One of my favorite foods on the whole planet is artichoke hearts. I like them steamed, grilled, dunked in vegan garlic butter or dipped in eggless aioli. But best of all, I like the jarred variety in all of their briny glory. They take a pizza up a notch, give flair to an antipasto platter, and turn a 10-minute pasta into something special. And if you’re really looking for comfort food, let’s talk about spinach and artichoke dip.
I was introduced to spinach and artichoke dip back in the late 90’s and was immediately obsessed with the one from T.G.I. Friday’s. In fact, I loved it so much that I wouldn’t order it as an appetizer for the table. I ordered it as my meal. There are some things you just don’t want to share. I loved the hot, indulgent dip, the occasional bite of artichoke, and the warm tortilla chips that added just the right amount of crunch.
Somewhere along the line, long before I went vegetarian, I stopped going to T.G.I. Fridays. Other people must have stopped going too, because I don’t think there are any locations left in my state. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a little part of my heart that belongs to spinach & artichoke dip.
Now over the years, I’ve seen vegan spinach & artichoke dips. They often involve a vat of vegan cheese and a vat of eggless mayo in equal parts. I’d totally dip into that at a party, but it’s not the kind of thing I tend to make at home.
Then one night, I made the Life Affirming Warm Nacho Dip from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. (The recipe is fantastic by the way. Highly, highly recommended.) It is made with a base of cashews and carrots, but you would never in your life believe that from taste alone. It’s thick and gooey in a way that seems impossible with carrots. (Those carrots have been holding out on us all this time with their goody-goody health nut act.)
It occurred to me that with some changes, it could be a great starting point for a spinach and artichoke dip.
Welcome back into my life, Spinach & Artichoke Dip. I’ve missed you.
If you are a spinach and artichoke dip lover like me, you must make this. It’s dense and velvety with generous chunks of artichokes, smooth and cheesy by way of nutritional yeast flakes & white miso paste. (If you would prefer a soy-free version, just omit the miso paste. It gives some depth of flavor, but the dip is still delicious without it.) One bite and it’s hard to stop. It ticks all of the pleasure sensors.
This dip is the perfect size for two, or if you’re like me, the perfect size for one with leftovers. (It reheats just fine in the microwave.) You may never look at carrots the same way again.
Rich and Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours or overnight
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- Water for boiling carrots + 1/3 cup water for sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion granules
- 1/2 teaspoon white miso paste (omit for a soy-free version)
- 1 big handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup quartered artichoke hearts (about 4-5 hearts) from a jar, drained
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped small
- Handful of tortilla chips + extra for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Drain the cashews and set aside.
- Put carrots in a small pot, cover them in water, and bring the water to a boil. Cook for five minutes or until they are fork tender, and then drain the carrots.
- In a blender, add the soaked and drained raw cashews, cooked and drained carrots, garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, onion granules, 1/3 cup water, and miso paste. Blend until completely smooth. (Add extra splashes of water, if necessary, for blending.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauce from the blender, baby spinach, artichoke hearts, and onion.
- Transfer the mixture to a small casserole dish (around 18 ounces). Smooth the top. Crunch a handful of tortilla chips in your hands and cover the top of the dip.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips for dipping.
Adapted from the Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip in The Oh She Glows Cookbook
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