Food and Drink

Caramelized onions and winter greens combine in a dairy-free dip that feels indulgent

This started out as a caramelized onion dip but I had some neglected mustard greens in the back of my fridge and I’m always trying to sneak in extra veg when possible. Caramelizing the onions first adds depth and natural sweetness before pairing with winter greens, which offer a nice bite but you could swap out with kale, spinach or Swiss chard. Tahini, sesame paste and avocado add creaminess — a healthy twist, a guaca-hummus of sorts, that feels indulgent without the richness of dairy. Enjoy as a dip with flatbread or raw vegetables or spoon onto a sandwich, or use as a filling for a quesadilla or frittata.

Caramelized onion-winter greens dip

Makes about 4 cups

1 large brown or yellow onion, cut in half and sliced into half-moons (about 16 ounces)

2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter

1 large bunch greens, such as mustard, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach (about 12 ounces)


4 to 5 cloves garlic, smashed

1/2 cup tahini

1 just-ripe avocado

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans or walnuts

Pinch chile flakes or 1 jalapeño (optional)

For serving: crackers, flatbread, raw vegetables

Peel onion and cut in half; then cut each half into thin slices. Heat oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Add onion slices, stir to coat with the oil; cook, stirring occasionally about seven minutes. Depending on your burner, you might need to reduce heat to medium if onions are beginning to burn or brown too quickly before caramelizing. If onions are starting to dry out, add a few tablespoons of water — or balsamic vinegar — and scrape bottom of pan. Add one teaspoon salt and, if you want more caramelization, add a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for another 15 to 20 minutes. You want to leave the onions alone enough so that they brown but stir them often enough or add a little liquid so they don’t burn.

While onions are caramelizing, rinse greens and shake off as much excess liquid as possible; a little is fine. Chop stems into small pieces and tear or chop leaves. After onions cook for 15 minutes, add stems and cook, stirring occasionally, one to two minutes. Add the leaves and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until greens begin to wilt and soften, about seven to 10 minutes.

Let cool slightly. Remove onion and greens mixture to a food processor or blender. And add tahini, avocado, lemon juice, pecans, and chile flakes or jalapeño, if using. Pulse to combine until dip is creamy and leaves are blended with some bits of green still intact. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. If you want a creamier texture, add and blend in about 1 tablespoon ice-cold water. Serve warm or at room temp with flatbread, crackers, steamed or raw vegetables for dipping. Garnish with a drizzle of good olive oil and some flake salt.