Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil

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Bright, fresh, and full of flavor, this Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil will be a hit at your next party!

If you’re looking for a delicious appetizer, look no further. This Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil will blow you away. With relatively simple ingredients and steps, it’s so much better than the sum of its parts.

Horizontal overhead photo of a wood appetizer tray featuring Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil.

Inspiration

We were having friends over for dinner one night and I was racking my brain for an appetizer that wasn’t cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese! But sometimes I want something a little lighter to serve before a big meal. I came across a recipe from the New York Times from Allison Roman. It has fantastic reviews and I had almost everything on hand.

The original recipe calls for labneh (pronounced like leb-nay). What is labneh? It’s frequently used in Mediterranean cuisine and is made from straining yogurt for several hours. You can read more about it here.

Vertical overhead photo of a wood appetizer filled with vegetables, crostini and Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil.

I quickly gathered the ingredients, using whole milk Greek yogurt instead labneh. We are always stocked with Greek yogurt and it works well as a substitute for labneh. Using the herbs I had on hand, plus pitas and veggies from the crisper drawer I had a beautiful and delicious appetizer in minutes.

Our guests loved it and kept asking what was in it. They couldn’t believe it was “just” Greek yogurt. It’s rich and creamy and has an amazingly smooth texture. From the taste, you might think it is decadent and calorie-laden, but everyone is pleasantly surprised that it’s relatively healthy. Since then I’ve made it many times, tweaking it to our preferences and it’s always a hit.

Vertical overhead closeup photo of Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil surrounded by vegetables and crostini.

I love to give guests a choice of fresh veggies and/or crisp crostini for dipping. You can purchase crostini at specialty shops and larger grocery stores but it’s easy (and super economical) to make yourself. Here’s a video to demonstrate:

Variations

Besides making a fabulous appetizer, here are a few other ideas of ways to use this Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil:

  • Use it as a side or dipping sauce for any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish. I had some leftover chicken shawarma and leftover dip and they were a perfect pairing and delicious lunch! It would also be fantastic with this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner or these Greek Chicken Meatballs.
  • I like to blend some of the herb oil in my mini food processor. The vibrant green color is so pretty. You can make things simpler and skip this step
  • Roast your favorite veggies and serve them over the lemony yogurt. Top with the herb oil for a delicious side dish. 
  • Instead of crostini, serve with these Easy Pine Nut Seeded Crackers for a delicious gluten-free appetizer. 

Horizontal closeup photo of an appetizer featuring Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil.

So if you’re looking for a unique, delicious and decently healthy appetizer for your next get-together, treat your guests to this vibrant Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil! Don’t be surprised when they ask, “What is this?”. They’ll be shocked that the rich creamy, silky-smooth base is simply pizzazzed-up yogurt!

Vertical photo of an appetizer tray featuring Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil.

Cafe Tips for making this Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil

  • I like to use whole milk Greek yogurt for this recipe. My favorite brand is Fage. I think it has the best flavor and no strange chalky taste that some yogurts can have.
  • We really love the combination of herbs listed below, but feel free to try any combination of herbs that you have
  • This dip goes well with veggies, homemade crostini, or pita chips. To make pita chips, just cut up pita or naan bread into chips, brush with olive oil, season with salt and bake at 400º for around 10 minutes
  • The Spicy Herb Oil contains 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. It gives the dish a little spice and is perfect with the cooling yogurt. If you are sensitive to spice you can start with less and add more to taste. 
  • If making this dip ahead I like to mix the yogurt part and add it to the serving dish and store that in the fridge. You can make the herb oil ahead of time as well. I just store that in a jar on the counter. You could refrigerate it if it’s going to be more than a few hours before you serve it. Just let it come back to room temperature.

Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil

Bright, fresh, and full of flavor, this Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil will be a hit at your next party!

Author: Lindsay Scheuer

Prep Time:
20 mins

Cook Time:
5 mins

Total Time:
25 mins

Servings: 16

Calories: 56 kcal

Ingredients

For the Herb Oil:


  • cup
    olive oil
  • 4
    scallions white and light green parts
    thinly sliced
  • 1
    teaspoon
    red pepper flakes less if you prefer less heat
  • 2
    tablespoons
    finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems plus more for garnish
  • 2
    tablespoons
    chives plus more for garnish
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Yogurt Dip:

  • 2
    cups
    full-fat Greek yogurt
  • finely grated zest from a medium lemon
  • 2
    tablespoons
    fresh lemon juice

Instructions

For the Herb Oil:

  1. Heat the olive oil, scallions, red pepper flakes in a small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the scallions and red pepper flakes start to visually and audibly sizzle

  2. Add cilantro and chives and cook just until the herbs are fragrant. Remove from the heat, and let cool enough to taste and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Optional- add about half of the oil mixture to a mini food processor with an extra tablespoon of fresh cilantro. Pulse until pureed and then combine with the rest of the oil. This makes for a beautiful bright green color and pretty presentation.

For the Yogurt Dip:

  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a shallow serving bowl.

  2. Top with the Spicy Herb Oil and garnish with additional fresh herbs

  3. Serve with homemade crostini, pita chips or fresh veggies. See variations sections of this post for more ideas on how to serve this dip.

  4. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.

Calories 56kcal

Fat 5g

Saturated fat 1g

Trans fat 0.001g

Polyunsaturated fat 0.5g

Monounsaturated fat 3g

Cholesterol 1mg

Sodium 10mg

Potassium 46mg

Carbohydrates 1g

Fiber 0.1g

Sugar 1g

Protein 3g

Vitamin A 31%

Vitamin C 1%

Calcium 30%

Iron 0.1%

Lemony Yogurt Dip with Spicy Herb Oil

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