I had Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip for the first time sometime in the 1990’s. I remember thinking “Huh, what is this nasty looking thing and why is it hot?” But one bite and I’m pretty sure time stopped for a few minutes there and I was lost in a gooey, cheesy, hot, rich, tangy, and utterly delicious vortex of yum. It also left me gripping my stomach in pain about 30 minutes later, if I remember correctly. But despite the pain, the memory of those glorious tastes and textures dancing on my tongue lived on.
Traditionally, Spinach Artichoke dip contains mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, and oh yeah, some artichoke hearts and spinach. Problem One, not exactly vegan. I mean, you can buy vegan versions of all those things, but it wouldn’t be healthy and might not even taste very good. Problem Two, despite living in a place where artichokes actually grow, there are NO artichoke hearts for sale! Yes, I could cook my own artichokes and remove the hearts, but that’s just not gonna happen.
I am not sure WHY artichoke hearts are not sold, because artichoke BOTTOMS are widely available both frozen and canned. But bottoms won’t work for this recipe because the texture is all wrong. (Trust me, I tried). I am pretty sure it is a kashrut issue and probably to due to the impossibility of assuring artichoke hearts are bug-free.
But lo and behold, the other day in Hetzi Hinam in Hod HaSharon, I found canned artichoke hearts! I bought like 10 cans, haha.
Then a friend pointed out that they do NOT have a hecsher on them despite being sold in an all-Kosher store. Well, I now have 10 cans so guess what? I’m using them! (Do not take kashrut advice from the likes of me.)
So then I perused several recipes online for vegan spinach artichoke dip and finally settled on this one on Happy, Healthy Long Life, because I have liked her recipes in the past. It really ends up being a very healthy recipe! It is high in protein, full of veggies, and low in fat. I made a few changes based on local ingredient packaging size and changed the whole thing to metric. If you are in North America, you can use her recipe as written here. I also left out the basil because I didn’t happen to have any, but I’m sure it’s delicious if you include it.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 box spinach (about 150g)
- 1 box tofu (300g), if you have get silken, use that, if not firm is fine
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (shmarei beera)
- juice of one lemon OR 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- several twists freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (390g) artichoke hearts in water (reserve liquid!)
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Lightly spray or grease a baking dish (4 cup capacity)
- Water saute onion and garlic until softened
- Toss in spinach and stir until wilted.
- Season with black pepper.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In food processor, blend tofu, nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon or vinegar until smooth, adding liquid from artichoke can as needed. If you are using silken tofu, you probably won't need to add any liquid, but with firm tofu, you will need about half of what is in the can.
- Add artichoke hearts and pulse until chopped and blended but not entirely smooth. You want some texture here.
- Add the onion-garlic-spinach mixture and pulse just a few times until all is chopped and blended.
- Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- NOTE: I had some leftover homemade breadcrumbs, so I sprinkled those on for the last 10 mins and broiled until lightly toasted.
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