Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crowd Pleasers: Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Hi Friends!

It's been too long, sorry for being MIA! Just to make it up to you, I'm going to share one of my absolute favorite appetizers, spinach & artichoke dip.  We all know that this tasty dip can be a bit of an indulgence - but the ingredients in this particular recipe put a healthy twist on a traditionally sinful favorite.  Once again, I attribute this great find to Ellie Krieger and one of my favorite cookbooks, The Food You Crave.  And don't miss Regan's homemade pita chips below - they're a perfect match for this recipe!

Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip: Courtesy of Ellie Krieger
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil C: I use extra-virgin olive oil instead, either works
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups) C: I only use about 3/4 a cup - it seems like a lot of onion to me.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 (9-ounce) package artichoke hearts, defrosted, rinsed and dried C: Jarred or canned also work great.
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese)
  • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese C: I usually use about another 1/4 c to sprinkle on top.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until onions are light-golden but not browned. Remove from heat and cool.

C: I like my dip with a little more texture as opposed to a spread-like consistency, so here's where I change things up --

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, Neufchatel, mozzarella, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.  Scoop out into medium sized bowl.

3. Place spinach and artichokes into processor bowl and pulse until broken up, but not completely incorporated. Spoon into bowl with other ingredients and mix to combine all ingredients.  

4. Spread into an 8-inch glass square baking dish or 9-inch glass pie plate which has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. 

C: I've often made double batches and found that it takes about 45 minutes to be heated throughout.  

Regan's Homemade Pita Chips

2-4 Pieces of pita bread
Dried oregano
Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 400 F

1. Cut the pita bread in half and then in two inch strips. Cut through the center to make thinner chips.

2. Place on cookie sheet so that the chips do not overlap. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano, a dash of salt and pepper.  

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until brown and crispy.

It's that easy!  The pita chips also go great with salads, and you could probably switch out the herbs to explore different flavors.