Monday, February 07, 2011

Healthy Creamy Spinach Dip

This dip is an old favorite which I have made a number of times, most recently yesterday for a superbowl party we went to.  It is always a hit, and people are usually pretty surprised to hear that it really is actually relatively healthy.  It doesn't taste fatty and over-the-top, but it also doesn't taste like it's made with tofu and low-fat dairy products, which it is.  Unlike a greasier spinach dip, this one is still delicious but won't give you that same weighed-down feeling from all the fat... particularly helpful for a party like the super bowl where you end up mindlessly muching away throughout the game.  This dip comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, which has a variety of really great vegetarian dips in addition to other great recipes.

It's healthy enough, in fact, that the picture above is from my lunch today (the recipe makes a pretty large amount... what else am I going to do with all those leftovers?).  I used a smaller bowl that I made last year to hold the dip and then served it on one of my plates.  I actually made this bowl as a glaze test; since the color in glazes is an actual chemical reaction, you won't know how two glazes will interact until you test it out (and it will be different depending which glaze is applied on top).  Rather than just making test tiles to do tests, I made a whole set of smaller bowls and tried out different glaze combinations, some with drips like this one, some with the glazes overlapped.  It was fun to see how they turned out and they were much more useful than a test tile would have been!

What treats did you make or eat for the superbowl?  What are your favorite dip recipes?

Healthy Creamy Spinach Dip

  • 10 oz box thawed frozen chopped spinach (or you can use 10 oz chopped fresh spinach)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion - about 2/3 of a medium onion
  • 1/2 cup low fat small curd cottage cheese
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups firm tofu (about 2/3 of a 16 oz container)
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream (or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise (or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I use the kind from a squeeze bottle, but if you prefer to juice a fresh lemon this is about 1/2 lemon's worth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional - I didn't do this)
Fully defrost the frozen spinach (I used the microwave b/c I forgot to defrost in advance, and it turned out fine), then place in a fine colander and press out as much of the liquid as possible with the back of a spoon or a spatula.  In a medium to large bowl, combine the spinach, onion, cottage cheese, and garlic and mix well to combine.

Cut the tofu into slices and lay out on a clean dishtowel, then fold it over (or place another dishtowel on top) and press to remove liquid.  Chop the tofu into cubes and transfer to a food processor or blender.  Add the remaining ingredients and process or blend until smooth.  Add the tofu mixture to the spinach mixture and stir gently to combine.  Taste and adjust salt if needed and add pepper if desired.  Serve chilled or at room temp.  Best if eaten within 2-3 days.

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