Friday, November 27, 2015

Smoky Kale Dip

My boyfriend thinks kale is gross. However, he not only tolerates it but clamors for it once a year, on Thanksgiving. This is when I make my signature kale dip, piquant with lemon, mustard, and garlic and smoky with pimentón, an underused culinary star that transforms everything it touches into an umami taste sensation. Studded with crunchy and colorful bell peppers and topped with fresh tomato and scallions, this dip quells hunger as the house fills with the smell of roasting entrees. Even though it's mostly healthy and filled with roughage, it somehow tastes like bacon. 

serves 6-8 as an appetizer


1 17-oz container plain Greek yogurt (I use 0%)
1 6.5-oz bottle artichoke paste (I use this brand, which you may be able to find in the Italian section of your grocery store)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
dash Dijon mustard
1 package Knorr vegetable soup mix (dry ingredients)
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
7 or 8 mini sweet bell peppers, assorted colors, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pimentón (smoked paprika) to taste
2 cups kale, finely chopped (about half a head, unless you have a kale Medusa)
juice of one lemon

4 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 scallions, sliced

toasted bread rounds (I slice an assortment of rolls [whole grain, rosemary, olive], brush with olive oil, top with za'atar, paprika, garlic powder, or other spices, and broil like garlic bread)

5 or 6 mini sweet bell peppers, assorted colors, sliced


Combine the yogurt, artichoke paste, garlic, mustard, soup mix, water chestnuts, bell peppers, spices, kale, and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix well.

Mound onto a plate or serving dish.

Sprinkle with more pimentón.

Top with tomatoes and scallions.

Serve with toasted bread rounds and pepper slices.


  • This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but is easy to put together. I experimented with a bare-bones version of this and added more over the years. 
  • If you hate the idea of adding a processed soup mix, try a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  • I've used different kinds of kale over the years. Most recently, I used a head of red Russian kale that was quite good. The kale is mostly overshadowed by the other ingredients, but it adds a serious vegetal note that craves expression in this party dip.
  • What you see in each photo is about half the dip. The two photos together give you a good idea of how much dip this recipe makes.
  • I use the hardcore pimentón that comes in a tin. I find that the tin keeps the smoked pepper fresh longer than a glass bottle with a screw-on lid. 
  • You can use regular bell peppers instead of mini, which are a pain to de-seed, but I love the sweet flavor of the mini peppers, and the stores are bursting with them this time of year.


This is a time-honored holiday favorite for two individuals, at least. Maybe you'll help us form a troika!

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