Photo via Pixabay and Ajale

Photo via Pixabay and Ajale

Summer is around the corner, and will be here before we know it! As the days get warmer and evenings get longer, summer barbeques, cookouts, and picnics happen more and more frequently. One of the best ways to “beat the heat” is enjoying light, fresh food. The perfect appetizer for a summer evening is cool dip with fresh veggies. While classic Ranch dip is always a winner, two versions we love are hummus and tzatziki.

Hummus is a spread made from ground up chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) that is then blended with tahini (sesame seed “butter”), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. It originated in Egypt, and is a staple food throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and has become quite popular in the Western world, too. Traditionally it is served with pita (flatbread), or inside a falafel with grilled chicken, fish, or eggplant. As a dip, it tastes great with any kind of flatbread and vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and sweet peppers.

Tzatziki is a Greek dip made of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Dill is often used to give the dip more flavor. Traditionally it is served with grilled meats or flatbread, but tastes delicious as a vegetable dip or even spread on sandwiches or burgers.

Both of these healthy, refreshing dips are very easy to make and require simple ingredients. Here are some basic recipes you can try for yourself:

Simple Hummus Recipe

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

2 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) – reserve the liquid

4 tsp. tahini

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp. sea salt

6 tbsp. olive oil

3 ½ tbsp. lemon juice

Optional garnish: paprika, coriander, parsley leaves, olive oil

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and add to food processor.
  2. Add tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice, and 7 tablespoons of liquid reserved from cans (if you don’t have enough, substitute with water.)
  3. Turn on the food processor, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while it runs.
  4. Once the mixture is combined and smooth, add it to a serving dish and add garnishes as desired.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Simple Tzatziki Recipe

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

½ English cucumber

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

4 cloves of garlic, pressed

1/3 chopped fresh dill

1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Peel the cucumber, grate it using a cheese grater, and strain it of excess water (do this by squeezing it in cheesecloth or through a fine mesh strainer).
  2. Combine the cucumber with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, up to overnight.

Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen