"The hype is not unfounded. This recipe is aces."
Spinach and Artichoke Dip is one of Cooking Light's most popular recipes, and I've been meaning to try it for some time now. There was never an excuse until this week. So, thank you, impending Super Bowl. Thank you.
As it turns out, the hype is not unfounded. This recipe is aces. It puts non-light versions to shame. To shame.
Garlicky, cheesy, and creamy, you won't be able to tell it's a healthy substitute for an historically unhealthy dip; neither will your picky Uncle Bobby. It pairs beautifully with baked chips or bread rounds, contains no mayonnaise, and best of all, includes a big ol' helping of vegetables. Each 1/2 cup comes out to only about 135 calories and 7 grams of fat, too. Compared to restaurant brands, that's fairly phenomenal.
I changed a few things from the original recipe, based on reviews and forgetting to buy enough mozzarella. First, I sautéed ten ounces of fresh spinach, instead of defrosting eight ounces of frozen. This seemed to give the dip more body and fresh flavor.
Second, I increased the parmesan and cut 25-percent of the cream cheeses and mozzarella. The reduced-fat version made everything a little creamier without affecting the flavor. Finally, for smoother texture, I creamed the cheeses together before adding anything else to the mixture. As always, all changes are reflected below.
In conclusions: go Saints, go Pete Townshend, and go forth and try this dip. It's a winner.
- Yield:about 10 servings of about 1/2 cup each
- 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
- 6 ounces (3/4 block) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 6 ounces (3/4 block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
- 6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander, leaving a little water on the leaves. In a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
Pour mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes, or until parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down. Serve with baked tortilla chips to applause.