Don’t forget the appetizers! This light, tangy whipped goat cheese dip is a lovely addition to a festive holiday snack board. This delicious chèvre dip comes together in minutes and can be made up to three days ahead of time.
My Thanksgiving prep is officially underway. I’ve been to the grocery store twice already and have a long prep list of things to do ahead of time. And even though I always, always decide to make too much, I’m doing my best to take a relaxed and flexible approach to the meal.
In making my menu, I’ve included a serious appetizer plan. Usually on Thanksgiving Day, I’ll eat a small breakfast and then snack as I taste the food I’m cooking, but it can lead to serious hangry-ness right at the crucial moment when everything’s coming out of the oven and it’s time to get the meal on the table.
A thoughtfully curated snack board is also an important hedge on meal timing – we often find that the turkey we thought was totally thawed isn’t and this can add an extra hour to roasting time.
Here’s how to plan a simple spread with ingredients that don’t require a ton of prep.
Whipped Goat Cheese Dip: Beautifully Simple
If you’re trying to keep your snack board simple, it’s a good idea to have a focal point. This whipped goat cheese dip comes together simply and makes for a nice centerpiece with fresh herbs, chopped olives, and an artful olive oil drizzle.
You don’t need much to make the whipped goat cheese dip. Get out your food processor and have these ingredients ready to go:
- Greek Yogurt
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
- Castelvetrano olives
Working up to three days ahead of time, blend the goat cheese, yogurt, lemon, and olive oil, with the herbs, spices, and sea salt, then seal and refrigerate. Then, a couple hours before serving, set the dip out to come to room temp. Swirl the dip into a shallow bowl, garnish with fresh herbs and chopped Castelvetrano olives, and finish with freshly cracked pepper and a big drizzle of olive oil.
Crafting the Perfect Holiday Snack Board
Once you have your focal point, you’ll want to add in some other simple flavors around it.
I like to add a mix of flavors and textures to my snack boards, with a little something for everyone. When making your snack board, consider the crowd and don’t feel obligated to add ingredients you don’t love just because you feel like it should be there. Forget whatever you think the rules might be and add the ingredients you’re excited to eat.
Here’s what I’m planning for my holiday snack board:
- Aged cheddar
- Castelvetrano olives
- Rye crackers
- Cracked pepper water crackers
- Sliced watermelon radishes
- Radicchio leaves
- Whipped goat cheese dip
And other ideas for add-ons:
- Other cheese
- Apricot jam
- Quince paste
- Fig spread
- Dried fruit
- Fresh sliced fruit
- Toast points
- Cured meats
Though it’s not totally necessary, this recipe uses a bit of preserved lemon. Preserved lemon has a subtle, almost buttery flavor and really deepens the flavor of the dip and all kinds of savory dishes. If you’re able to source some at a specialty market, it’s a lovely addition. Otherwise, go with fresh lemon zest.
Planning your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the Thanksgiving section of the BkS Recipe Index.
- 5 ounces chèvre, room temperature
- 4 - 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon (see note above)
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for finishing
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for finishing
- 1/2 cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon minced tarragon or thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoon Castelvetrano olives, pitted and chopped
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chèvre, 4 tablespoons yogurt, lemon zest or preserved lemon, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, pepper, and sea salt. Blend until smooth. Taste, and sea salt and up to 2 tablespoons yogurt, as needed. Pulse in the parsley.
Spoon into a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate.
Allow dip to come to room temperature before serving.
To serve, spoon dip into a shallow bowl, swirl, and add minced herbs, chopped olives, an olive oil drizzle, black pepper, and flaky sea salt. Serve alongside the crackers, toasts, and sliced vegetables of your choice.
Dip can be made up to three days ahead. Allow dip to come to room temperature and add garnishes before serving.