This light, herbed ricotta dip is loaded with flavor and makes eating veggies a pleasure.
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Read on for several relevant tips and pictures (2 mins)
About This Quick Ricotta Dip Recipe
Adding two unusual ingredients infuses the dip with great umami taste and elevates its bright, zesty herbal notes.
Ricotta Dip Ingredients
Mostly everyone I know needs to consume at least twice the vegetables they already do and with Chris and I being avid craft beer fans we try even harder to increase our daily intake. Always in pursuit of a balance between enjoying craft beer and health. Since we can only eat so much salad we frequently call upon healthy dips for vegetables.
I love to make this ricotta one because it can be so versatile depending on exactly what herbs and other ingredients I have on hand. You should consider the recipe as a not very strict set of guidelines.
Ricotta cheese. The fresher the ricotta – the better. You can even make homemade ricotta if you have the patience, it’s very easy, see below.
Herbs. If you have fresh herbs on hand use them over dried ones. Complementary are oregano, basil, thyme, chives or garlic chives, rosemary (it can be a bit overpowering so add it with caution), mint, dill.
Olive oil. Extra virgin is by far your best bet. Its floral, earthy contributions shine in the company of ricotta.
Lemon zest and juice. Both the essence and acidity of lemons add to the overall balance of the dip.
Salt and pepper. Use coarse salt and white pepper if possible for its milder character.
Garlic. A clove of finely minced garlic lends a pungent savory depth to the dip yet remains hidden in combination with the herbs.
Umami taste contributing ingredients. Tried and true – an optional cured anchovy fillet and/or a preserved lemon rind or two are great allies when it comes to this dip. Even if your first reaction is to wrinkle your nose in distaste, I recommend that you give them a try. The anchovy contributes deep umami along with saltiness (absolutely no fishy flavor involved) and the preserved lemon rind adds intense lemony aroma and flavor that can never come from lemon zest alone. On top of that it has no bitterness at all, just a lovely lemony umami.
Other optional ingredients. Other favorites to fold into ricotta dip include finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, smoked paprika.
How To Make Ricotta Dip
It really is as easy as mixing the ingredients together after you prep them and the prep work is minimal.
Mince the garlic (or use a garlic press) and finely chop the fresh herbs. If you will be adding anchovy and/or lemon rind you can use a small fork or pestle and mortar to press them into a paste (you can add the minced garlic to them as well, #2 above). Finally, zest the lemon.
Add all the ingredients to the ricotta and stir to mix. Taste and season with more salt and pepper or add extra lemon juice/any other ingredient as needed.
Uses & Serving Ideas
- The freshly mixed ricotta cheese dip is perfect served amidst a platter of veggies, crackers or bread. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top for visual effect and a flavor boost.
- Even though the official name is a dip, there is no reason not to use it as a ricotta spread. Its great over seed crackers or toast.
- You can also spread it over rolled pizza dough and top with thinly sliced tomatoes, then bake.
- Use it as a pasta sauce – a favorite of ours is spaghetti, ricotta dip, halved cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.
Baked Ricotta Cheese Version
If you are making ricotta dip during the colder months or simply crave a warm dip, enlist the help of an egg plus another cheese and follow these instructions.
Mix the dip as described above. Beat an egg and fold it into the dip. Transfer the mixture to a greased oven safe dish or small cast iron skillet and top it with grated Parmesan or another grated hard or semi-hard cheese. Mozzarella also works well here. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 375 F oven.
Last but not least – caramelized onions and thyme are great in a baked ricotta dip. Just fold about a cup worth into the ricotta dip and bake as noted above.
Make Fresh Ricotta in a Few Easy Steps
- For easy homemade ricotta simply bring half a pint of whole milk along with a cup of cream to boil (over medium heat, while stirring occasionally).
- Once its boiling add 3 tbsp of lemon juice and stir for a couple of minutes – the mixture will curdle. Remove it from the heat.
- Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curdled mixture over it and let it drain for about 1.5 hours or until the ricotta in the sieve reaches the consistency you desire.
- Once it does transfer the ricotta to a bowl and use immediately or refrigerate covered. Discard the liquid (whey).
Easy ricotta cheese dip. Light and zesty with flavor infusions from fresh herbs, lemon, olive oil and several other optional ingredients. Perfect for dipping veggies, spreading over toasted bread and a great addition to pasta. *These two ingredients if mashed into a paste and folded into the dip add umami depth and really boost the flavor base of the dip. Feel free to increase the quantities to taste. Other optional ingredients: sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, smoked paprika, olive tapenade, grated Parmesan or Pecorino. For instructions on how to make fresh ricotta at home or a baked version of this dip consult the relevant sections of the post for this recipe.
Ricotta Dip with Herbs & Olive Oil
Serving Size: 1/3 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 696mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 14g
Easy ricotta cheese dip. Light and zesty with flavor infusions from fresh herbs, lemon, olive oil and several other optional ingredients. Perfect for dipping veggies, spreading over toasted bread and a great addition to pasta.
*These two ingredients if mashed into a paste and folded into the dip add umami depth and really boost the flavor base of the dip. Feel free to increase the quantities to taste.
Other optional ingredients: sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, smoked paprika, olive tapenade, grated Parmesan or Pecorino.
For instructions on how to make fresh ricotta at home or a baked version of this dip consult the relevant sections of the post for this recipe.
Christina R. says
I made this dip for a charcuterie with friends. But I had lots leftover, so the next day I roasted some dying grape tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, threw in the lemon ricotta to heat it up altogether, served over pasta….SOOOOO GOOOD!!
Thanks so much for the dip recipe!!
Milena Perrine says
Sounds great, Christina! Thank you so much for sharing and glad that you and yours ate well:)
Marvellina | What To Cook Today says
Lately I am obsessed with ricotta! I’m like craving for it everyday! I’m intrigued to try to make my own ricotta now… fingers crossed! This ricotta dip though!!!!
Nice! Definitely try making your own – you can flavor it with a bit of salt and go the savory direction or a bit of honey or agave and turn it into a sweeter spread of some sort.
Leanne @ Crumb Top Baking says
I have some ricotta left in the fridge from another recipe, and now I know what to do with it! We love our dips around here, and I’m always looking for new sandwich spreads (since I don’t eat mayo). Love this one. Pinning and can’t wait to try!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I love fresh veggies any way I can get them, but my favorite way to enjoy them is dipped in something yummy. I’ll have to give this dip a try! It sounds wonderful!
Thank you, Kelsie!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I absolutely love your presentation of this dish, Milena! Beautiful. I am allll about the dips. It makes the whole veggie eating process so enjoyable!! I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade ricotta too, so this might just be the excuse I need!
Thank you, Katherine! Yes, even though it takes some time making your own ricotta is quite rewarding, especially since you can turn in into a salty version later on on whip if with a sweetener and make a fresh tasting dessert with some fruit on top. Always a fun project:)