Warm or cold, high calorie or low, vegetarian or not, an overly salty dip puts a damper on festive parties and gatherings. But you can fix either commercial or homemade dips that taste too salty by adding more ingredients to dilute the salt and adding more flavors to mask the salt's taste.
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Add Non-Salty Ingredients
For homemade dips, make a second batch or half batch of the dip without any added salt or without adding any salty ingredients -- such as anchovies or Parmesan cheese -- from the original batch. For a store-bought dip, add more of the dip's main ingredient or a similar ingredients, for example plain yogurt, sour cream or low-salt mayonnaise in a creamy dip. For specific dips, try:
- Cook thinly sliced onions and shallots to add to onion dips, along with plain Greek yogurt.
- Rinse a can of garbanzo or great northern beans to remove excess salt, and puree the beans with a little olive oil to add to salty hummus.
- Rinse pinto beans and smash them with the back of a large spoon to dilute a salty refried bean dip.
- For cheese dips, search out a low-salt version of the same cheese at a specialty food store to add to the dip, or add a different cheese with a low sodium content.
- For a salty feta cheese dip, buy additional cheese, crumble it in a colander and rinse it thoroughly before adding it to the dip.
Let all the ingredients in your dip come to room temperature before you taste to see if you need to adjust seasonings. When the dip is cold, you may not be able to judge how salty it really is.
Add Contrasting Flavors
Tart, sweet, spicy, bitter or fatty ingredients distract you from the salt in a salty dip. Use these ingredients in small amounts, and taste the dip after each addition until it's the way you want it. Ingredients that deepen the flavors of food and balance saltiness include:
- Acidic liquids, such as lemon juice or vinegar. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons to creamy mayonnaise-based dips and dips containing seafood.
- Herbs to add slightly bitter flavors. Try 3 tablespoons of cilantro sprinkled on bean dips, and chives, parsley or tarragon in sour cream or mayonnaise dips.
- Finely minced garlic or pureed roasted garlic. Garlic pairs well with the flavors in spinach and artichoke dip.
- Hot sauce. Use your favorite brand in bean dips.
- Curry powder. Just 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons adds lots of flavor to dips with sour cream or cream cheese.
- Cream cheese. Add softened cream cheese to any mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream dip for richness to balance the salt.