I wish I could remember the restaurant where I had my very first spinach and artichoke dip. I’m pretty sure it was in the late 80’s – maybe even the early 90’s – and I’m pretty sure it was the first time in my entire life I had ever ingested a member of the thistle family. But one thing I do know for certain – when the waitress plunked the bowl down on the table, piping hot, hugged by a sea of warm, homemade chips, one bite and my life forever changed.

Life Before Spinach and Artichoke Dip = sad.

Life After Spinach and Artichoke Dip = happy!

Boy, was it tasty. Cheesy, a little salty and gooey. Unlike anything I had ever had before. There it was just begging to be scooped up with a crunchy chip. Pardon me – chips. Because, let’s face it, once you dig into its creamy, heavenly goodness, you can’t stop stuffing your face until every last bit is gone (Hoovered up in record time, too).

And just look at you not even feeling the teensiest bit guilty about annihilating the whole thing, either. Well, because of all that spinach in there. Right? Beautiful, green, so good-for-you spinach. Ahhh, spinach…the magic guilt eraser.

Something that is so darn good and that’s so easy to prepare (mix some stuff in a bowl, throw it in a pan easy)?

Lordy, can I get a witness?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (I leave it out overnight to soften)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • one (10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed dry  and chopped
  • one (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for the top
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • smoked paprika, for the top

Here’s how:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cream cheese in a microwave-proof bowl and heat until barely warmed and soft, about 40 seconds. Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, spinach, artichokes, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and cayenne; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish and sprinkle with an additional 1/4 cup Parmesan and some paprika; bake until the top browns and the dip is bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before diving in.

Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or crusty bread. Makes 8 servings.

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