Vegan Artichoke and Spinach Dip
February 5, 2011

Vegan Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Great response to the nori cigars! I thought of you guys as I snacked upon a few of them on my bus ride to D.C. yesterday, along with an apple, veggies, and dip. One reader asked me how the leftover gingery sunflower pate can be used: great question! I love nut pates precisely for their versatility, and the answer is that you can do almost anything you’d like with the leftovers: stuff it into collard wraps, top a salad with it, use it as a dip or spread, or put it on your favorite sandwich in place of mayo. These are only a few of your options! I encourage you to get creative.

So far in my Super Bowl recipe round up, we’ve had a three layer, semi-raw dip, a raw soup, raw nacho “chips” (made with kale) and my vegan artichoke pesto pizza. Yum! Today, I’m sharing the most decadent recipe so far: hot and cheesy vegan artichoke and spinach dip.

I’m pretty proud of this one. It’s not particularly healthy, and it’s not the sort of thing I’d make if I were sitting around at home and wondering what to snack on. But cooking isn’t always just about us, and our priorities as eaters. It’s a shared experience, food, and part of learning to enjoy it means understanding that sometimes, a wonderful meal is a meal that you shape around the tastes of the people you dine with. Anyone who’s suffered from an eating disorder can tell you that social isolation is one of the uglier consequences; you spend so much time avoiding food that you also avoid a lot of social occasions, and when you do cook, you’re so imprisoned by rules and hang-ups that you can’t make anything that doesn’t fall within your own narrow little range of “safe” options.

One of the nicer things about learning how to cook, for me, was learning to surrender a lot of my vestigial rules—to throw a nice big hunk of Earth Balance into a fry pan, or agave into a muffin recipe, or a glug of olive or coconut oil into a roasting pan. I’m in earnest when I say that my palate hews to the healthy side of the food spectrum, and that simple tastes and textures are always my preference. But I also know how to prepare something decadent when the occasion calls for it, and to enjoy it. Eating shouldn’t be a monochromatic experience: it should cover a wide range, from simple to special, from light to luscious, and from routine to rich.

Consider this one a special recipe. Hot, cheesy, and oozing with cashew cream and melted Daiya, it’s the perfect treat for a superbowl party—or for any comfort meal. And even though we’re all about range today, keep in mind that it’s made with only the best ingredients: raw cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and a vegan “cheese” that happens to have a short ingredient list and and be allergen free. More importantly, it’s 100% without animal cruelty.

When decadence tastes like this, it’s easy to be indulgent.

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Vegan Artichoke and Spinach Dip (Vegan, can be gluten-free with gluten free bread)

(serves 6-8)

For the dip base:

2 9 oz. packages frozen artichoke hearts, or the equivalent in canned artichoke hearts
2 9 oz. packages frozen spinach
1 1/2 heaping up daiya mozzerella style cheese

1) Defrost all the veggies.

2) Chop artichokes into small pieces.

3) Drain spinach very well by placing it into a round strainer and pressing down on it with a bowl that fits into the strainer till it’s nice and dry.

For the cashew cream sauce:

1/2 cup cashews (generous 1/2 cup), soaked 1 hr or more
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 small clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mellow white miso
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 paprika
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till very smooth. I always blend before adding salt and pepper, then season to taste.

For the breadcrumbs:

2 large slices whole grain bread of choice, torn into pieces (use GF bread if you’re gluten free)
1 tbsp Earth Balance

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse till broken into crumbs.

Assembly:

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Place the artichokes and veggies in a bowl and mix them with 1 1/4 cup cashew cream sauce. Mixture should be nice and wet; if you need to, add more sauce.

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3) Mix in 1 cup daiya cheese.

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4) Turn vegetable mixture into a small casserole. Top with another 1/2 cup daiya (add more than that if you like)

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…and the bread crumbs.

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5) Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until crumbs are brown and cheese is bubbly.

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6) Serve. Watch your guests melt in joy.

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Hope this one goes on your game day menus!

Before I go, I wanted to mention that Casey and Marlena–two health-minded counselor friends of mine, are leading an emotional eating program that commences on Monday. Freedom From Emotional Eating Program is a 10 week program designed to show you how to love your food, love your body and satisfy your emotions so that you are happier, healthier and more fulfilled. The program gives you the guidance, education, support, compassion and real life strategies to heal. Focus on what you really want out of your life! Learn more about what they’re up to at www.emotionaleatingfreedom.com

With that, a cozy day commences in a rainy D.C.. Happy weekend, all.

xo

Categories: Small Plates

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    42 Comments
  1. I don’t see in the recipe where nutritional yeast is used. I assume it’s part of the “cream” sauce.

    • So sorry, Marisa. It is indeed in the cream sauce, and I just added it to the ingredient list (1/4 cup). Thanks for catching!

  2. Genius, pure genius. I use Daiya for the rest of the family as they are GF/GF.
    I will have to figure out a raw spinach dip for me.
    Peace & Raw Health,
    Elizabeth

  3. We just had some spinach artichoke dip at Native Foods in LA for our vegan-aversary celebration (4 years and going strong and stronger!) and we loved it! Thank you for sharing this…now we can make it at home for the next special occasion, even better!

  4. This is one of those things I was too scared to eat when not vegan so I have no craving or desire for it vegan. Yes I had a fear of cheese for awhile as a kid. I am sure it is good though. I never knew about the superbowl/spinach dip connection. Actually I know very little about anything football.

  5. this looks stellar. i wish daiya werent so expensive. its the only thing that prevents me from buying it around the clock because i love it so much i eat it far faster than i should (monetarily speaking) and next thing i know, my grocery budget is ridic. i could probably just omit it and hope the richness of the cashew sauce could do the trick. hmm…

  6. This certainly looks and sounds a lot better than my attempt at it, years ago. I don’t even think Daiya was on the scene then. So many snacks to attempt!

  7. Wow. That looks really good. I love spinach and artichoke dip. Finally one that won’t clog your arteries!

    I used to eat the stuff whenever I went to a restaurant that had it. (That and those deep fried onions.) Unfortunately, my mom took on my spinach dip habit and it kills me to see her eating that.

  8. Just stumbled across your Raw Ranch dressing, and WOW! it’s amazing. I was skeptical at first, I admit. It seemed like to odd an assortment of ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised. The dill is what makes it so fantastic. I’m thinking it will be even more delish tomorrow, once the flavors have mingled a bit more. I’ll be bringing it to our neighbors’ Superbowl party (the green in there is perfect), along with your sweet potato hummus (can’t wait to try it) with green and yellow peppers, cucumbers and broccoli, and a-not-quite-as-healthy green and yellow decorated chocolate zucchini football cake. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing!

  9. How wonderful! I adore artichokes, and once made a definitively not-vegan version a few years back, but have never had anything like this! I’ll have to think of an occassion to make it for, as I’m Australian (in Australia) and there ain’t no Superbowl festivities going on at my place!

  10. NIIIIIIIICE! Spinach and artichoke dip used to be me and my boyfriend’s “thing,” trying it where ever we could. But now that I’ve gone dairy-free, I really appreciate innovative recipes like this so I can enjoy new twists on old favorites!

  11. This looks wonderful, thanks! I’m such a fan of artichoke and spinach dip and have been dying to try a vegan version. Even though I’m not a huge Superbowl celebrator, I might just have to make this for dinner. 🙂

  12. Gena! Amazing!! I didn’t think of the cashew sauce!!! I looove spinach and artichoke dip but in efforts of making it vegan I was also using daiya cheese but too much of it and I wasn’t getting the creamy texture!!
    It’s so funny because I do make cashew sauce for other recipes but didn’t think of these two together!! Genius!!!!

    Have a great weekend!!
    Deby.

  13. Thank you so much for the mention of “Freedom From Emotional Eating”, Gena. That recipe looks scrumptious!

  14. This is the third vegan spinach and artichoke dip I have seen! I am wanting to make one of the recipes so bad.

    I have really been wanting to try Daiya so maybe I’ll go buy some and get started!!

  15. That’s so true, Gena, about eating disorders and strict mindsets. With my ED, I didn’t want to go out because there would be tons of food and everything I made had to be super healthy all of the time. I’ve come to learn, mostly in college, that living that way is not only boring, but dangerous mentally and physically! (If there aren’t healthy options available with the highest nutrient density).

    Enjoy the super bowl!!!

  16. Gena this looks great!

    I love love love spinach and artichoke dip. And have never made a vegan version at home. Have made some with cream cheese and cheese, so am loving your version!

    This struck me “to throw a nice big hunk of Earth Balance into a fry pan, or agave into a muffin recipe, or a glug of olive or coconut oil into a roasting pan.”–
    YES sometimes in order to have really stellar results, that is needed. Not like you’d do it every day, and who eats spinach and artichoke dip every day anyway.

    And even if I did throw a big blob of coconut oil in a pan to roast some veggies, I still consider that a healthy fat and it provides taste, fat, and just that extra ooomph to take things from ok to stellar.

    I love this recipe and am all over it!

    Enjoy the game 🙂

  17. Gena, this. Is. Amazing! I’ll be working tomorrow, so not super bowl party for me. But you beter believe that I’m making this for the next event I attend. Yes it’s not a kale salad, but it’s the healthiest version of this dip I’ve ever come across.

    Also wanted to say that the remarks you’ve included about eating disorders are so very true. Thank you for that. 🙂

  18. I needed this recipe a few hours ago! I just went to the store to buy ingredients to make stuff for a Super Bowl party. I’m still considering going back to get the few ingredients I don’t already have and make this as well. Couldn’t hurt to have another vegan dish at the party. 😉

  19. Leftover sauces and dips can be spread on a teflex sheet and dehydrated too! My sister and I love doing this. She recently made a tomato, sunflower seed dip and because she made too much she dehydrated it and it literally tastes like pizza!

  20. I was just about to google vegan artichoke and spinach dip recipes! So glad I saw this pop up on google reader first. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. What is it about cashews that they just make everything better? This looks divine and I’m more than happy to try it out as my offering to a very un-vegan Super Bowl party.