In my last few years of college, a friend and I had a standing Thursday night date. Each week, we would go grocery shopping, recap our weeks, make dinner, and watch the NBC lineup. We had a rotating schedule for dinner plans, too: one week I’d make dinner, the next week she’d make dinner, and then on the third week we’d either go out to a restaurant or (more likely than not) have an appetizer night. I almost prefer having a variety of fun foods to choose from versus having a heavy meal. However, some appetizers can pack the same (if not a higher) caloric punch if you don’t choose carefully. For me, I like making my own appetizers as I can easily lighten up standard recipes to make them fit in with my standard.
Even though the Thursday night tradition had to end, my love for lightened up appetizers (and appetizer night) still runs strong. Instead of turning to a pre-made item from the store or a standard recipe, I decided to make something a little different today. This recipe let me feature one of my favorite things: caramelized onions! If you aren’t a fan of onions, this probably isn’t the recipe for you, but if you do love them: give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Caramelized Onion Dip – Recipe Elements
4 small (or 2 large) onions, thinly sliced (sweet onions are ideal).
1 tablespoon of olive oil.
1/2 cup of low fat plain yogurt.
1/4 cup of low fat mayonnaise.
3 ounces low fat cream cheese.
Spices: salt, pepper and garlic powder.
The Full Cooking Process
1. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or regular pan) over medium-high heat on the stove. When the pan is coated with oil, add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes or until they are softened; stirring often. (If you aren’t using sweet onions, add a sprinkle of sugar or sweetener at this step.)
2. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and cream cheese. When the onions are finished cooking, pour them into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Adding them when they are still hot allows the cream cheese to melt into the mixture.
3. Pour the entire mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed. Add spices to taste.
4. Chill for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to come together. Serve with sliced vegetables, chips and crackers; enjoy!
As always, be relatively light-handed with the spices. I added in a little too much garlic powder and it is stronger than I had planned, but still good. Also, this recipe doesn’t have to be pureed, but I would recommend letting it chill for even longer to allow the flavors to come together better. This dip would work so well with this Bratwurst and potato salad.
The flavor of the onions really comes through in the final dip, and has a very real and authentic taste instead of the fake onion taste you sometimes get in pre-made dips. Don’t be fooled though, the flavor of onions is quite strong in this recipe. If you aren’t a huge fan of onions like me and you want a milder onion flavor, I’d recommend cutting the amount of onions you use in half.
Are you a fan of onions? What is your favorite lightened-up appetizer recipe?