Ina Garten’s ‘Easiest Appetizer Ever’

Ina Garten’s Kielbasa with Mustard Dip is one of her many Barefoot Contessa appetizers. However, unlike all the others, it’s the easiest, according to the celebrity chef and Food Network star. Of all the times Garten’s said “How easy is that?” on her cooking show, when it comes to appetizers this one is the easiest of them all.

Ina Garten’s Kielbasa with Mustard Dip recipe was born when the Barefoot Contessa needed a quick appetizer

Ina Garten sits in a chair wearing a black shirt
Ina Garten | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

As the saying goes necessity is the mother of invention. That’s the origin story behind Garten’s Kielbasa with Mustard Dip. As Garten explained on page 52 of Modern Comfort Food, she had friends coming over to her house in East Hampton, New York, and didn’t have any food to serve. She went to the kitchen to make something quick and the Barefoot Contessa appetizer was born. 

“Sometimes you just need an appetizer fast! Friends were stopping by and I hadn’t planned a thing to serve,” Garten said in her 2020 Barefoot Contessa cookbook. “So I went to the fridge and found some really good kielbasa sausage. I sliced it, seared it in a pan, and served it — right from the pan — with a good mustard dip. They loved it!”

The Barefoot Contessa appetizer has 8 ingredients

Garten wasn’t exaggerating when she called her Kielbasa with Mustard Dip recipe “the easiest appetizer ever” in a November 2021 Instagram post. The dish kicked off a new season of Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa and, according to Food Network, it has eight ingredients total. Yes, only eight ingredients — including salt and pepper — which is right in line with Garten’s love of creating simple meals.

The Barefoot Contessa appetizer combines smoked sausage and a Barefoot Contessa version of mustard. Instead of serving plain mustard alongside the kielbasa, Garten turns up the volume with a few additions. She mixes together two types of mustard, both of which are probably in her Barefoot Contessa pantry, with what she refers to as “good” mayonnaise. Also in there is some horseradish for added flavor. 

When all is said and done, after the sausage has been cooked and the sauce has been made, Garten’s Kielbasa and Mustard Dip should be ready to eat in 15 minutes. 

Garten’s Kielbasa and Mustard Dip is a 4.5-star recipe

Seth Meyers whisks ingredients in a bowl as Ina Garten pours in another ingredient
Ina Garten and Seth Meyers | Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

With only 14 reviews on Food Network’s website, the Barefoot Contessa appetizer isn’t on the same level as some of Garten’s most famous recipes such as Beatty’s Chocolate Cake or Perfect Roast Chicken. Although it does have positive feedback from those who have made it at home. 

At the time of writing Garten’s Kielbasa and Mustard Dip averages 4.5 stars. Reviewers not only love the simplicity of the dish but the taste too. “This was a big hit at our holiday party,” one reviewer wrote before adding, “People were raving about it.”

Another said they watched Garten make it on Barefoot Contessa and immediately tried it at home. “I’m always about small bites so when I saw this show this a.m., I went to my freezer, thawed a pound of sausage in a little water, fried it up, whipped up the sauce, and voilà!” 

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