Three great dips to dive into at your next house party

Dips are notorious: salty, kilojoule-dense concoctions paired with carb-heavy dippers like potato chips, pretzels, and crackers. And most supermarket offerings have ingredient lists that read like a chemical spill. The homemade dips here taste better, are better for you, and require only a little work. And all come in under 800kJ per ⅓-cup serving.

Smoky Black-Bean Dip

Most black-bean dips are fairly healthful; the problem is that they often don’t taste very good. This one employs ricotta for extra creaminess, parma ham and smoked paprika for a double hit of smokiness, and plenty of aromatics for layers of flavor.

What You’ll Need
1 can (400g) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup low-fat ricotta
100g parma ham, chopped
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 shallot, chopped, OR ¼ small red onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt

How to Make It
1 Place the beans in a food processor and pulse several times to break them up.
2 Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
Makes 3½ cups

Stout Cheese Dip

It has beer. It has cheese. And it’s still not a belly buster.

What You’ll Need
2 cups grated low-fat Cheddar
1 shallot, chopped, OR ¼ small red onion, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup low-fat sour cream
¼ cup stout or dark beer (like Guinness)

How to Make It
1 Place the Cheddar, shallot, spring onions, grainy mustard, horseradish, rosemary,
and salt in a food processor, and pulse several times
to combine.
2 Add the sour cream and beer; blend until smooth.
Makes 2½ cups

Caramelised Onion Dip

Who says you need a packet of soup mix? Actual caramelised onions lend savoury depth to this dip, while protein-filled Greek yoghurt adds creaminess.

What You’ll Need
1 tbsp butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
¾ cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp fresh sage or rosemary, chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

How to Make It
1 Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them until they soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vinegar.
2 Reduce the heat to medium low, cover pan, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally; add garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl.
3 Add the mushrooms to the frying pan. Raise the heat to medium and cook them until tender, about 5 minutes.
4 Let the onions and mushrooms cool, and puree them in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Makes 3 cups

The Big Dippers

Sure, standard tortilla chips do the job, but they won’t score many points with a crowd. Instead, dip with a range of colourful, crunchy raw vegetables along with your choice of these alternative scoops.

BILTONG

Packed with hunger-quelling protein. Try gamier meat like kudu or springbok, or go even healthier with ostrich.

SWEET-POTATO FRIES

Lower in kilojoules than most potato chips, and adds an extra complexity and depth of flavour to sweeter dips.

SMOKY LIME PITA CHIPS

Shop-bought corn chips can be packed with excess oil. Best to bake your own instead. Slice two large wholegrain pitas into triangles and toss in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp salt. Bake on a baking tray at 180°C for 20 minutes, tossing once.