Dips to save your picnic

by Georgia Cadoret

The warmer months are finally here, calling for lighter meals with less need for starch and heavy carbs. The ancient dip we know as hummus is being constantly reinvented and used in a myriad ways - chocolate hummus anyone? - and you can scarcely find a corner shop that doesn't stock a pot of this creamy, moreish middle eastern staple. Dips are a great way to pack in nutrients with minimum effort and maximum tastiness, especially when dipping with fibre-rich crudités .

Here are three easy dips that can be made last minute. These recipes use veggies that are in-season for June, but they can be interchanged with veggies from all seasons. When switching vegetables out consider roasting more watery veg such as peppers or courgettes so that you have a thick dip, and to avoid water from separating and sitting on the top.

For each recipe simply blitz all ingredients in a blender, adding splashes of cold water or olive oil to adjust the consistency and seasoning to taste.

Tofu ranch dip

1 pack silken tofu, drained

Juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped

2 spring onions, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

A handful of soaked cashews

Generous seasoning of salt and pepper

Beetroot and walnut

2 large beetroot, steamed, peeled and cut into chunks

Juice of 1 lemon

50g walnuts

1 tsp toasted caraway seeds

1 tsp toasted cumin seeds

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

A handful of fresh dill, chopped

Generous seasoning of salt and pepper

(top with fresh dill once blitzed)

Pea, mint and asparagus

2 stalks of well-steamed asparagus (woody ends removed and cut into chunks)

2 cups of fresh or defrosted petit pois

2 shallots, sliced and fried until golden in a little oil

A handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Generous seasoning of salt and pepper