serve with quinoa or rice). It’s a sneaky way to stuff an omelette (just add cheese) and the same principle applies to baked potatoes. It also makes a great nest for baked eggs. Just take your favourite salsa, add some fresh cherry tomatoes and warm through on the hob. Then transfer to ramekins and top with eggs and some Greek yoghurt (it helps to protect the yolks while the whites cook). Bake until the whites are set and serve with pita breads for dipping. Perfect for breakfast, dinner, or any time when the mood strikes. Recipe here.----------Baba Ganoush
It’s pretty easy to make your own baba ganoush. So long as you have access to a flame and a good extraction fan. If you don’t feel like blistering an eggplant until it crumples like a busted pinata then scooping the insides and blending it together with tahini until smooth, then never fear. There are some excellent versions you can buy ready-made. Try drizzling it over roasted sweet potato wedges and topping with black sesame seeds, as a dipping sauce for kofta, or using it to bind together a tian of roast pepper slices and grilled eggplant and feta cheese. Or you could use it to add richness and smoky tang to a supper of quickly baked ready-prepped felafel, with pickled chillis and a salad of shaved cucumber, mint and radish. Meatless Monday never got so simple. Recipe here.----------Guacamole
Yes, you always want extra guac. On most things. Particularly when it’s made with the best avocados, coriander and fresh lime juice. It turns a fish taco into a feast, is a fast friend to poached and fried eggs, shines on a steak sandwich and transforms the suburban American football watching dish; a multi layered dip, into a perfect barely-cook dinner. You can plate this as a shared mound, but individual portions allow it to hold its shape better. It couldn’t be easier. Just warm some beans with chipotle and diced onion, then layer it with pico de gallo salsa, guac and some goat cheese. It’s a savoury trifle that deserves to be taken seriously. All you then need are some tortilla strips, or corn chips for crunch. Recipe here.----------