Healthy & Delicious: Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Kristen Swensson Sturt
  •   10-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 6 Ounces  (3/4 block) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Ounces  (3/4 block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup  fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/2 Cup  part-skim mozzarella, shredded
  • (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
  • 6 Tablespoons  shredded parmesan cheese, divided
"The hype is not unfounded. This recipe is aces." Spinach and Artichoke Dip is one of Cooking Light's most popular recipes, and I've been meaning to try it for some time now. There was never an excuse until this week. So, thank you, impending Super Bowl. Thank you. As it turns out, the hype is not unfounded. This recipe is aces. It puts non-light versions to shame. To shame. Garlicky, cheesy, and creamy, you won't be able to tell it's a healthy substitute for an historically unhealthy dip; neither will your picky Uncle Bobby. It pairs beautifully with baked chips or bread rounds, contains no mayonnaise, and best of all, includes a big ol' helping of vegetables. Each 1/2 cup comes out to only about 135 calories and 7 grams of fat, too. Compared to restaurant brands, that's fairly phenomenal. I changed a few things from the original recipe, based on reviews and forgetting to buy enough mozzarella. First, I sautéed ten ounces of fresh spinach, instead of defrosting eight ounces of frozen. This seemed to give the dip more body and fresh flavor. Second, I increased the parmesan and cut 25-percent of the cream cheeses and mozzarella. The reduced-fat version made everything a little creamier without affecting the flavor. Finally, for smoother texture, I creamed the cheeses together before adding anything else to the mixture. As always, all changes are reflected below. In conclusions: go Saints, go Pete Townshend, and go forth and try this dip. It's a winner.

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