4 tasty dip recipes for healthier tailgate fun

Sure, we successfully avoided a NFL strike and are a couple of weeks into the pre-season, but this weekend the REAL football begins…college football.

Ok, so maybe that’s just my opinion, but there’s gotta be a reason that most college stadiums are twice the size of pro stadiums, eh?

The key to any great tailgate party — be it at home or at the stadium, or pro or college team — is food. And the staple food of any good tailgate party is chips and dip.

The problem is that most chips and dips are loaded with fat, calories, and maybe even chemical preservatives. But these 4 dip recipes will let you get your grub on in a bit healthier fashion, but without sacrificing any of the taste.

Lighter, but just as tasty Chile Con Queso recipeChile Con Queso

Makes 4 cups. Total time: 20 minutes.

Nutritional info: Per 1/4-cup serving – 84 calories; 5 g fat (3 g sat, 2 g mono); 14 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 0 g fiber; 307 mg sodium; 36 mg potassium.


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pale ale, or other light-colored beer
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, preferably orange
  • 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, (see Note), drained, or 1 1/4 cups drained petite-diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beer and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring vigorously, until bubbling and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add cheese and cook, stirring, until melted. Stir in drained tomatoes, lime juice, salt, chili powder and cayenne (if using). Serve warm, garnished with scallions and cilantro.

Check out the recipe on Eating Well for more info, tips, and reviews on this awesome chili con queso recipe.

Tasty spin the standard hummus recipeSpicy Black Bean Hummus

Makes 8 servings (each serving is 2.5 tablespoons of hummus and 4 chips). Total time: 20 minutes.

Nutritional info: Per serving – 148 calories; 6.2 g fat (.7 g sat, 1.2 mono); 4.5 g protein; 20.6 carbs; 3.5 g fiber; 381 mg sodium; 16 mg calcium; 1.7 mg iron; 0 g cholesterol.


  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of ground red pepper
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag pita chips


  1. Place garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, black beans, jalapeño pepper, and crushed red pepper; process until smooth.
  2. Spoon bean mixture into a medium bowl, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with ground red pepper. Serve with pita chips.

Check out more reviews and tips for this tasty hummus recipe on MyRecipes.com.

A tasty spin on a staple Southwestern dipSouthwestern Layered Bean Dip

Makes 12 servings, about 1/2 cup each. Total time: 20 minutes.

Nutritional info: Per serving – 146 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 12 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 288 mg sodium; 164 mg potassium.


  • 1 16-ounce can nonfat refried beans, preferably “spicy”
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canned sliced black olives, (optional)


  1. Combine refried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeños in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.
  2. Microwave on High until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives (if using).

Get more tips and user reviews of this lighter version of a favorite Southwestern dip recipe on Eating Well.

A smoky twist on a staple dipGuacamole with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

Makes 16 servings of 2 tablespoons guacamole and 4 chips. Total time: 30 minutes.

Nutritional info: Per serving – 57 calories; 2.6 g fat (.4 g sat, 1.5 g mono, .5 poly); 12 mg cholesterol; 8.3 g carbohydrates; 1.2 g protein; 1.7 g fiber; 207 mg sodium; 27 mg calcium.


  • Chips:
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (such as McCormick)
  • Guacamole:
  • 3 tomatillos
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe peeled avocados, seeded and coarsely mashed
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. To prepare chips, cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; arrange tortilla wedges in a single layer on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle wedges with 1/2 teaspoon salt and chile powder; lightly coat wedges with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until wedges are crisp and lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. To prepare guacamole, peel papery husk from tomatillos; wash, core, and finely chop. Combine tomatillos, onion, and remaining ingredients; stir well. Serve guacamole with chips.

More info and user tips on this smoky twist on a classic dip are available at MyRecipes.com.

If chips and dip aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to rock a tasty but healthier tailgate menu this football season. Check out some of these recipe ideas: Vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, grilled pizza, kale chips, a good-for-you vegan chocolate chip cookie pie, or all kinds of vegetarian junk food that’s so delicious the omnivores among you won’t know the difference.

You could easily swap out the fresh ingredients for organic ones or even make any of these recipes vegetarian friendly by using non-dairy substitutes.

What are some of your favorite tailgating recipes?

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About Jeffrey Davis

Yo, I'm Jeffrey, founder of and editor in chief here at Eco-Snobbery Sucks. I live in Nashville, TN and am a writer, personal trainer, web designer, and wookie hugger. I hang out on Twitter some but you can find me more active on Facebook. Enjoy the site!