Photos by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
Jessicarobyn Keyser

My Kale Chips Always Suck, But This Kale Dip Rocks

by 
Tamara Palmer
August 12, 2021

You, like me, have likely seen countless recipes for kale chips on the internet that tout how easy they are to make. You may have even skimmed a few of those recipes for homemade kale chips and thought that you, too, could achieve kale chip greatness for less money than a store-bought bag. You may have even selected the one that seems the easiest and tried to make it, only to achieve miserable results and feel bad about your cooking skills, which are probably genuinely awesome otherwise.

After taking a few years off from even attempting to make kale chips, I tried to follow a deceptively simple recipe and got truly disgusting results — they were burnt, salty and totally disrespectful to the kale itself. They weren’t even salvageable as a crumbled salad topping and brought down the overall high batting average of my kitchen. I tried to eat as many as I could, but it was just sheer punishment.

Depending on how “granola” the place you call home is, you may be totally unsurprised to learn that there’s a thriving business of artisanal seasoned kale chips that cost $5-10 or even more for a small serving. I’ve seen kale chip seasonings that try to mimic popular tortilla and potato chip flavors, such as nacho cheese, ranch dressing or — my favorite — sour cream and onion. At the fanciest end of the spectrum, there are kale chips with lemon miso and ginger, maple pecan and even buffalo bone broth!

After the most recent kale chip failure in the kitchen, I decided to refrain from making/wasting them myself. Instead, I’m going to give my money to the kale chip professionals and use fresh kale to make my own dips to serve with kale chips and anything else that I feel like dipping at any given moment.

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Spinach dip has been a holiday party staple for decades, but kale works just as well, whether on its own or in concert with spinach, and offers double the vitamin C of its green cousin and a dose of omega-3 fatty acid to boot. My kale, sour cream and onion dip is a perfect foil for kale chips, potato chips or vegetables. I love it with raw carrots and celery or steamed green beans, zucchini and artichokes. You can channel that old-school holiday spinach dip vibe by serving it inside a hollowed-out sourdough bread bowl, with bread chunks and toothpicks for easy dunking.

The dip responds well to adding heat, should you want to swirl in some Sriracha or preferred heat-seeking hot sauce missile. It’s also super satisfying as a swap for your regular sour cream in a baked potato. And, unlike kale chips, it is practically fail-proof. 

Cooking the chopped leaves in garlic and shallot gives the dip an extra burst of flavor. The dip definitely improves with a little refrigeration time, but I’m not the kind of cook who likes to wait to eat once a recipe is finished, so with a couple of modifications, this will be good to go as soon as you finish.

Kale, Sour Cream, Onion and (Maybe) Spinach Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
 | 
Cook Time: 10 minutes
 | 
Yields 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups packed finely chopped kale leaves (I use baby kale but any leaves are fine)

2 cups packed Fifth Season spinach (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of salt (I use sea salt but can be regular)

1 tbsp neutral cooking oil

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press

1 medium shallot or 1 small onion, minced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup plain yogurt (I like European style, which is a bit creamier and easier to stir)

1 French onion soup packet (I used Knorr)

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened, if serving warm (optional)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
 | 
Cook Time: 10 minutes
 | 
Yields 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups packed finely chopped kale leaves (I use baby kale but any leaves are fine)

2 cups packed Fifth Season spinach (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of salt (I use sea salt but can be regular)

1 tbsp neutral cooking oil

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press

1 medium shallot or 1 small onion, minced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup plain yogurt (I like European style, which is a bit creamier and easier to stir)

1 French onion soup packet (I used Knorr)

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened, if serving warm (optional)

Ingredients

2 cups packed finely chopped kale leaves (I use baby kale but any leaves are fine)

2 cups packed Fifth Season spinach (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of salt (I use sea salt but can be regular)

1 tbsp neutral cooking oil

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press

1 medium shallot or 1 small onion, minced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup plain yogurt (I like European style, which is a bit creamier and easier to stir)

1 French onion soup packet (I used Knorr)

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened, if serving warm (optional)

Directions

1. Add oil, garlic, and shallot or onion to a saucepan and place over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning the stove down if those aromatics start to brown too quickly.

2. Add greens, salt, and lemon juice and stir occasionally for an additional 3-5 minutes, until garlic and shallot or onion are at least lightly browned and kale is wilted and cooked. Remove greens from the stove and allow to cool to room temp.

If serving cold (recommended): Add sour cream, yogurt and French onion soup packet to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in cooled greens mixture and pulse again until fully incorporated. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

If serving warm: Add sour cream, yogurt, French onion soup packet, and cream cheese to your original bowl and whisk well. Fold cooled greens mixture into dip, and start dipping.

About the Author

Tamara Palmer

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