[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]
Football season is never easy for healthy eaters. Every Sunday, we're confronted by smorgasbords that'd make Tony Siragusa blush. And during gamedays filled with KFC Famous Bowls and Cadillac Pimento Cheese Balls, it helps to have alternatives that a.) don't include a cup of mayonnaise, and b.) are identifiable as food.
Let's cut to the chase, then: there's only one problem with Giada DeLaurentiis' Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip, and that is you will never, ever want to stop eating it. It is the 1972 Dolphins of dips. It's right up there with Ina Garten's Roasted Eggplant Spread, which is the highest honor one can bestow on a dip.
Each one-third of a cup serving comes out to 87 calories, 2.7 grams of fat, and 3.7 grams of fiber, making it lighter than hummus and only a single Weight Watchers point. One could call it a touchdown.
Some notes on the process: I reduced the olive oil by two teaspoons and subbed in regular bagged spinach for the baby spinach (changes reflected below). The former step cut about 9 grams of fat, while the latter saved me at least a buck. Also, the balsamic seemed a tad prominent at first, but I added a little more lemon juice and it balanced out superbly.
So, whether you're celebrating another Giants win or weeping uncontrollably over the Bills, give Giada's dip a shot. It might just end up your MVP.
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 10-ounce bag fresh spinach or 2 (6-ounce) bags baby spinach
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add half the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1/2 the bag of spinach and cook until fully wilted, about 2 to 5 minutes. (If there are still large unwilted stems at that point, cut them off.) Remove spinach to a bowl to cool, and repeat the whole process with another teaspoon olive oil and the remaining half of the garlic and spinach.
Combine the remaining olive oil, spinach, beans, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a food processor. If it all doesn't fit at first, pulse a few times with 1/2 the spinach, and then add the rest.
Blend until mixture is to the consistency you like. Serve with tortilla, pita, or veggies.