By Danielle Centoni
Dips are a wonderful thing. They can make boring carrot sticks crave-worthy — and buffalo chicken wings even tastier. But it’s worth checking the ingredients label before diving in. Some have a long list of additives and preservatives, unhealthy fats, or tons of sodium. So we did some sleuthing around the refrigerated aisles of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Costco to find healthy dips that taste so good you might eat the whole tub (and it wouldn’t be a big deal if you did).
These six dips hit all the right marks: They have little to no added sugar, no preservatives or artificial flavors, short ingredients lists made of recognizable stuff, and they prioritize healthy fats and keep the sodium low. Some even incorporate vegetables like cauliflower and spinach so you get fiber and antioxidants too.
Best of all, they taste like the indulgence you crave, not a consolation prize. Next time you hit one of these stores, pop one of these tubs in your cart.
1. Organic Buffalo-Style Hummus, $2.99
Cravings for spicy, vinegary Buffalo sauce are very specific and usually require a very specific solution: eat hot wings. But that’s not always practical or all that healthy. TJ’s comes to the rescue with this healthful, protein-rich dip made with organic ingredients. Don’t worry, it’s only like hummus in spirit. Forget the garbanzo-tahini flavors you’ve come to expect. Although they do form the base, they fade straight into the background as apple cider vinegar and lemon juice bring the requisite super-tangy flavor, red jalapeños and cayenne bring the beloved heat, and extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and a smidge of agave syrup round out the sharp edges. Be prepared to ignite a whole new craving.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 50 calories; 1.5g fat (0g saturated); 160 mg sodium; 6g total carbohydrate (2g fiber; less than 1g sugars); 2g protein
2. Trader Joe’s Romesco Dip, $3.49
With a gorgeous flame-red color and a fresh, bright flavor that goes with anything, you’ll find yourself wanting to add this to every charcuterie board, sandwich, side dish and mid-afternoon snack plate for the foreseeable future. Made with simple ingredients, including roasted red peppers, tomatoes, almonds, olive oil and sea salt, this Spanish dip is tangy yet savory, creamy yet textured, and flat-out delicious on everything from celery to roasted potatoes.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 35 calories; 3g fat (0g saturated); 140 mg sodium; 2g total carbohydrate (0g fiber; 0g sugars); less than 1g protein
3. Kite Hill French Onion Dip, $3
If you’re a sucker for creamy, tangy, savory French onion dip (who isn’t?) but could do without all the dairy, this is the dip of your dreams. Vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO verified, it’s made with a base of cultured almond milk instead of sour cream and mayo, and even has live active cultures. With plenty of dehydrated onions and spices to give it the iconic onion soup flavor you crave, it’s surprisingly similar in flavor, texture, and color to the old-school original made with the packet of mix.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 30 calories; 2g fat; 190 mg sodium; total carb: 2g (0 fiber; 0 sugars); 1g protein
4. Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce, $5
This aptly-named dip is crazy-good and crazy-versatile. The base is made with almonds and grapeseed oil, with lemon, garlic and nutritional yeast adding brightness, and chipotles and smoked paprika bringing smoky spice. Vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO verified, it’s as great with corn chips as it is with veggies. In fact, it makes everything it touches taste better, including grain bowls, sandwiches and side dishes. Stock up.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 90 calories; 9g fat (1g saturated); 140 mg sodium; 2g carbohydrates (less than 1g fiber; 0g sugars); 2 g protein
Two beloved classic — cheesy artichoke dip and creamy spinach dip — come together to make the best of both worlds. GMO-free and made with rBST-free dairy, the base swaps in Neufchatel cream cheese and Greek yogurt instead of the usual full-fat cream cheese, sour cream and mayo. The taste is still rich, creamy, and amazing, and there’s tons of spinach so you can feel virtuous. Note that the price tag may seem high compared to the others, but you’re getting 3 times as much dip because, well, it’s Costco.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 50 calories, 4 g fat (2.5g saturated), 110 mg sodium, 2g carbohydrates (0g fiber, 0g sugars), 3g protein
6. Wholly Guacamole, $17
Guacamole isn’t hard to make, but when all of your avocados are either rock-hard or brown and stringy, store-bought is your friend. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for the ease of just opening a tub when you want to guac out. There are tons of brands to choose from, but Wholly Guacamole rises above the rest for tasting just like homemade. It’s organic, made with just a few ingredients (all blessedly recognizable) and the salt, acid and garlic are in perfect balance, begging you to dig right in or dress it up with hot sauce and salsa, or spread it on fancy toast. Since it’s from Costco, you get a ton, but it’s packaged in three separate 16-ounce tubs so you don’t have to rush to eat it all before it goes bad.
Per 2 Tbsp serving: 40 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated), 110 mg sodium, 3g Total Carbohydrate, (1g dietary fiber, 0g added sugars); 0 g protein