A dear friend of mine recently asked for some suggestions for an appetizer that would hold up a couple days due to her hectic schedule. She needed a somewhat upscale appetizer to take to an upscale party and after much thought, I came up with these colorful little dip cups that we like to call Mediterranean Dip Shooters. Why these? Well, they fit the bill on multiple levels. They used many pre-made items from the grocery store, which made them easier than purely homemade. They hold up a number of days because they are in small glasses, which can be easily covered with plastic wrap until you need them. They are attractive to look at with the four different colors and the garnishes and they taste great. If you don’t want to make all four and just want to put one in a bowl with chips, go right ahead. There are no rules with food, so make them as simple or complicated as you want.
These shooters are four different dips layered in three ounce shooter cups. Each dip contains different ingredients that are found in the mediterranean. The four dips are; a kalamata olive dip, a pesto arugula and grilled artichoke dip, a four cheese mushroom dip and a roasted red pepper/ sun-dried tomato dip. The kalamata olive dip is made by combining Tassos brand Mediterranean Olive Spread, red pepper flakes and cottage cheese in a food processor and pulsing it until smooth. The pesto dip is made the same way, except it contains prepared pesto from the store(homemade would be better), fresh arugula, and drained grilled artichoke hearts. You can use plain or marinated artichoke hearts if you want. The four cheese mushroom dip is made with a ton of Wisconsin cheeses. We used Sargento Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, BelGioioso Mascarpone Cheese, Roth Buttermilk Gorgonzola and Stella Parmesan cheeses, and a little mayo, sour cream and white truffle oil or wild mushroom oil. I purchased the white truffle and wild mushrooms oils at a local oil and vinegar shop. You can omit these or substitute ground porcini mushrooms if you want. Lastly, the red pepper/tomato dip combines Tassos brand Roasted Red Pepper Spread and a prepared sun-dried tomato spread.
Each dip makes about a cup and a half and each one is great on it’s own. However, when you layer these in small glasses, it creates a beautiful combination of flavors and colors that make a unique appetizer. Add some small hot or sweet peppers, vegetables or a slice of salami, and serve them with breadsticks for dipping and you have a self contained multi dip explosion of flavors that makes for fun eating. Remember the Fun Dip candy when you were a kid? That powdered sugar that you dip the candy stick into over and over until you were so hopped up on sugar you could hardly stand it? Well, this is savory, grown up version. Who doesn’t like cute little dips to dunk crunchy treats into? Ummm, nobody.
So, the next time you are trying to decide what to make for your next football party, think about trying these mediterranean dip shooters. Guess what? Any leftovers can be used for an awesome saucy meatball bake that is super easy, cheesy and delicious. We’ll show you how to make that in our next article, so stay tuned. Until then, remember to cook with love and live to cook.
Jim & Jena
- Olive Dip
- 12 ozs. Prepared kalamata olive spread such as Tassos brand
- ¼ cup Cottage cheese
- ½ tsp. Red pepper flakes
- Pesto Dip
- 1 cup Pesto, prepared
- 1 cup Arugula
- 1 cup Grilled artichoke hearts, drained
- Cheese Dip
- ½ cup Whole milk ricotta cheese such as Sargento
- ½ cup Mascarpone cheese such as BelGioioso
- 2 Tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled such as Roth
- 2 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese such as Stella
- 1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. Sour cream such as Organic Valley
- ½ tsp. White truffle or wild mushroom oil (optional)
- Roasted Pepper/Tomato Dip
- 1 cup Prepared roasted red pepper & cheese spread such as ]Tassos
- ½ cup Prepared sun-dried tomato spread, or sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- ½ cup Roasted Red peppers, drained
- 24 ea. Small pickled peppers
- 25 slices salami or pepperoni
- 50 ea. Thin breadsticks, cut in half
- 50 ea. Fresh parsley or basil leaves(optional)
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first three ingredients. Puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a one quart re-sealable plastic bag. Wash and dry food processor parts.
- Add ingredients for the pesto dip to the bowl of the food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a one quart re-sealable plastic bag. Wash and dry food processor parts.
- Add ingredients for the cheese dip to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a one quart re-sealable plastic bag. Wash and dry food processor parts.
- Add ingredients for the roasted pepper/tomato dip to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a one quart re-sealable plastic bag. Wash and dry food processor parts.
- Cut the tip from one corner of each bag. Squeeze about 1 tablespoon of each mixture into 24 / 3 oz. shooter glass in whatever order you'd like.
- Garnish with small pickled peppers, a slice of salami or pepperoni, a sprig of parsley or basil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before guests arrive, place one breadstick half into each shooter glass and serve. Serve with additional breadsticks for dipping.