Spinach artichoke dip is one of the goopiest, tastiest dips around. This version sneakily replaces the dairy with a creamy chickpea purée, which means your mouth and your cardiovascular system can finally be on the same page. No worries if you eat the whole thing… in fact, that’s recommended!
1 can of chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice (bottled instead of fresh is fine here)
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup raw cashews (not roasted/salted)
1 cup water
1 bunch fresh spinach (or 1 package frozen)
1 can of artichokes
Drizzle of olive oil
Handful of panko breadcrumbs (optional)
Few dabs of Earth Balance (optional)
1 heaping pile of dippers (baguette slices, toast points, pita chips, tortilla chips, veggies, or a combo)
Servings: This makes a medium baking dish’s worth of dip. Whether that is enough for one person, two people, or a crowd is in the eye of the beholder!
Puréeing technology: You can blend the chickpeas and cashews in a blender or food processor — whatever you have handy. But if you’re interested in cooking more ‘sneakily healthy’ stuff, or are cutting down on animal products, I highly recommend looking into a Vitamix/Blendtec. They’re pricey, but you can find secondhand or refurbished ones for a significant discount. I use my beautiful beast nearly every day, so it’s certainly earning its keep.
Steaming technology: I have a little steamer thing with feet that can just sit in a regular pot. It was $2 at an Asian market and is so rad. If you see one of these, get it!
Artichoke hearts: My experience at the grocery is that there are two types of artichoke hearts: (1) over by the olives, packed in glass with oil and herbs, super expensive, and (2) over by the beans, packed in a can with water or brine, really cheap. Good news: the cheap version is the one you want! The fanciness of type (1) will be lost in the goop of this recipe, and some of those herbs may even interfere with your dip’s flavor.
Drain half of the chickpea can liquid out. (You can save the excess liquid to make aquafaba, if you’re feeling fancy.) Dump the chickpeas with half of their water into your blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend thoroughly.
If you have some savory herbs lying around, like rosemary, thyme, or sage, this is a great way to use them. Just toss a little in, blend, taste, and toss some more in if you want. Remember, it’s always easier to start with too little than it is to recover from adding too much! The herbs are completely optional — the dip is still great without it.
Keep blending until you have a very creamy/smooth consistency. It should be similar to hummus, but runnier. Pour the mixture into a big mixing bowl.
One more blender step before you wash it! Put the cashews and water in the blender, add a pinch of salt, and blend until very smooth. The consistency should be similar to heavy cream. Pour this into the mixing bowl as well. (Ok, now you can wash the blender.)
Spinach time! If you’re using fresh spinach: remove large stems and cut into bite-sized pieces. Steam for 2-3 minutes until tender. If you’re using frozen: defrost spinach in the fridge, on the counter, or in the microwave, depending on how much of a hurry you’re in. Once the spinach is cooked/defrosted, grab a handful and gently squeeze out the excess water over the sink. Add the squeezed spinach to the chickpea/cashew purée and stir gently. You want to distribute the spinach throughout the dip, but not mix it so hard that you tear it into little bits and turn your dip green. Keep adding spinach as desired. You may use all of it, or you can go easy if you don’t want it as chunky.
Artichoke time! Drain the artichokes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Go as small or as big as you prefer. Like with the spinach, you can add the whole can or just a little. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the mixture, and gently stir everything together until the pieces are just incorporated.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Scoop the mix into a baking dish. Choose a dish so that the dip will end up being an inch or more deep. Otherwise it will come out more dry and less goopy.
Optional: top the dip with a light, even coating of panko breadcrumbs, and then add several little dabs of Earth Balance across the top. (You can just drop some Earth Balance blobs on there — it doesn’t need to be thinly or evenly spread.)
Pop your dip into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the dip is hot and is bubbling around the edges, switch the oven to broil and bake for about 5 minutes, until the top of the dip is nicely browned. (Make sure you keep a close eye on the dish while it’s broiling — the threshold between browned and burnt can be tenuous!)
While this is baking, gather your dippers: chips, bread, veggies, etc.
Once the dip is done, dig in! Careful, it will be hot. And dangerously tasty.
If you’re lucky enough to have a bottle of champagne/sparkling wine sitting around, it would go great with this.