Savory dips can be the perfect accompaniment to bread, vegetables and other nibbles. They make a wonderful party food addition or may be offered as part of a summer spread to be enjoyed at leisure.

Vegetable platters provide the ideal way to sample flavorsome dips, as do crusty chunks of fresh bread or pita. If dips are part of the menu the good news they are easy to prepare in advance. Here are some ideas for tasty easy-to-make savory dips.

Olive Paste Dip

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 cloves garlic

4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp oregano

To prepare the olive paste simply combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Store the paste in the refrigerator before use.

Hot Cheese Dip

½ lb Feta cheese crumbled

2 red peppers

2 lemons, juiced

6 tbsps olive oil

1 tbsp chopped herbs of choice, oregano, basil or dill

Fry the chopped red peppers in olive oil until soft, then add to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Serve hot.

Skordalia – Greek garlic dip

1lb of potatoes cooked and mashed

8 garlic cloves, crushed with salt

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Red wine vinegar

Combine the crushed garlic with the cooked potatoes, before gradually incorporating the olive oil. Mix in a dash of red wine vinegar.  The result is a rich garlic dip, delicious with bread and meat.

Flavored olive oil

The simplest dip to bring out the delicious taste of sliced fresh vegetables is simply herb infused extra virgin olive oil. To prepare infused oil add several sprigs of the herb of choice to a small bottle of olive oil and store in a cool dark place for several days before use. Ideal herbs to complement the oil include:

Basil

Rosemary

Oregano

Chili and peppercorns

Thyme

Garlic and fennel

These easy-to-make savory dips are a world away from processed dips and the proof is in the taste.