Part One: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Football season is in full force. On Sundays, people gather to eat yummy food and watch the football game. So, I thought sharing a healthy yet yummy snack would be appropriate.
We have people come to our house all the time to play board games and such. I am always making food for people. Our friends have a diverse diet. One is a vegan and another is paleo, some are dairy-free and some gluten-free. So I’m constantly trying to find new, yummy recipes that will please an array of people.
This vegan artichoke dip is one of those perfect dishes to satisfy everyone. It isn’t difficult to make and is definitely a crowd-pleaser. And trust me, if a group of gamers used to junk food like it, you’ve got a winner.
The dip is made with raw cashews to give it the creamy aspect. You can leave the cayenne out if you don’t want it to be spicy. And you can throw it in a crock pot to keep warm for events like potlucks.
By the way, Raw cashews are the bomb if you are dairy-free. Along with cauliflower, they too have a superpower. They make things creamy and delicious. I’ve made awesome dairy-free macaroni and cheese out of cashews, as well as queso. (Foreshadowing to upcoming cashew superfood trilogy recipes.)
To begin, you soak the raw cashews in water for a minimum of four hours. This softens up the cashews so they are yummy smooth creaminess when blended. I sometimes put the bowl of soaking cashews in the fridge and leave it overnight so I know I’m ready to go the next day. It’s a bummer when you go to make this recipe and realize you forgot to soak the cashews.
Take the soaked cashews and a ½ cup of water and blend them in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Put in a bowl and set aside.
Heat a sauce pan or deep skillet and add the olive oil and onions. Stir as they cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Then add the artichokes, cayenne, salt and pepper. Keep stirring until the artichokes are heated.
The recipe says ¼ to ½ tsp of cayenne. The last batch I made, I put in ½ tsp and thought it was a little too hot. Everyone else said it was fine, but I thought it detracted from the rest of the flavors. But, if you don’t mine heat, I do think the cayenne is necessary to the flavor of the dip. Just go slow. You can always add more after tasting it while still in the blender.
Throw the onion and artichoke mix into a blender. Add the cashews, spinach and lemon juice. I usually layer the blender with onion and artichoke first, some spinach, and then the cashews and lemon. Blend until smooth. It can be a bit tricky to blend and sometimes I need to turn off the blender and stick a spoon in the mixture to stir it up a little bit. Because of this, I add only one handful of spinach first, then add more as I blend until I feel the appropriate amount of spinach is in there.
You can put it in a serving dish directly from the blender if you want. You can also put it in a baking dish and heat it up more in the oven or keep it warm until company arrives. I always put it in a crock pot and let it warm up some more. Also, this keeps it warm throughout the party.
The recipe says to serve it with sliced cucumber. I just can’t imagine spinach artichoke dip without some type of bready thing to dip in it. I’ve done toasted baguette, pita chips, and gluten-free crackers. All have been lovely. And, of course, cucumber or other veggies are yummy with it.
So, at your next gathering, give it a try. I have yet to have someone turn their nose up at it.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Yields: 4 cups
- ¾ cups cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
- ½ cup water
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- 2, 14-ounce cans or jars of artichoke hearts
- 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ TB lemon juice
- 1 cucumber, sliced
In a food processor fitted with an S-blade, blend water and soaked cashews until creamy. Set aside in a small bowl. Drain and rinse artichokes and set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook olive oil and onions, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add in garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in artichokes, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne until warm. Pour contents of saucepan into a food processor; add spinach, lemon juice and creamy cashews, blend until smooth. Serve warm with slices of cucumber. Enjoy!
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