Connecticut Voice

Your LGBTQ+ Voice

Dip Into Deliciousness

By Amy White


A good dip is the unsung hero of any get-together. Whether it’s game day, cocktail hour or time at the pool, dips elevate snacks and turn veggies from “Blah!” to “Ahhh!” Making dips at home adds good healthy choices to the dip equation. Homemade dips combine the freshness of ingredients (which equals fresher flavor), the opportunity for nearly endless customization, and the satisfaction of putting something delicious on the table for people to gather around.

Good ingredients are imperative for any recipe, but this is extremely true for dips, as typically little-to-no cooking is involved. Dips are easy to make when one considers their four main components. First, start with a base ingredient, which is usually a dairy product: cheese or cream cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream. Find a local dairy and support them by using one of their products. Some suggestions include Arethusa Farm (dairy stores in Bantam and New Haven, available in some markets as well), Smyth’s Trinity Farm (Enfield), Hastings Farm (Suffield), Woodstock Creamery (Woodstock) and Oakridge Dairy (Ellington), which is operating as The Modern Milkman and delivers to many different towns.

Add flavor with an herb, spice, extract or other condiment. A dash of hot sauce, a sprinkle of dill or a touch of paprika all work wonders. Texture is also important to a dip. Add crunch with seeds; add chunks with chopped vegetables. Or, leave it creamy, depending on what is you’re dipping. Finally, an often-forgotten ingredient is acid. A squeeze of citrus or a dash of vinegar can really brighten the flavor of a dip and give it additional depth. Choose fresh herbs over dried and a squeeze of a real lemon over a bottled lemon juice. Taste as you go. It’s much easier to add more seasoning than to take it out. Be mindful of consistency. If the dip is too thick, thin it out with a bit of olive oil or even water. Finally, make it ahead of time to allow the flavors to develop overnight in the refrigerator.

Here are a few inspirational dip ideas to start with. All three are gluten-free and vegetarian, and all three come courtesy of Connecticut chefs who are working at award-winning restaurants. The first is Beet Tahini Dip from Chef/Owner Emily Mingrone of Fair Haven Oyster Co., Tavern on State, and Provisions on State, all in New Haven. Mingrone was featured in CT Voice last fall and has been on Food Network’s Chopped and was the first female to win “Best Chef of the Year” in the CT Restaurant Associations “Crazies” Awards, which she did in 2021.

Pickle Dip comes from Chef Ruby Van Guilder of Fire by Forge in Hartford, runner-up for “Best Restaurant Newcomer” in the 2023 Crazies Awards, and one of Connecticut Magazine’s 2023 Best New Restaurants. Pickles have been trendy the past few years, with a pickle cupcake even finding its way to The Big E, courtesy of LuAnn’s Bakery in Ellington. So why not turn pickles into a dip?

Finally, Santorini Fava Dip, a favorite from Greca Mediterranean Kitchen + Bar in New Milford, comes courtesy of Chef/Owner Dino Kolitsas. Greca has won several Connecticut Magazine’s “Best of” awards, including Best Mediterranean/Greek Restaurant for the past three years. In this dip, “fava” is not fava beans, but Santorini fava, a protected designation of origin produce item from the volcanic island of Santorini which you can find at specialty Greek markets or websites. You can substitute with yellow split peas, which can be found in most grocery stores.

Oliver Putnam, the dip-obsessed character played by Martin Short on Hulu’s hit show Only Murders in the Building, exclaims in the second episode, “This is all I eat. Dips for dinner.” As much as that is an unusual (and definitely not a suggested) diet, with a little bit of creativity, just about anything can become a dip. Some infamous dips that have made their way around America’s tables include spinach and artichoke dip, onion soup dip, buffalo chicken dip, and even a dessert cannoli dip. If you can imagine it, you can dip it!


Beet Tahini Dip

(Gluten- and Dairy-Free)

Recipe courtesy of Chef/Owner Emily Mingrone of Fair Haven Oyster Co., Tavern on State, and Provisions on State, all in New Haven



2 large beets

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic

2 cups tahini

1¼ cups lemon juice

3 tablespoons salt

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Pepitas or other seeds for garnish



Boil the beets in salted water until they can be easily pierced with a toothpick or fork. Cool and peel. Slice into manageable pieces and place in a blender with water and garlic. Once blended, add tahini, lemon juice and salt. Continue blending and drizzle in olive oil. Garnish with pepitas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or whatever you wish. Serve with toast points


Pickle Dip (Gluten-Free)

Recipe courtesy of Chef Ruby Van Guilder,      Fire by Forge in Hartford


16 ounces pickles

1 cup pickle juice

1 quart sour cream

1½ cups cream cheese

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

½ bunch parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon hot sauce

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste



Remove the pickles from the jar and set aside a cup of the pickle juice. Chop the pickles in a food processor. Put all ingredients (including the chopped pickles and pickle juice) in stand mixer and mix on low speed using the paddle attachment, until combined into a whipped texture. Serve with chips.


Santorini Fava Dip

Recipe courtesy of Dino Kolitsas, Chef and Owner of Greca Mediterranean Bar + Kitchen in New Milford

(Note: Santorini fava is a protected designation of origin produce item from the volcanic island of Santorini which you can find at specialty Greek markets or websites. Yellow split peas, which can be found in most grocery stores, may be substituted.)



8 ounces Santorini fava (yellow split peas)

1 cup finely chopped spring onions (8-10 stalks)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil 

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf 

4 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Capers, for garnish

Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

Finely diced red onions, for garnish 



In a three-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except salt, pepper and garnishes. Over medium heat, bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Turn heat down to medium/low, cover and cook until the water is absorbed (approximately 35-40 minutes). The peas should be extremely soft. If necessary, add ½ cup warm water and continue cooking another until the desired consistency is reached (5-10 minutes). When the peas are almost disintegrated, remove the bay leaf, stir gently and taste before adding salt and pepper. Mix with a wooden spoon by gently pulling the mash up against the sides of the saucepan. If a smooth texture is desired, continue to mix in this way for 5-10 minutes. Can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Garnish with pickled red onions, capers and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with warm pita or a toasted rustic bread.