Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Budget Friendly (and Delicious!) Holiday Dip

The Topic: Making a budget-friendly, super-simple, and super-good vegan hors d'oeuvre, fast, with Associate Publisher Colleen Holland

The Dish: On the recent VegNews Vegan Yoga Retreat in Mexico, we left with more than just rejuvenated spirits, stretched-out bodies, and new-found friendships. With us came a recipe none of us were going to leave Mexico without. Each day at lunch and dinner, Executive Chef Hugo Gutiérrez started our meal with a pitcher of homemade agua fresca, a basket of baked tortilla chips, and a colorful vegetable-based dip that disappeared before we could say uno mas, por favor. All week long, we pondered what could possibly be in these smooth, vibrant dips—and waited patiently until the scheduled cooking class to learn the secret behind Chef Hugo's beloved appetizer.

To our surprise, these dips are an absolute cinch to make, and cost just pennies per serving. Perfect for last-minute company or a post-workday gathering with friends, you simply need fresh bread or vegetables to accompany the dip—and a bottle of Champagne or sparkling cider to wash it down. Salud!

Chef Hugo's Famous Vegan Dip
This simple-to-prepare dip takes on the color of the base vegetable you use. Want to really dazzle guests? Whip up a batch each of carrot, beet, and broccoli for a super-impressive orange, pink, and green combination. 

Possible vegetable bases:
Beet, carrot, eggplant, tomatillo, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, or bell pepper

What You Need:

2 cups desired vegetable, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled
Juice of half a fresh lime
3/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

What You Do:
  1. Steam or boil vegetable until soft and brightly colored. Drain water.
  2. When vegetables are still hot (very important), place in Vitamix or blender along with garlic and lime juice.
  3. Blend until smooth, and slowly stream in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The Final Word: This delicious dip is seriously that easy. Get creative and use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and try any combinations that pique your interest (red pepper-eggplant sounds superb). Happy holidays!


  1. These dips look amazing! And so simple too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. omg! 3/4 cup oil? Fat vegans unite!

  3. No joke! 1200 calories of oil for 2 cups of cooked veggies...that is a decadent dip. But hey, I guess it's the holidays!

  4. I love the vibrant colors and simplicity of this dip! I've never heard of a recipe quite like this one. It does seem to have lots of oil though so I think this would def be a dip I'd save for special occasions or when having guests over. After trying the full fat version I might try cutting the oil down a bit and see if it still tastes as good.

  5. What is the difference in taste when using olive oil as opposed to avocado oil? Obviously olive oil is much more budget friendly than avocado, but if the dip you had in Mexico was great and was made with avocado oil, I wonder if it still would be as good when made with olive oil.

  6. These sound great! I bet they'd be good too if you added in some nuts, maybe in place of some of the oil!

  7. This sounds AND looks amazing! Can't wait to make this. I like another commenter's idea to add nuts in place of or to decrease the oil, too. I swear... Raw cashews are the best thing to happen to vegan foods. haha

  8. I cant wait to try this!!!