Whenever I have friends around, even just for a drink in the garden, I like to have snacky foods available and my ultimate snack food is spinach and artichoke dip. This dip is not popular here in the UK (yet), but in the states you find it everywhere. However, the traditional spinach and artichoke dip is a calorie-heavy dairy bomb – we’re talking sour cream, mayo, cream cheese and parmesan cheese, plus a few veggies. For my version, I lighten it up by using silken tofu in place of cheese to give it that rich creaminess without the extra calories. The rest is just a bunch of veggies and lovely seasonings – simple!
Try this dip the next time you have people around – it makes a big batch and is sure to be a hit with your non-vegan friends (I know my friends love it!).
Warm vegan spinach and artichoke dip with homemade pitta chips
For the dip:
- 450g frozen spinach, defrosted, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 can of artichoke hearts in water, drained, quartered and coarsely chopped
- 1 package of silken tofu
- 1/3 cup vegan mayo
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt (I like to use Himalayan pink salt)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the pitta chips:
- 1 packet of wholewheat pittas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Seasonings (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220c.
- Prepare the pitta chips by cutting it up into bit size pieces. Place on an oiled or lined baking sheet and drizzle the oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and mix well so all the pieces are coated. You can also add additional seasonings if you want flavored chips – I like to add garlic and onion powder, or even paprika to give them some color. Place the chips in the oven and cook for around 15-20 minutes, making sure to shake the pan a few times while cooking to ensure the chips cook evenly. Remove once they are crisp and browned slightly.
- To prepare the dip, add the oil to a pan and warm over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until it starts to soften, around 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the diced celery and cook until the veggies are translucent, around 6-7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon juice at the very end, and remove from the heat.
- Add the tofu, mayo, basil, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne, black pepper to a blender and blitz until everything is well mixed. Next, add the cooked onion and celery and blend until everything is smooth and silky. Transfer the tofu mixture to an oven proof bowl or pan and stir in the chopped spinach and artichoke hearts. Adjust for seasoning.
- Place in the oven for 10-15 min, until heated through and slightly browned on the top.
- Serve immediately with the pitta chips. Enjoy!