I can’t think of a more quintessential summer pastime than a cool dip in a favorite swimming hole, can you? Of course, the dip here is about eating, not swimming. Although, the recipe makes a nice poolside snack, I do believe.

This post is sort of an atonement, as well, for past sins. I have often been accused of creating overly complex recipes with too many ingredients. Me!? Well, I am guilty of some of that, I’m sure. So this dip is my community service, so to speak. Minimal ingredients and easy prep and clean up. You’ll see….

Also, it is an apology to my daughter, assuaging my guilt for years of bad food when she was little. The backstory on this is about me trying to make green vegetables fun and yummy—what all good mom’s do, right? So when Heather was about five or six, I came across this recipe for a broccoli dip in Good Housekeeping magazine that was touted as something “all kids would love.” Ok! It was made with a frozen package of broccoli, thawed and drained, a cup of fat-free cottage cheese and an envelope of (gulp) Lipton Onion Soup Mix. There must have been other ingredients, too, but I don’t remember…thankfully.

Now mind you, Heather loved it, just like the recipe claimed she would. And it was easy, so I made it a lot. I have much to atone for. And I have! Not only is this new broccoli dip a favorite with my daughter, it is nutritious, based on fresh ingredients and incredibly easy to pull together and adjustable for discerning tastes. And just look how cute you can make it! So dip that toe right on in….ok, maybe a chip, carrot stick or cracker would be better.

Broccoli "Skinny Dip in the Pond"

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2-3 cups dip

Serving Size: 3-4 tablespoons

Broccoli

Ingredients

  • Six to eight cups broccoli flowerets and tender stems, trimmed and well washed
  • Five to six large cloves garlic, roughly chopped (See note after recipe, if this seems like a lot.)
  • Four heaping tablespoons full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Two to three heaping tablespoons tahini
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • Quarter teaspoon to half teaspoon hot pepper flakes, chili paste or harissa (I used a half-teaspoon of my harissa, which is super-hot.)
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • Edible flowers and herbal leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. To prepare the broccoli, steam it for at least 10 minutes, possibly 15. You want it slightly softer than you would normally serve it so that it will process smoothly. You can steam the broccoli up to a day in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Add all the ingredients, except the garnishes of flowers and herbs, into the bowl of a large-capacity food processor. If you are making a lot, you’ll want to do this in batches, then mix together in a big bowl.
  3. Process the dip ingredients until smooth. Note that you can add more yogurt or lemon or tahini to get the consistency and flavor intensity you want. Lemon and yogurt create more tang, and tahini adds richness—like butter would in a sauce.

Notes

This dip can be made up to two days in advance—perfect for that summer party pool or pond side!

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Things I like best about this simple dip:

Broccoli has a long season; it is available both spring to early summer and fall to early winter where I live. And you can blanch it and freeze it for a dip in the pond anytime! Reluctant green eaters seem to dip incessantly into this pond because the balance of flavors is pretty special. A lot of tang with just the right amount of heat and umami from the tahini.

Nothing precise here. This dip actually came together because I had a ton of leftover steamed broccoli in the fridge, a few tablespoons of yogurt and a lonely lemon. I just love when this sort of culinary alchemy happens. A pinch of this, a tablespoon of that and….Presto! So if my decision to add a ton of garlic leaves you faint, add what you like. I think the garlic is critical here, but it’s not a rule, so use what works for your family.

A showstopper presentation, if you have a few nasturtiums, a basil leaf of two and a pretty little violet or marigold. Not that flowers are necessary, but what curb appeal, eh? What child wouldn’t go for a dip…especially the big ones, who typically shun their greens. I chose a shallow pottery platter with lots of brown and gold accents to give my dip a “shore.”

Trying to get more broccoli into the family diet? Try my vegan take on traditional broccoli salad—they’ll never miss the bacon, mayo and cheese.  Or maybe you want something more exotic, like broccoli with Middle Eastern Zhug?

Thinking of dipping a bit more this summer? Here are some great “little bites” to fill out that buffet table.

Got a great broccoli creation? Please share! And please enjoy the simple pleasures of summer, which will be gone before your swimming suit dries out on the clothesline.

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