In my days as a corporate communications representative, I worried about becoming the “Bridget Jones” of my company every time I had to do a media interview. If you’ve seen the movie or read the book Bridget Jones’ Diary, you know what I mean … saying the wrong thing and making things worse word by word. If you worry about becoming the Bridget Jones of dinner parties, Italian Bread & Beyond Dip is a good option.
No need to worry about accidentally making blue soup…. even Bridget could get this one right. It’s fabulously simple and fabulous simplicity. What’s more, it’s a dish that can handle a dining emergency … like when your week turned into a nightmare and your plans have compressed into an hour of prep time or you have unexpected guests arriving in the evening after an impossible day.Jump to Recipe
So Quick & Easy
It’s easy to keep these dip ingredients on hand, so all you need to do is pick up a nice loaf of Italian bread or some juicy tomatoes and an onion … or all of them—and you’ve got the ingredients you need. Grab one or more small plates, and you can prepare an attractive and delicious appetizer that never disappoints. I often combine this with other quick-fix items I have on hand, like a dip with some fruits or vegetables or some sliced meat and cheese. It’s an excellent no-cook spread you can pull off when time is limited, but it still offers guests something delightful and filling to eat.
The Secret to Success
The secret to the dip is the oil: use extra virgin olive oil. Light olive oil is better for cooking, because it can take the heat; extra virgin is for salad dressings and dips, not for cooking. The dip will have a slight olive flavor that blends well with the dry ingredients.
If you just can’t abide the olive taste, go with a lighter oil … it will still work. In fact, the photos shared here were of a dip made with light olive oil, because I grabbed it by accident. It still tasted good—but required more seasonings than I usually use. The batch I made the next day with extra virgin oil tasted better to me. I prefer tasting the oil as well as the seasonings, so I sprinkle enough to infuse the oil but leave a bit of oil flavor. You can adjust how much seasoning you sprinkle on the oil to taste. And if you have guests with quite different ideas on how much oil and seasoning to use, you can easily serve up small, individual plates.
About Italian Bread & Beyond Dip
I scale up my recipe and mix together a large batch of the dry mix to keep on hand for this dip and other dishes, mainly a variety of egg and Italian-inspired dishes. Having this on hand makes it even easier to prepare this appetizer because I don’t have to mix ingredients or worry if I have run out of an ingredient.
This is fun to make right in front of guests … and it never fails to get people to dive into the simplest or most elegant spread. I like to keep true to the Italian style and choose an Italian loaf over a French baguette, but either bread will work. I’ve used challah with it, too: the braided variety really classes up the look and feel of the dish, and a round braid pulls apart easily.
I tend to serve more casual meals, so I usually break apart the bread and serve this as a family style appetizer or as part of an hors d’oeuvres spread. You could use mini-loaves or bread slices for a more formal setting.
If you need a lower sodium option, just reduce or eliminate the salt. You can try gluten-free breads with the dip, too. Need to eliminate gluten or reduce carbs? You could also drizzle the oil over tomato and onion slices then sprinkle the seasonings over them for another tasty twist to this recipe. Dear sweet husband and I love buying local tomatoes during the height of tomato season for just this purpose. However you choose to use it, it’s always flavorful and delicious without breaking a limited prep time budget. Mange!
Italian Bread & Beyond Dip
- 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cilantro
- ½ tsp black pepper fresh ground is best
- 1 loaf Italian bread or French baguette replace bread with tomato and onion slices and drizzle over them for gluten-free option
- Pour about 2-3 TBSP olive oil onto an appetizer or salad plate.
- Sprinkle in other ingredients, ensuring they spread into all of the oil.