Do you ever have one of those nights where you just want to curl up on the couch in front of the TV with a huge plate of comfort food? Me too...almost every day. Comfort food may not always be the healthiest, and often leaves me feeling lethargic, but I think I found the solution thanks to Juli over at PaleOMG. This (dairy free) spinach artichoke dip hits all the right notes and just in time for any Super Bowl parties in your future.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the gooey, creamy, cheesy deliciousness of classic spinach artichoke dip, but that much cheese isn't a great idea for either David or myself, so I was thrilled to stumble upon this recipe. I also liked the idea of finding a "healthier" alternative to one of my favorite party foods. I will spare you my thesis on why there is nothing wrong with the classic version (remember, my motto is eat what works for you and keeps you feeling good), but this version just works better for me.
Anyways, on to the cooking!
Find the full recipe here.
The first thing to note is Juli graciously provides Option A (no dairy) and Option B (dairy) for this recipe. I decided on the no dairy option, but image the addition of goat cheese would only make it that much better.
Before starting, I had to roast the raw cashews already in the pantry. I simply spread them on a baking sheet, and roasted in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You will know the nuts are finished when they start to turn a darker shade of brown and fill your kitchen with the smell of deliciousness.
Once the nuts were in the oven, I started on Step 1; adding the spinach and artichokes to my pot. I used a mix of frozen and fresh spinach; I already had a bunch of fresh leaves from our weekly CSA. I cut the fresh leaves into the pot with kitchen sheers in order to create smaller pieces. Juli's recipe calls for all frozen spinach, but I believe any combination of fresh and frozen would work well. Just remember spinach is mostly water, so an entire bag boils down to very little.
While the spinach and artichokes cooked, it was time to blend the roasted cashews in the food processor to create the creamy sauce which glues everything together. It's important to stick to the recipes cashew and oil measurements. Too few nuts, or too much oil will create a thin sauce unable to recreate the texture of cheese.
The last step is combining the cashew cream with the spices and spinach and artichoke mix.
Make sure to fully drain the spinach and artichoke mix. Both vegetables contain a lot of water which may not evaporate during the cooking process. Allow the mix time to sit in a colander either in the sink or over a bowl. Then use your hands to squeeze out any excess.
Once everything was mixed, I decided to divide the amount into individual sized pans for easy dipping while watching TV. I placed the pans in the oven to stay warm while I worked on the "chips".
Spinach artichoke dip isn't complete without crunchy finger foods. Any raw vegetable, chip, pretzel, etc. would work perfectly, but I decided to get creative with homemade beet chips and tostones (fried green plantains).
I'm not a huge beet fan, so was pleasantly surprised to find a love of beet chips a few years ago. Making these healthy and delicious snacks is simple.
1. Using a knife or mandoline (my preferred method) slice beets to desired thickness. I recommend as thin as possible.
2. Coat beet slices in olive oil and desired spices. This time I opted for my cajun spice mix.
3. Lay beet slices on a baking sheet, making sure there is little to no overlap. I recommend covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Finally on to the tostones. If you have never had tostones, shame on you! In my opinion, these shallow-fried, bite-sized plantains are better than chips or french fries. If you are looking for a step by step guide, check out this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo.
A few tips:
When everything was complete, David and I piled our plates with the perfect football watching meal. Julie nailed this recipe; I did not miss the dairy for one second and felt relatively healthy eating an entire loaf of dip knowing it was packed with veggies (and protein!). The instructions were easy to follow, and the entire process took under 30 minutes. While I followed the recommended spice amounts, this would also be a great recipe to experiment with different flavor profiles.
If you are looking for something for your next movie night or potluck, give this a try!
Spinach Artichoke Dip from PaleOMG
Clarity of Instructions: ✭✭✭✭
Met Expectations: ✭✭✭✭
Each category is ranked from 1-4 stars.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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