Top | The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations

Lightened-Up Old-School Onion Dip

(recipe, Kim O'Donnel)

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I can still see the envelope of onion-soup mix that my mother would sprinkle over sour cream, pour into a pretty little bowl, and serve with waffle-style potato chips for her bridge-club gals. That memory is etched right around 1975. You, too? As much as I love an occasional dip-and-chip indulgence, the formula of yesteryear inevitably has me scrambling for a pitcher of water (those seasoning packets can be extraordinarily salty and contain a slew of preservatives better left alone). Enter: a spice blend with stuff from the cupboard (and not the lab) and a mess of caramelized onions doing some magic on Greek yogurt (the lightened-up piece of this recipe).


    1. 2 Tbsp. neutral oil
    2. 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
    3. ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
    4. Freshly ground black pepper
    5. 16 oz. "traditional" or 2 percent plain Greek-style yogurt (see Note)
    6. 1 tsp. garlic powder
    7. ½ tsp. celery seeds
    8. ½ tsp. dry mustard
    9. ¼ to ½ tsp. ground cumin
    10. 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (anchovy-free Plan B: Pickapeppa sauce or ½ tsp. soy sauce plus ½ tsp. molasses)
    1. Bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumber, and jicama, cut into handheld-size slices


    1. Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron (or especially heavy) skillet and add the onion slices. Using tongs, turn the onion to coat with the oil. Lower the heat to low and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is jam-like and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
    2. Season with the salt and pepper to taste and transfer the onion jam to a small bowl. Cover and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
    3. Transfer the chilled onion jam to the bowl of a food processor and purée. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
    4. Serve with your favorite raw vegetables; carrots, celery, bell pepper, cucumber, and jicama are all fun dipping partners.


    Greek yogurt, which is becoming increasingly available in conventional supermarkets, is super-creamy and my preference here. If it's just not available in your neck of the woods, don't fret; place a metal sieve over a bowl and pour plain yogurt into the sieve, letting it drain for 30 minutes or so. Although not a deal-breaker, the nonfat version is less creamy than its 2 percent or fuller-fat "traditional" counterparts. The flavors of this dish mellow and deepen with time. The dip will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.