Party, indulge, skip the bellyache

I always contribute something to a party, not only because I love cooking and sharing food but also because I can control the healthfulness of the food I bring. In the case of Christmas dinner, I brought some appetizers, veggie dishes and even cookies and dessert, meaning I could eat and party with my family without a second thought as to how much fat/calories/carbs I was eating. It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling, especially when my carnivorous relatives even take a shine to my dishes, everybody wins.

The first on the veganize chart is spinach-artichoke dip. I’ve never been much for dips because I never know what is in them; I always assume either mayonnaise or sour cream, both of which are on my list of foods to avoid. The idea for this recipe was tailored to my family; most of them are not big fans of health foods so my usual fare of quinoa, kale or raw veggies were out. I wanted to brings foods that matched traditional party fare and while my version of this dip isn’t gooey and cheesy it has one special ingredient that opens up the flavors quite nicely. I guess two ingredients: tofu provides the necessary creaminess and texture that binds the dip together, a role usually filled by cheese. However, the main star of this dish is garlic aioli, it’s vegan and most importantly it has a certain zest and acidity that gives this dip its own depth and heartiness.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:

8 ounces fresh spinach, washed

1 10 oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, cooked and drained

1 4 oz. can diced mild green chiles, drained

2 tablespoons (or 1 small bunch) scallions, minced

1 cup firm tofu, well drained (I use organic sprouted tofu)

3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic aioli (I used Majestic Garlic spread)

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Directions:

In a pot of boiling water, steam the spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes (I steamed mine over the artichokes while they were boiling). Transfer to colander and press any excess liquid from the spinach.

In a food processor, chop the artichokes. Then add the chiles, scallions, tofu, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic aioli and process until well blended. Then add the spinach and process until the spinach is lightly blended into the mixture.

Transfer to a small baking dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Approximately 30 minutes before serving take the dip out of the fridge and preheat oven to 250F degrees. Pop the dip in the oven, uncovered for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crudités and/or corn tortilla chips.

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