Why didn’t we think of this before?
Credit: Getty / margouillatphotos

Seven-layer dip is a classic for a reason. The Mexican-influenced hero of many a game-day gathering or cocktail party, it is easy to make, can be made vegetarian if need be, and is both kid friendly and adult approved. But because of all these things, it has become a bit ubiquitous and, well, basic. And while there can be comfort in the same old same old, it is nice sometimes to shake things up. 

But that doesn't mean you have to abandon the premise! The layered dip is a pretty presentation and a perfect jumping off place to create a new twist on the original. And for me, I shift to Mediterranean flavors and ingredients. Easy to source and prep, fresh and delicious, a Greek-influenced take on the old seven-layer dip is my new favorite offering for potlucks and casual gatherings.

How to make Mediterranean Seven-Layer Dip

You can make this dip in any size for any gathering; just choose a vessel appropriate to your number of guests, and source your ingredients in amounts that fit. For a small bowl for 2-4 people, buy an 8-ounce tub of hummus to start you off. For a 9 x 13 pan for a crowd, go with 2 16-ounce tubs.

Get ready to build this delicious dip with my layer-by-layer guide, below.

1st Layer: Hummus. Sure, you can get fancy and make your own if you are so inclined, but I go store bought. I tend to choose hummus with no added flavors to keep things simple, but if you love a roasted garlic or red pepper version, use what you love.

2nd Layer: Protein. If you want your version to be a bit meaty, try adding chopped cooked gyros meat or shredded grilled chicken. If you are staying vegetarian, add whole canned chickpeas tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil with salt and red pepper flakes. (You can also swap in grilled zucchini or eggplant, roasted red pepper strips, or miniature falafel balls instead of the meats or chickpeas.)

3rd Layer: Diced cucumber. To prevent the dip from getting watery, remove the seeds before dicing, salt lightly, and let sit in a sieve over a bowl to remove some of the water for 10-15 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

4th Layer: Tzatziki sauce. Again, you can make this creamy Greek dip/sauce if you really want to, but I buy a good version in a tub when I buy the hummus.

5th Layer: Diced tomato. Unless you have access to super-ripe summer tomatoes, I suggest you use a good quality canned diced tomato instead, which will be consistently sweet. Drain the can, reserving the juice for another use if you like, and give a rinse. Pat somewhat dry before adding to the top of your dip.

6th Layer: Olives and capers. Use whatever olive you like—briny green ones, kalamatas, oil cured black—halved or sliced. For the capers, you can use straight out of the jar, or for a bit of crisp, pan fry them in olive oil until they bloom and get golden and dry on paper towels.

7th Layer: Scallions and herbs. Thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, and herbs like parsley, dill, or mint give you that final vegetal flourish.

Let come to room temp for 30 minutes before serving. Drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil and serve with toasted pita chips for scooping, or mini soft pitas to make little sandwiches.