houmous with carrot, celery, chard and radish on the side

Healthy dips are super-quick and simple to make, so instead of heading straight for the shop-bought stuff when you’re planning your party, why not have a go at making your own? Not only are they better for you, but they’re simple to make, and so tasty they won’t feel like a compromise.

You can flavour them, adjust the textures to your liking and scale-up the number of batches depending on the size of your party. Make them in advance then simply store in the fridge until you’re ready to whip them out and impress your guests!

HEALTHY DIP IDEAS

Let’s start with what is arguably the king of dips: houmous. This classic blend of chickpeas, garlic and tahini is a real crowd pleaser and one of the most popular recipes on JamieOliver.com. Check out our best basic houmous, or for for a creamier version that gets dairy involved, Jamie’s skinny houmous recipe uses yoghurt in place of olive oil, making it lower in fat and calories without compromising on flavour.

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To brighten up the party with a pop of colour, try this minted pea & yoghurt dip. It’s vibrant, green and packed full of fresh flavour making it perfect for a party. Or for a pink bowl of veggie goodness, give this beetroot dip a go – the beetroot makes this dip naturally sweet, but it also has a kick of heat thanks to grated horseradish.

HOW TO SERVE

To serve any of the above dips Jamie-style, spread them out in the middle of a wooden board surrounded by roughly-chopped sticks of bright and crunchy veg – try fennel, carrots, cucumber, peppers, radishes and celery – then leave your guests to get stuck in. Leaves clicked from a bulb of endive or radicchio make perfect natural scoops, and little baby gem lettuces are also great for dipping – just quarter into wedges and give the leaves a rinse under the tap before serving.

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You can also toast wholemeal pitta breads for dipping, or for a homemade version, these easy flatbreads are the simplest bread ever – no proving or kneading needed! For a healthy twist, swap the plain flour in this recipe for wholemeal. The breads will look a little darker, taste a little nuttier and you are upping the fibre and goodness levels.

FOR ONE BIG SHARING BOWL

Nachos are a party food favourite and with these simple swaps you can make this epic snack bowl a healthy one. Simply swap tortilla crisps for a home-baked wholemeal version. Start by preheating your oven to 180ºC/gas 4, then using a pizza cutter or knife, slice a packet of wholemeal soft tortilla wraps into 8 triangles. Rub all over with a light drizzling of olive oil, spread flat over a baking tray and bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy. Top with homemade guacamole and tomato salsa, a dollop of low-fat natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of feta cheese, if you fancy.

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This is fuss-free fast-food at its tastiest. Finger food like this, that everyone can help themselves to, really takes the pressure off hosting – and if you can make things healthy while you’re at it, then you’re really onto a winner! 

For more healthy recipes and inspiration, head over to our Healthier, Happier You hub.