The Saturday Cook: A fresh take on spinach artichoke dip
Spinach artichoke dip always wins. Everyone loves the bubbling cheese-topped, cream-cheese-filled classic, but it starts feeling a little heavy as the days get warmer. And it’s not the best option for folks who can’t handle dairy or as the starter to a big feast since it’s so filing. Enter this creamy — creamless! — dip.
Artichokes stay married to spinach, but they mingle in a lemony blend of Marcona almonds. These almonds from Spain contain more fat than their California cousins and have a deeper richness that bears a faint resemblance to cheese. It doesn’t hurt that you commonly find them roasted in olive oil and showered in salt. When they’re blended until smooth, they take on a velvety texture ideal for cradling garlicky sautéed spinach and artichokes.
This time of year, it’s easy to find fresh artichokes and just a touch harder to prepare their hearts for this dip. But jarred or canned ones packed in water work fine if you’re in a hurry or just don’t want to bother. Whether fresh-cooked or canned, the artichokes become the star of this nostalgia-inducing dip that taste both light and satisfying.
Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
15 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.
- 10 whole artichoke hearts, freshly cooked or from a 10-ounce jar or can
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves (about 1 ounce)
- Kosher salt
- ¾ cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds (about 3½ ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Piment d’espelette, Aleppo pepper, or other red chile flakes, to taste
- Chips or crackers, for serving
- If you’re using jarred or canned artichoke hearts, drain them well and pat very dry, gently squeezing out excess liquid. Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts.
- Pour 1 tablespoon oil into a medium skillet. Using a microplane grater, grate half the garlic into the oil. Grate the remaining garlic half into a blender and reserve.
- Turn the heat to medium and stir the garlic until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichokes to evenly coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To the garlic in the blender, add the almonds, lemon juice, ¼ cup cold water, remaining 5 tablespoons oil, and a pinch of salt. Purée until smooth, scraping the bowl occasionally.
- Transfer the almond mixture to a medium bowl and fold in the artichoke mixture. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the piment d’espelette. Serve with chips or crackers for dipping.
The dip can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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