How Do I Choose the Best Vegetable Dipping Sauce?

J. Beam

When eaten raw, vegetables are a primary source of low-calorie, low-fat nutrients. For some, a bit of encouragement is needed to consume the recommended three to five servings per day. One of the best ways to enhance vegetables and increase their palatability is to eat them with vegetable dipping sauce. There are a wide variety of dipping sauces that complement vegetables and range from creamy and mild to hot and spicy.

Hummus is an easy to prepare and tasty dip for vegetables.
Hummus is an easy to prepare and tasty dip for vegetables.

One of the primary condiments used in popular creamy vegetable dips such as ranch style sauces is mayonnaise. While a favorite for vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower and celery, mayonnaise-based dipping sauces tend to increase the fat content of the vegetable serving. Low-fat creamy vegetable dipping sauces can be made by using healthier low-fat substitutes like yogurt in place of mayonnaise and sour cream and fat-free milk in place of high-fat buttermilk. In vegetable dipping sauce that call for sour cream, mayonnaise or cream cheese, use the reduced fat or fat-free versions of the ingredient.

A bowl of sour cream, which is used in making many dipping sauces.
A bowl of sour cream, which is used in making many dipping sauces.

While ranch-style dipping sauce is popular, thinking in terms of complementary flavors can result in a wider variety of sauce selection. Ingredients like soy sauce and hummus create new flavors for dipping. Soy sauce is a good base ingredient in dips for vegetables commonly found in Asian dishes such as bell peppers, broccoli and snow peas. Hummus, which is made from garbanzo beans, is rich in fiber, low in fat and is a nice complement to celery and cauliflower. Adding different spices, such as garlic, cayenne pepper or ginger, is another way to add variety to vegetable dipping sauces.

Soy sauce is a good base ingredient in dips for vegetables commonly found in Asian dishes.
Soy sauce is a good base ingredient in dips for vegetables commonly found in Asian dishes.

Whether the goal of selected vegetable dipping sauce is to encourage veggie snacking or to create the ultimate party platter, having a variety of dips is always a good choice. Many veggie dips complement fresh vegetables as well as chips and crackers. In fact some dips, such as salsa, that are traditionally reserved for chips are also good with vegetables. If planning a party platter, select a dip that complements a variety of snack foods like pretzels, tortilla chips and crackers as well as vegetables. For kid-friendly vegetable dipping sauces, choose milder flavors or use ones with peanut butter or cheese as the primary ingredient.

Raw vegetables are a great source of nutrients, and adding a dipping sauce can make them more palatable.
Raw vegetables are a great source of nutrients, and adding a dipping sauce can make them more palatable.

Recipes for vegetable dipping sauce can be found in cookbooks that include appetizers and sauces, as well as from a variety of recipe websites online. Experiment with different stir-ins for added flavoring like onion and garlic. Keep in mind the added fat and calories of dipping sauces when choosing vegetables as a healthy snack.

Fat-free salsas add heat and depth with very few calories.
Fat-free salsas add heat and depth with very few calories.

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Discussion Comments


I tried hummus as a vegetable dip a few months ago, and I liked it right away. I bought this in a jar at the health food store. It tastes just as good with chips as it does carrots and celery. My husband didn't care for the taste of it at all, but he also doesn't like garbanzo beans.

The first jar I bought was just garbanzo beans and some salt added to it. They also had other flavors to choose from such as roasted tomato, garlic and onion, and ginger.

I tried a couple of the other flavors, but prefer the traditional flavor. I have to be careful when eating this with chips, because it is so addicting I could end up eating much more than I should.

When I eat this with vegetables, I don't feel guilty about using this as a dip like I would using something like mayonnaise. I have never tried making my own hummus, but don't imagine it would be very hard to do.

Does anybody have any good tips about making your own hummus from scratch?


I recently started making some of my own vegetable dips. I like to use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. This gives the same smooth texture of a sour cream dip, but is healthier for you.

I like to add different spices depending on what kind of vegetables I am going to be serving with it. Sometimes just a little bit of honey added to the dip also adds the right touch of sweetness.

Most people wouldn't choose a sweet dip to go with raw vegetables, but just a little bit of honey adds a sweetness that complements the taste of some of the stronger vegetables.


We have a local dairy that makes some of the best dips I have ever eaten. I think most of their dips are a sour cream base, but they are smooth and creamy and aren't very expensive.

If I am having a party, I will buy several different flavors of their dips, but the one that seems to be the most popular is called a party ranch dip.

My favorite is a spicier dip that has a southwestern taste to it. These dips are just as good with chips and crackers as they are with vegetables.

I have tried a couple of the ones that are reduced-fat, but prefer the taste of those that are made with regular sour cream.


Our family will often just use ranch dressing as a vegetable dipping sauce. This is already mixed up in the bottle and makes a quick and easy sauce that goes with just about any kind of raw vegetable.

There are a wide variety of ranch dressings to choose from. You can find everything from low-fat to those that are made with different spices and seasonings.

My boys will eat some raw vegetables as long as they have some ranch dressing to dip them in. Otherwise, it can be quite a challenge to get them to eat their vegetables.


You can use low-fat mayonnaise to make a healthier dip. My husband used to buy the fattening kind, but once I took over the grocery shopping, I started buying low-fat mayo, and he says that it tastes just as good.

He makes a great sauce out of mayonnaise and a bit of teriyaki sauce. He has a couple of other secret ingredients that I'm not privy to, but if you start with the base of mayo and teriyaki, you will likely end up with something good.

I love dipping sauteed zucchini and squash into this sauce. The vegetables alone don't have much flavor, so they are much more enjoyable after they have been covered in dip.


Soy sauce goes great with vegetables and meat that have been prepared in the Asian style of tempura. This means they have been battered and fried, so they have a crispy brown coating that tastes great when coated with soy sauce.

I ordered the vegetable tempura platter last time that I visited a Japanese restaurant. I received fried slices of zucchini, squash, and carrots, and I dipped all of these in pure soy sauce.

They tasted pretty good without the sauce. However, they were unbelievably good after being dipped in it. If I knew how to make tempura vegetables, I would make them at home, because I keep a jar of soy sauce in my refrigerator at all times.


@StarJo – My favorite vegetable dip contains neither ranch nor cream cheese. I think you would like it.

You mix mayonnaise with worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic powder, pepper, salt, and chili powder. You can adjust the amounts according to which flavors you would want to be more dominant.

I like my dip a bit spicy, so I add a full teaspoon of chili powder. For other people, this is just too much, so they just use a dash. If you hate spicy foods, then you can just eliminate it altogether.

The worcestershire sauce, garlic, and onion make this dip very flavorful. I have been known to dip meat in this sauce, as well.


It is tough for me to find a vegetable dipping sauce that I can enjoy. The problem is that I hate the taste of ranch and cream cheese, and these are two ingredients that you find in almost every dip.

The taste of ranch nauseates me. With cream cheese, it is the texture as much as the flavor that turns my stomach. Most people love dips made with these, so I generally just end up eating raw veggies with no sauce at parties.

Does anyone know of any good dipping sauces for veggies like carrots and broccoli that I could eat? I would be more than willing to whip them up myself and take them to these parties so that I would have a dip I could enjoy.

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