This warm caramelized onion & kale dip was one of those random fridge clean-out meals for us, but it turned out to be really tasty, so I decided to share. It’s modeled after my classic hot spinach artichoke dip, but with summer produce and more complex flavor. I love foods that teeter on the edge of being bitter. Thanks to the kale, this dip hits that sweet spot. We served it with tortilla chips, but I also think it would be nice with pita chips, or toasted slices of bread.
For a more ‘cheesy’ texture, you can omit the cauliflower and use extra hot water instead – see the recipe instructions for a description of how to substitute this. And for an adult spin on things, add a splash of white wine before baking. Other leafy greens may work, too (but a kale dip is the most trendy, right?). Another bonus here is that you can taste it before it goes in the oven, and adjust the flavors as needed. Vegan food is awesome like that 🙂
So rich, creamy and satisfying! I was also very excited by the opportunity to use my newest cast iron skillet. This one is baby sized – 6.5 inch diameter. The perfect size for this kale dip, actually. If you are looking to upgrade your kitchen supplies to the next level I would highly suggest investing in cast iron, as they last for pretty much a lifetime and are actually quite competitively priced. Plus, it makes for (at least, in my opinion) a lovely looking serving dish for dips and other appetizers. You’ve gotta love cooking in and serving from the same dish! I haven’t found any major difference between this mini skillet (Lodge brand) and our large one (which was some kind of store brand that we bought at Ace Hardware), but I’m certainly happy with both of them.
The cauliflower and onions came from last week’s CSA share (like I said, fridge cleanout). The lacinato kale was from this new week. We also got:
Sugar snap peas
Kohlrabi with greens
Red mizuna (a peppery-tasting leafy green similar to arugula)
The purple basil is so fragrant that my entire car and kitchen now smell like basil. Which is a seriously delicious problem to have. So far in this season I am having no problem cooking and eating everything we get. Things that are in season at the same time just seem to always taste good together. Nature is cool =]
Warm Vegan Caramelized Onion & Kale Dip
A warm vegan caramelized onion and kale dip served hot from the oven. Dairy-free recipe that's like a more sophisticated spinach artichoke dip.
For the cider-caramelized onions:
- 1/2 tbsp refined coconut oil (or neutral oil of choice)
- 2 medium onions any color, thinly sliced
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
For the warm caramelized onion & kale dip:
- 3 cups loosely packed kale stems removed
- caramelized onions (from above; or about 1/3 c. of your own)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked overnight, or in hot water for at least 30 minutes
- 2 cups cooked cauliflower florets (or omit and add 3/4 c. additional hot water)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (or vinegar)
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch (see notes for info and substitutions)
- 3 tbsp hot water
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp white or yellow miso (use chickpea miso to keep soy-free)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp dry white wine (optional)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste; I used about 1/2 tsp salt)
To prepare the cider-caramelized onions:
Warm the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, sprinkle with salt, and stir.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the onions cook, stirring only every few minutes, until completely softened, about 15 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and stir.
Continue cooking and stirring infrequently until onions have turned golden brown and take on a sweet taste, and cider vinegar is cooked off... this step takes 15+ more minutes.
To prepare the warm caramelized onion & kale dip:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a lightly greased cast iron skillet or ramekin.
Thoroughly wash the kale and slice into very thin strips, 1 inches in length. I do this by rolling up the leaves together and slicing with a very sharp knife, like chiffonading basil.
Toss together the kale with the caramelized onions and minced garlic, and set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, cauliflower (or additional water), lemon juice, tapioca starch, hot water, spices, miso, and nutritional yeast, until completely smooth. For those without a high-powered blender, this may take a few minutes.
Pushing the mixture through a sieve if needed to get out any lumps, transfer to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep stirring constantly, cooking for 2-3 more minutes until smooth. Remove from heat.
Fold in the kale & onion mixture and taste for seasoning, and stir in the white wine if using. Transfer to the prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn on the broiler to high, and cook for 3 more minutes. Alternately, crank up your oven to its highest heat and cook for 5-6 more minutes - until the mixture starts to brown on top.
Remove from the oven. Serve hot.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge and can be eaten warm or cold. I enjoyed mine spread on a bagel!
Tapioca starch: found in the natural section of regular grocers, or at natural food stores like Whole Foods. Brands include Bob's Red Mill. There is no completely equivalent alternative that makes the dip as "gooey", but you can use arrowroot starch or even cornstarch in a pinch. If you are using the cauliflower option, you can probably get away with leaving out the starch completely, since the mixture will be thicker on its own.
Okay, I clearly couldn’t decide which kale dip pictures I liked best 🙂 Next up for recipes: Something that doesn’t have cashews in it. I promise! Have a great week =]
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