This is the kind of appetizer that always ends up being a meal.

Sure, you’ll promise to stop at just a few dips. You’ll convince yourself you have self-control. But just like that third glass of wine you SWORE you were never drinking, this dip goes down in flames, quickly. So if you intend on sharing this with more than four people, I’d seriously consider doubling the batch.

My “8 servings” suggestion is for humans, not animals.

“Lightened-Up” is a pretty baity recipe title, but it’s also true. And while this still isn’t health food — I mean, you knew this — it IS extra cheesy while still saving on calories & fat. That’s because I used half & half instead of heavy cream, a smidge less butter, and low-fat sour cream rather than full-fat! Plus there’s self-marinated artichokes, because jarred ones in oil are the worst.

I didn’t bother with prep photos for this post because the cooking is straight-forward, so let’s get to it. You begin by marinating the artichoke hearts + torn kale in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Next sauté the onions and garlic in butter, then stir in flour to create a texturized roux. Lastly whisk in the half & half + shredded white cheddar (the best!) to create a cheese sauce, then combine with the marinated artichokes and kale. Top with more cheese + oiled panko, and bake!

In 30 minutes you’ll be face-deep in hot, bubbly deliciousness.

Though the flavor here is pretty classic, I do love the more American taste the white cheddar adds vs. traditional gruyere. I’m also obsessed with the texture (duh) because it’s the most stand-out aspect of this recipe. Rather than suffer through a puréed, mushy filling — WHY are so many artichoke dips like this?! — the quartered artichoke hearts, crispy kale, and crunchy panko crust add incredible contrast.

Each bite is captivating, which is why you’re in danger of taking so many.

Besides it’s clear addictive qualities, this dip is a fun, fast, and flexible dish for entertaining. Make it to serve, or prep 24hrs ahead of time and store in the fridge (covered) before baking!

Simply bring it to room temp while the oven heats up. xo

Lightened-Up Kale Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • FILLING:
  • (two) 14 oz cans artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 oz kale lettuce, torn + stems removed
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsps salted butter
  • 2 tsps crushed or minced garlic
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced (should yield 1 cup)
  • 2 tbsps all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cups half & half
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (I used Cabot)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the artichoke hearts, kale, EVOO, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes, stirring well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet melt the butter over a medium-high flame, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions and saute until softened (5 – 8 minutes), then quickly stir in the flour. Next, add the half & half and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese in alternating doses until incorporated. Remove skillet from heat and lastly add the kale/artichoke mixture and sour cream, stirring until well combined. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish.
  4. In a small mixing bowl combine the panko crumbs and EVOO, tossing until evenly coated. Top the dip with the panko and remaining cheeses, then bake on oven middle rack for 30 – 35 minutes, broiling for 1 – 2 minutes at the end if you prefer a browner finish. Allow to cool slightly, then eat!