Skip to main content

Eat Your Veggies: Delicious And Healthy Dip Recipes From Chef Dave Becker

healthy dips
In the dead of winter, there are few things better than noshing on rich, flavorful foods with friends and family. With recipes ranging from from creamy kale and sausage soup and maple-roasted butternut squash to slow-cooked pot roast, it seems that winter is the season for intense flavors. But constantly eating heavy food can take a toll on your waistline. With spring and summer not far off, it’s time to switch gears to lighter fare. 

Eating well can be frustrating–it feels like you have to sacrifice flavor (sugar, fats, salt) in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But that doesn’t have to be the case. You can eat well and enjoy your food at the same time. We’ve written before about how easy it is to snack in a healthy way, but we’re taking it to the next level with these flavor bombs.

Related Videos

We talked to Chef Dave Becker, the owner/chef of Juniper in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Sweet Basil in Needham, Massachusetts, about eating well without eating bland. Becker developed three recipes for dips that are packed with flavor but still good for your waistline, and he’s sharing them with The Manual. Lucky us. Becker has been working in kitchens for over two decades, and he has an intuitive understanding of what makes food work. 

“You have to please all the senses with the food you make,” he says. “You don’t need to throw together a million ingredients, but play with temperature, texture, color. You know, hot and cold, soft and crisp. Let your mouth be surprised. And always let the ingredients speak for themselves.”

The recipes Becker has developed are all simple: they each have less than 10 ingredients (including salt and pepper), and they take less than ten minutes to make. But don’t let the simplicity deceive you. These dips are packed with flavor. To boot, they’re great for sharing. Never again will you grimace when you’re told to eat your veggies.

Note: The photos in this post are of halved recipes.


matbucha prep

8 tomatoes
2 red peppers
1 jalapeño
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
⅛ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
cayenne pepper to taste

Serves: 8-10 people

matbucha in skillet

Chop tomatoes and red peppers. Sauté them over medium heat until they are cooked down, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Add jalapeños, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with red chili flakes and paprika. Add cayenne to your liking. (Note: in the halved recipe, we still used an entire jalapeño, because we’re big fans of spicy food at The Manual.) Serve either warm or cold, though in taste testing, we preferred warm. Matbucha goes well with either tortilla chips or warm pita. 

matbucha healthy dip recipes

Pair with an American pale ale. The hint of citrus and bite of hops will go well with the kick of spice in the matbucha.


tzatziki prep

1 quart of plain Greek yogurt
4 cucumbers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of fresh dill
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Serves: 8-10 people

tzatziki in blender

Dice cucumbers and finely chop dill. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. (We used a Blendtec Designer 725, a high-powered blender our brother site, Digital Trends, reviewed in 2014. It was more than enough to do the trick.) Serve with warm pita, garlic naan or cherry tomatoes for dipping, or drizzle over grilled chicken or steak. Or even falafel. One of our taste testers even combined this with the edamame hummus with positive results. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this baby.

tzatziki healthy dip recipe

Pair with a blonde ale, which will pick up the subtle lemon tang in the tzatziki very well. It’s basically like summer in your mouth.

Edamame Hummus

edamame hummus prep

½ lb edamame beans (frozen or raw)
1 clove of fresh garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup water
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Serves: 6-8 people

edamame hummus blender

In a food processor, puree beans, garlic and water until smooth. Add olive oil to mixture and continue to puree. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with pita, chopped veggies (such as bell peppers or carrots), or tortilla chips. We even tried spreading it on whole wheat toast with a little kimchi butter, which was the perfect mid-day snack.

healthy dip recipes edamame hummus

Pair with a pilsner. This refreshingly delicate, almost floral beer tastes like it was made to enjoy with edamame hummus.

Editors' Recommendations

Improve your skin and eyes with these delicious foods high in vitamin A
Want more vitamin A in your life? Here are some foods that are full of the essential nutrient, which is great for your overall health
Foods high in vitamin A.

Most of us know that vitamin A is good for us, helping our eyes function at their very best. But there are plenty of other benefits as well, from dealing with inflammation and promoting healthy skin cells, keeping cancer at bay and giving an assist to the immune system. Not enough? Well, vitamin A is good for your bones too.

Think of vitamin A as a two-pronged essential nutrient. There's preformed vitamin A found in things like fish and carotenoids, which tend to show up in produce and plant-based foods. What's the best way to get your daily intake (an estimated 900 mcg for the average man)? A well-balanced diet, of course. But there are definitely some things work targeting the next time you're at the farmer's market or grocery store.

Read more
Low-cholesterol diets: The dos and don’ts you need to know
Your guide to eating a low cholesterol diet for a healthy heart
low cholesterol foods.

When you think of cholesterol, you likely associate it with being something negative. While this can be true in some instances, as excessively high cholesterol levels (hyperlipidemia) are associated with an increased risk of diseases like heart disease and atherosclerosis, cholesterol serves a purpose in the body. It is a precursor for manufacturing certain hormones, it is involved in the production of vitamin D, and it forms s structural component in cell membranes. So, as you can see, it does some good for us, so learning how to eat a low-cholesterol diet will be beneficial for you all around!
Certain risk factors for high cholesterol are out of your control. For example, there is certainly a genetic component to high cholesterol because the amount produced and the removal rate of LDL cholesterol in your body are partly determined by your genes. That said, the good news is that lifestyle modifications and practices can reduce and control your cholesterol, the primary of which is through following a low-cholesterol diet. A low-cholesterol diet isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, so keep reading for our complete low-cholesterol diet guide and start making strides toward lowering your cholesterol today.

Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally produced in the liver. There are several different types or classifications of cholesterol based on the characteristics of the molecules, but there are two primary types. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol.” High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered the “good” cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol actually helps remove excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. High LDL cholesterol levels increase the risk of atherosclerosis, or arterial hardening and plaque buildup, along with heart disease and other vascular diseases.

Read more
Save time and eat smart: 9 of the healthiest microwavable meals in 2023
Keep your freezer stocked with these healthy meals; You never know when you may be stuck at home again
healthiest microwavable meals orange mango chicken

If Covid taught us anything, it's that what was once a thoughtless, easy thing like a trip to the grocery store can quickly, and without much warning, become a difficult task. Without sounding too paranoid, it's important to make sure we're prepared for a lengthy stay at home, for any number of reasons. A Covid resurgence, a zombie apocalypse, you name it. One of those preparations should be ensuring we have enough room in our freezers for a hearty supply of frozen foods.

You've probably noticed that food companies have really upped their game in the last few years. If you've had the chance to sample some frozen meals, you might have noticed that some of them actually look like their picture on the box. It's shocking because TV dinners were the original catfishers with their profile pics, long before that dating app you're using took the idea and ran with it.

Read more