Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

A chunky clam dip recipe for your next party, potluck or game day—a better than average clam dip for sure.


Do you ever get a hankering for a fatty and salty bowl of dip and chips? Not a normal person’s portion of a bowl of dip and chips set out for everyone to enjoy, oh no, but a whole bowl to yourself with a bag of chips.

I usually ignore these cravings because, well, I don’t relish the idea of an early death by heart attack, but about once a year, I give into my unhealthy urges. I’m not talking about those urges, keep it clean, people!

During the holidays I caved and decided to make my own dip, because, you know, that would be healthier. Ha! Don’t you love self-delusion?

Clam dip had been on my mind for a while so I grabbed an old recipe and decided to tweak it a bit by adding sautéed onion, garlic and red bell pepper, using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and pesto instead of fresh basil.

It hit the spot. And surprisingly, to me, I didn’t eat the whole bowl. Must be out of practice.

Chunky Clam Dip recipe | Grabbing the Gusto

Chunky Clam Dip | Grabbing the Gusto

Chunky Clam Dip

You’ll need a medium skillet, paper towel-lined plate, large sieve, small bowl, medium bowl and whisk.

  • 1/4 pound bacon (about 5 slices, depending on bacon thickness), chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 6-1/2 ounce cans minced clams – reserve the juice
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (full or low fat), softened
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon drained bottled horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon basil pesto (or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Texas Pete or your favorite hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Potato chips or pita toasts

In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat, stirring, until it’s fairly crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. In the same pan, cook the onion and red bell pepper until the vegetables are softened and the onions are translucent. Add a bit more olive oil if you don’t have enough bacon fat in the pan. Add garlic and cook until golden.

In a large sieve set over a bowl, drain the clams, reserving the clam juice. In another bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and yogurt. Whisk 1/4 cup reserved clam juice into the cream cheese mixture with the clams, bacon, onion mixture and remaining ingredients. If you want a less thick dip, stir in more juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if desired.

Dip may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring dip to room temperature before serving. Makes 2 cups. Serve dip with toasts or chips.

Inspired by: Chunky Clam and Bacon Dip, Gourmet


1 year ago on Gusto: Escarole with Prosciutto – or use your favorite greens

2 years ago: Moussaka

3 years ago: Malaysian Shrimp with Pineapple

4 years ago: New England Clam Chowder — must be the day of the clam.

One thought on “Chunky Clam Dip

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