A plant-based twist on a classic appetizer, perfect for entertaining or a healthy snack
Spinach and artichoke dip is a classic appetizer that's difficult not to love. It has an incredible blend of flavors and textures, that goes perfect on a crusty crostini. Typically it has an abundance of dairy in it, so if you're vegan it can be a challenge to find a recipe that aligns with your lifestyle and beliefs. Luckily, this vegan spinach and artichoke dip is just as creamy and delicious as the original, and it's also packed with plant-based goodness.
Spinach and artichoke dip can be traced back to the 1950s. It was first served at a San Francisco restaurant as a warm dip with bread. Over the years, it has evolved into a popular appetizer served at parties and gatherings, like football's Super Bowl. It also spread across many restaurants in the country. I remember going to Applebees as a teenager and ordering this off the menu every single time. I was hooked!
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS IN IT?
This recipe uses cashews as the base for a rich and creamy dip. Cashews are a great source of healthy fats and proteins, making them an excellent food source for vegans (and non-vegans too!). Additionally, the spinach and artichokes used in this recipe are both packed with vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin C, and fiber.
CASHEWS: These nuts are an integral part of this recipe, as they provide density and creaminess. A combination of the milk and cashews act as a replacement to the texture a cream cheese sauce provides.
SPINACH & ARTICHOKES: You can't have a spinach and artichoke dip without the lead characters in this appetizer. The spinach offers a mild sweet flavor, whereas the artichokes have a slightly nutty flavor. Both melt like butter in your mouth in this recipe after their baked.
NUTRITIONAL YEAST & MISO PASTE: Both of these ingredients add the essential umami flavor that we love so much in cheese, plus the nooch (aka nutritional yeast) has a naturally cheesy flavor, so the combo of the two give your palette what it would want in any kind of cheesy dish, but plant based!
WHAT ARE DIFFERENT VARIATIONS TO THIS DIP?
SEASONAL: You can switch things up with this recipe by replacing the spinach with greens that are in season at the time. For example, during springtime you can try swapping with spring greens, aka young cabbage. For summer you can opt for a bitter green like mustard greens, and for the fall and winter, spinach is a great choice, as is massaged kale.
QUICK VERSION: If you're pressed for time, you can use plain flavored plant based cream cheese to replace the cashews, plant milk, nutritional yeast and miso. I personally really like Treeline or Violife cream cheese. Treeline is a bit more tangy, whereas Violife has a softer flavor.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES THIS SERVE?
I find that this recipe serves a small group of people, as an appetizer to snack on. So, about 4-6 people. You can adjust the measurements accordingly for the amount of people you are making this for.
HOW DOES IT STORE?
Because of all of the fresh ingredients and no preservatives, I recommend eating this within 5 days. If you're making this for a gathering, you can create the mixture the day before and hold off on baking it until the next day, for freshness.
Creamy Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip
List of Ingredients
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves raw garlic, sliced
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 15 minutes
1 3/4 cups plant based milk, unsweetened
1 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
1 tsp white miso paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cups raw spinach, chopped finely
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tbsp vegan parmesan (optional)
**You will need a high speed processor or blender, baking dish and saute pan.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit
In a saute pan, warm up olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the onions and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for about a minute or until onion is translucent. Set aside.
In a high speed food processor or blender, add the cashews, milk, salt, white miso paste, and nutritional yeast. Process until completely creamy.
Place the artichokes and spinach in bowl, mix together, and then add the cheesy sauce. Mix again until all the veggies are coated.
Finally, add everything into the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. In the last five minutes, remove the foil to allow the top to brown a bit.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with vegan parmesan and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy with crusty crostini, chips, pita bread or veggies like carrots.