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.


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


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


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.