These no-mess, no-effort vegetable dips are going to save your summer dinners

You're 30 seconds — and a little chill time — away from two herby, creamy dips

By Bibi Hutchings


Published July 20, 2023 2:30PM (EDT)

Crudités With A Spring Dill Dip (Getty Images/Studio Alcott)
Crudités With A Spring Dill Dip (Getty Images/Studio Alcott)

In "Bibi's Gulf Coast Kitchen," columnist Bibi Hutchings takes you on a culinary journey across the coastal south. Come for the great food writing, stay for the delicious recipes.

As much as my body craves salad and cold, easy food in the summer, I inevitably go through a spell where what I make at home just doesn't satisfy. Is is food fatigue? Am I too hot to care?

Thankfully, I have capital-S Science to help me understand what might be behind my dissatisfaction. 

Have you ever wondered why it is that a sandwich tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you? And the same goes for that perfectly cold, crisp salad. The one from your favorite lunch spot with the sunflower seeds sprinkled over those three perfect slices of pickled beets placed so beautifully on top. The one you have once or twice a week and absolutely love and have gone to ridiculous lengths to replicate e x a c t l y, but somehow when you make it at home, it pales in comparison. How can that be when you painstakingly use the same ingredients and even bought their overpriced dressing!? Or in the case of the sandwich, you actually purchased the meats, cheeses and bread (and everything else comprising it) from the shop itself.

Well, you are not hallucinating. It is better at the restaurant and it is better when someone else makes it for you. And I'll stretch and assert that it is exponentially even better when someone other that you then serves it and tidies up afterward (but there is no science to back me up on that part).

Ten or so years ago, a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University studied this phenomenon of something tasting better when prepared by someone else and concluded that it is, in fact, a thing. They explain it as being a result of extended exposure to a stimulus — the stimulus is the food you're making and the prolonged exposure is the thinking about/anticipation of eating what you are creating. They proved that the more their subjects imagined eating a specific food, the less they consumed of that food once prepared or presented. The consensus being that we generally eat less of anything we spend time imagining, looking at or actually making. Stated a bit differently, when the desire for a certain food is simply presented to you, where you haven't spent time constructing it beforehand, you are more satisfied with it.  

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I began thinking about that phenomenon after several guilt filled weeks of tossing my salad fixings to the rabbits and raccoons and whatever else eats out of the compost pile. I decided to take a break from the self flagellation, resulting from wasting clamshells of salad greens each week and do something different. I made these dips (yes, both of them) and bought, washed and prepped lots of raw veggies. I included the usual suspects like cucumber, carrots and celery, but also radishes, jicama, cauliflower, broccoli and a couple things I'm not sure I had ever even had before in my quest for variety. I figured, the more vegetable options, the less "prolonged exposure to stimulus," and the more my husband and I would enjoy eating our vegetables.

Once everything was prepped and neatly stored, I left it all to rest in the refrigerator. I didn't take a single taste. The next day, I pulled it all out, put some bagged chips and boxed crackers in a bowl, sliced some cheese onto a board — it was one of the best suppers I've made in ages! Zero prep and zero thought about what to have for supper. My husband I both ate more raw veggies that evening than all the wasted and tossed out salad greens combined.  

These dips are delicious, so there is that fact, but the exciting thing is they are different, not predictable like ranch dip. They add pizzazz and interest and give an unexpected zing to fresh sliced vegetables. 

I keep the dry mix for Giddy-Up in a small mason jar in the refrigerator so it's ready to go anytime and I highly suggest you do the same, especially if you're in a salad-slump. Veg out with these dips and lets all pray the heat dome lifts and we can turn our ovens on once again.

Until then, a cold bottle of white wine and these dips with raw veggies might just save the day. 

Giddy-Up Dip
Prep Time
5 minutes, plus 3 hours refrigeration time 


Spice Blend to keep on hand:

1/2 cup dried parsley

1/3 cup dried, minced onion

1/3 cup chili powder

1/4 cup dried chives

1/4 cup ground cumin

2 Tbsp salt**

Store this blend in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until needed. 


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups sour cream or full-fat, plain yogurt




  1. Mix 3 tablespoons dry mix with mayonnaise and sour cream or yogurt. 

  2. Stir well and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving with fresh cut vegetables, chips and/or crackers.

Cook's Notes

-If the mayo you like and keep on hand is salty, reduce the salt a bit in your blend. You can always add more once you prepare the dip.

-If you'd like more mayonnaise, opt for 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 cup of sour cream or yogurt.

-Giddy-Up Dip also makes a great base for spinach dip. Simply add in several handfuls of thawed, chopped frozen spinach that you have squeezed dry along with some canned water chestnuts, drained and chopped.


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Herbed Vegetable Dip 
2 cups
Prep Time
5 minutes, plus 3 hours refrigeration time


1 cup mayo

1/2 cup sour cream

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup fresh or dried parsley

1 tablespoon finely minced onion or onion powder

1 tablespoon fresh or dried chives

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon capers




  2. Mix all ingredients together and combine well. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving with fresh vegetables.

Cook's Notes

-I was taught to fold in the sour cream (or yogurt) last when making dips. I don't know why, but it is written on these old recipes of mine. I no longer have my mother or either of my grandmothers to ask, but I am passing it along despite my lack of understanding.

By Bibi Hutchings

Bibi Hutchings, a lifelong Southerner, lives along a quiet coastal Alabama bay with her cat, Zulu, and husband, Tom. She writes about the magical way food evokes memories, instantly bringing you back to the people, places and experiences of your life. Her stories take you all around the South and are accompanied with tried-and-true recipes that are destined to become a part of your memory-making as you share them with your friends and family.         

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Dips Entertaining Food Home Cooking Recipes Southern Food Vegetables