Happy Hour Platter with Caramelized Onion Dip

Happy Hour Platter with Caramelized Onion Dip | A Couple Cooks via Platters and Boards

Do you Happy Hour? It’s become an institution in my family. Every Friday night, my parents have “Happy Hour dinner” to wind down from the week, which consists of all sorts of amazing snacks accompanied by a craft beer or two. Typically there’s a few fancy cheeses, usually smoked salmon (their favorite), and a colorful array of veggies and fruits. When Alex and I are in town, of course, my mom reschedules Happy Hour dinner to make sure we’re in attendance. And it’s Alex and my favorite way to eat dinner when we have no energy to think: some cheese, crackers, leftover refrigerator veggies + wine = dinner!

So it’s no surprise that we’re over the moon excited for our friend Shelly’s new cookbook, Platters and Boards! Shelly is the blogger behind Vegetarian Ventures and a dear friend of ours who lives about 1 hour away in Bloomington, Indiana. Last year, we shared a recipe from her first book, Vegetarian Heartland, this delicious Coconut Curry Shakshuka. Well, she’s already out with another stunning book, this one all about entertaining in style: well, happy-hour style, with beautiful, colorful platters of food.

Happy Hour Platter with Caramelized Onion Dip | A Couple Cooks via Platters and Boards

Shelly’s recipes and photography are always spot on, and this book is no exception. It’s vibrant and lush from cover to cover, with creative ideas for platters and boards for occasions large and small. There are boards of all kinds: Lazy Sunday Brunch Board, Date Night Spread, Movie Night Board, Grill Out Platter, Lazy Dinner Platter, S’mores Smorgasbord, and Black Tie Spread. In this book, Shelly’s brought on her boyfriend Wyatt to bring a meat-lovers spin to the platters, which is a fun touch. Since we eat mainly vegetarian, we’re into Shelly’s vegetable-forward spin.

To give you a preview from her book, we’ve chosen this Happy Hour platter with a luscious red wine caramelized onion dip. It’s rich and creamy, a bit of a special occasion treat for us–paired with potato chips it’s absolutely heavenly. To offset the richness, there are colorful vegetables of all kinds: plus tangy artichoke hearts and olives. If this doesn’t have you happy by the end of Happy Hour, I’m not sure what would.

Shelly is so talented and this book is a creative masterpiece! It’s also lovely as a gift: think housewarming gift or Mother’s Day.

Order It: Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen

Looking for more appetizer recipes?

A few of our favorite appetizer recipes:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free (with gluten-free crackers).

Happy Hour Platter with Caramelized Onion Dip | A Couple Cooks via Platters and Boards

Happy Hour Platter with Caramelized Onion Dip

1 Star (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12


Ready for happy hour? This Happy Hour platter is for you, loaded with veggies and a creamy red wine caramlized onion dip. It’s perfect for entertaining of all kinds!


For the caramelized onion dip

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large white onions
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

For the Happy Hour platter

  • 16 ounces potato chips
  • 3 cups olives
  • 8 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
  • 16 ounces crackers, like these homemade crackers (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 6 cups raw vegetables (carrot sticks, celery sticks, radish slices, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, etc)
  • 48 ounces cheese cubes


Make the caramelized onion dip: Finely chop the onions. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and saute for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown. Add the red wine and saute until the wine is cooked off, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat, add the salt, and let cool. Once cooled, transfer to a medium mixing bowl and fold in the sour cream, yogurt, and soy sauce. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make the Happy Hour platter: Transfer the dip, potato chips, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts into small dishes and place them on a large serving tray. Fill in the remaining areas on the tray with crackers, vegetables, and cheese cubes, Serve right away with serving spoons and toothpicks. Drink pairing: If you don’t already have a go-to drink for happy hour, serve a round of simple and classic old-fashioned cocktails. To make, mix 2 ounces (60 ml) whiskey with 3 drops Angostura bitters, a splash of club soda, and a sugar cube (or a splash of simple syrup) into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and an orange peel for an extra pop of color.


Reprinted with permission from Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen.

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I love the colors in this healthy platter. What a treat it would make for a person like me who is following a strict diet plan. I would love to try this out for my diet dinner tonight. I’m sure I will love it and will be motivated to carry on the dietary plan.

  • Reply
    Angelina | Baked Ambrosia
    March 27, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Such a beautiful platter! I’m pretty sure I can eat the caramelized onion dip by the spoonful!

    • Reply
      April 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes, the dip is so delicious — agree that it works by the spoonful, ha!

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