7 Dips for Dad's Day

Spicy Bacon Guacamole

Spicy Bacon Guacamole

Food Network Kitchens Spicy Bacon Guacamole

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2012, Television Food Network, GP. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2012, Television Food Network, GP. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchens Spicy Bacon Guacamole

Choosing the right appetizer for a group gathering is no easy feat, and on an occasion like Father’s Day, the stakes are even higher — Dad deserves a solid celebratory feast. Dips are an ideal choice thanks to their ease and versatility, and they will commence the meal without overshadowing it.

Better yet, the whole family can get involved in dip preparation — even the littlest kids. To get your game plan in order, start by selecting a main dish you know Dad will love, then prepare a dip that plays off of those flavors, whether rich and creamy or bright and refreshing. These seven winning dips are guaranteed to score big.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole (pictured above)

There are few dips more satisfying than fresh, chunky guacamole — except for guacamole with bacon in it. When preparing a batch of this cumin- and jalapeno-spiced guac, cook up a few bacon slices, then crumble them into this chunky dip. Dad will surely approve.

Avocado-Feta Dip

If Dad is over the guacamole craze but still on board with avocados, then this bright and tangy Avocado-Feta Dip is just the game changer you need. Flavored with lemon juice and seeded jalapenos, this zesty dip works well atop toasted baguette slices, or you can use it to coat fresh sliced vegetables.

Photo by: David Lang ©David Lang

David Lang, David Lang

Harissa Tzatziki

This is just the dip for guys with spice tolerance. Jeff Mauro whips up a creamy tzatziki sauce with harissa (a Tunisian chile paste of roasted red peppers and serrano peppers), which adds a nice kick to this otherwise refreshing combo of Greek yogurt, lemon and honey. Use it to coat chips, crackers and vegetables, or use it as a flavorful sauce for grilled kebabs.

Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip

Dad can channel his inner strong man with this Popeye-approved dip of spinach and cannellini beans. At just 175 calories per serving, this hearty combination is one of the lightest you’ll find. Once blended together, the spinach and beans produce an herbaceous flavor, and a splash of balsamic vinegar lends a tangy note.

Eggplant Dip

Another health-conscious option, Food Network Kitchen’s refreshing Eggplant Dip provides the creamy texture you expect from a dip but without any actual cream. Puree the flesh of two grilled eggplants and combine with garlic, lemon, olive oil and parsley to create a smooth and refreshing dip that won’t spoil appetites before the main course.

FN_Parmesan_Sour_Cream_Dip

FN_Parmesan_Sour_Cream_Dip

Parmesan sour cream dip served with ruffled chips.

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Parmesan sour cream dip served with ruffled chips.

Parmesan-Sour Cream Dip

Drum roll, please. The award for easiest dip goes to this Parmesan-Sour Cream Dip. This mixture of tangy Dijon, sour cream and Parmesan comes together in just five minutes, so you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time with Dad. One word of advice: Since this recipe relies on just three ingredients, the quality of those ingredients really matters. It’s worth it to splurge on a good-quality block of Parmesan for the freshest nutty-salty flavor possible.

Pan-Fried French Onion Dip

If Dad is a purist, stick with a classic appetizer, like Ina Garten’s Pan-Fried French Onion Dip. As with most creamy dips, the base consists of the three humble staples: mayonnaise, cream cheese and sour cream. But once you stir in the pan-fried, caramelized onions, the mixture is transformed by the slightly sweet and earthy flavor.

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