I really should have called this one “fool your relatives spinach artichoke dip” – because that’s exactly what it did. I know the holidays are long gone, but I figured I should still blog about some of the food that went with the holidays this year. My dad has a really large family – he’s the oldest of 9. Every year on Christmas day we all get together for food, games, and prizes. It’s a well coordinated affair (it has to be with 35+ people) complete with Christmas letter detailing the day and what you’re expected to bring. Since I’m still one of the “kids” what I had to bring was relatively easy – a cold or hot appetizer of my choice. And it was to be left with the other appetizers in the laundry room. (I told you it’s well organized!) I could have taken the easy interpretation of appetizer and simply cut up some veggies and served with hummus, but I wanted something that would blend in with the other treats. I wanted something that people instinctively knew by looking what it was – but maybe didn’t know it was plant-based. And so I took a shot on spinach artichoke dip.
I was a little nervous about the dip, not wanting to dig in before anyone else I wasn’t sure how it would go over with a party full of cheese-eating Wisconsinites. But after I dropped it off and did a round of chatting I came back for a taste and someone had already started digging in. My parents even pointed out an uncle taking multiple spoonfuls out of the pan – and this is not an uncle who would normally eat anything remotely vegan!
At the end of the party, I was pleasantly surprised that the dip was mostly gone. And I couldn’t help but be a little excited that I had managed to fool my family into eating a healthier version of a party favorite. The next time I’m called on to bring in an appetizer, I know what I’ll go for immediately.
What you’ll need: (Adapted from Oh She Glows)
- 1/2 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can navy beans
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed & chopped
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds, plus extra for topping
- 2 small slices gluten-free bread (or regular if you prefer, but then use just one slice – my dad’s gluten-free bread is small)
- 1 tablespoon earth balance
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
I like to start by prepping all the ingredients – washing & chopping the spinach, chopping the artichokes, and onions.
In a food processor, pulse the bread and earth balance together until you’re left with bread crumbs. Set aside.
Add the navy beans, water, nutritional yeast, and spices to the food processor and process until smooth. It should resemble a creamy substance, if it’s too runny – go a head and add some more nutritional yeast.
Then, add the onions to a pan with olive oil over medium-high heat and start to saute. When they’re almost done, add the garlic. Then add the spinach and artichokes until the spinach begins to wilt. Next, add the bean mixture and the quarter cup of Daiya shreds until everything is mixed together and the cheese is melted.
At this point, if you’re going to serve right away you can toss everything into a baking dish, cover, and put in the oven. This dish also works if you want to prep it all the night before, and bake right before you head off to your party (it’s best served warm and gooey so that’s what I ended up doing – prepped it all the night before, baked it and rushed it over to the gathering – it was still warm when we arrived!) Top with additional Daiya mozzarella shreds and bake for 20 minutes under foil, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn but leaves the “cheese” on top slightly browned.
I served with blue corn tortilla chips, but any chip or even veggie sticks will do. If you’re looking for a party pleaser – this is definitely a keeper!