Healthy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip.

One of my favorite things in this world to make (and eat) are dips.  Casey often jokes that I could write a book titled The Dip Diet: How to Eat Nothing But Scoopable Food.  Not only are dips fun to eat, they are great to take to parties and gatherings, and always a crowd pleaser. 

The problem is, many traditional dips are SO unhealthy that they have to become a once-a-year indulgence.  Well that doesn’t work for this dip lover.  This spinach artichoke dip is not only healthy, it’s vegan.  And if I do say myself, it is also quite delicious.

Healthy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

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(click to print this recipe!)

Ingredients:  (makes 4 cups)

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts (packed in water)
  • 1lb bag frozen spinach
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy Nayonaise (or light mayonnaise)
  • 2 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese (or light cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup Daiya non-dairy cheese shreds (or reduced-fat cheddar)
  • pinch of salt

To Prepare:  Start with the garlic – and break off five large cloves.  Don’t be stingy.

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Either mince or use a garlic press, and then add to a non-stick pan over medium high heat (with a touch of oil).  You want the garlic to brown, but not burn. 

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Drain the artichoke hearts from the can, and add to the pan after the garlic has browned for about a minute.

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I probably should have chopped mine up before dumping them into the pan, but I just used my wooden spoon to break them up to be a bit more bite sized.  Let the artichokes cook for about two minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

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Add the entire bag of frozen spinach to the pan, and mix well to combine.

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Let the spinach cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently.  You want to cook as much excess water out of the spinach as possible, otherwise you’ll end up with a watery dip – never good.

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The problem with traditional spinach artichoke dip is that the main ingredients are typically loads of cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese, rather than spinach and artichokes!  Not this version.

In general I don’t use many vegan substitute products, but I have them in my fridge for rare occasions like this.  The ones I do buy always have recognizable ingredients and are used in small quantities to enhance things like vegetables – not overpower them.

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Also, they are not simply vegan alternatives to traditional dairy cream cheese, mayonnaise, etc. – but they are much healthier alternatives too.  The Nayonaise, for example, is a soymilk based mayonnaise that is made of all-natural ingredients and is only 35 calories per tablespoon!  If you prefer to make a non-vegan version of this recipe, make sure to use the lighter alternatives to keep it healthy. 

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Once the water has cooked out of the spinach for about ten minutes, add the entire mixture to your food processor

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And then top with the cream cheese, Nayonaise, shredded cheese, almond milk, and nutritional yeast.  Season with a pinch of salt, and then let it WHIR!

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It should only need to process for about 30 seconds until it is well-mixed, and relatively smooth.  The more you process, the less chunky it will be!

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Transfer the dip to a 1-quart baking dish and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (probably should have done that earlier – whoops!).

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Add an extra 1 tbsp sprinkle of cheese to the top – just enough to give it a little extra oomph. 

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Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, and clean up your mess while you wait.

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The end result is a nutrition-packed warm gooey bowl of goodness that you would never guess was healthy unless I told you.

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In fact this ENTIRE one-quart bowl has 560 calories, 23 grams of fat, 43 grams of protein, and 29 grams of fiber.  Not that I would ever eat the whole bowl or anything, but it’s nice to know that I could

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Not to mention all the health benefits from the full POUND of spinach you are dipping into!

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Serve it with light pita chips or tortilla chips, or if you’re feeling extra healthy – maybe some cut up veggies.

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Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, this recipe is the perfect thing to take along that will wow your friends, while also providing you with a healthy option to enjoy during the game.

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I should probably go look up which teams are playing this year…

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