Spinach Artichoke Dip

Party time!

Who doesn’t like a go-to spinach artichoke dip recipe?! If it’s not for you *Gasp!*, no worries. 😉 I do believe this one is a party winner, while bursting with flavor AND good nutrition.

With these ingredients, you will become elevated!

This is a conglomeration of recipes – I played around with a few of them – elevated by throwing in some key, fresh ingredients you shouldn’t miss out on. This recipe is sure to impress at any fun gathering.

One of the ways to up your game is by the incorporation of sauteed mushrooms. Mushrooms add a depth of savoriness to a lot of dishes. I go into a lot more detail on mushrooms in this post:
Mushroom and Cauliflower Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
Another way to boost a container of sauce or dip is by sauteing onion. “What is so magical about this bulb?” you may ask. Well, let me enlighten you, briefly. The onion bulb contains specific enzymes within its cells, and when these cells are damaged by the action of cutting and cooking, the enzymes are released to come into contact with other compounds that are present. This creates a chemical reaction which forms other compounds. One of the compounds born from the process of slicing and dicing these pungent treasures is PSO – this is what causes us to cry while slicing onions. Now the next part is really cool! When you cook the onion, you heat the PSO which is then converted into a new compound: MMP.
MMP is mmmmmmmMMP savory. The more you chop – the more onion cells are damanged – the more PSO is released – the more MMP savory is released when you cook it. So definitely chop it up!

Look at all that savory action. I’m feeling the chemistry, here.

Another ingredient trick up our sleeve I want to discuss is FAT. Yep, F-A-T fat. It turns out, human beings have fat “taste” receptors. And we have our big fat brains to thank for it. Because of our adeptness at finding food and adapting to our food sources, we have become what you see today: problem solvers. (What did you think I was going to say??) We are good at figuring things out. *You could also argue that we’re good at creating problems,
too! 😀 * Good fats are good(necessary!) for the brain. Our big brains got bigger because of the incorporation of consistent intakes of good fat into our diet. www.sciencedaily.com When we learned to cook, and stopped chewing raw food all day, our brains got even bigger. To read more about which fats we should consume more and less of: www.healthline.com
If following a vegan/vegetarian diet, read: the different types of Omega 3 fatty acids and the importance of DHA and other sources of DHA.
The fat used in this recipe comes from creamy cheese.

Not all fats are created equal.

The principle I try to put into practice when choosing products is: the fewer and more simple the ingredients, the better. The closer we can get to whole foods, the more bio-available the nutrients are going to be. In the case between these two products I used, the cheese on the left – Treeline – uses 9 simple ingredients: cashews, sea salt, lemon juice, dried scallions, garlic, white pepper, onion powder, L. Acidophilus, basil, and oregano. The cheese on the right – GoVeggie – uses 11 ingredients(mostly refined/processed): coconut oil, sunflower oil, soy protein, cornstarch, sea salt, tricalcium phosphate, vegan flavors, locust bean gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, and vegan culture. Though lower in cholesterol, it contains a proportionate amount of Omega 6 (read the importance of Omega 3 to 6 ratio) and thickening agents. Do your own research, and make the most informed decisions you can in regards to your health. Ultimately, what we do with information is up to us. I like to think, using the tools of knowledge can lead us to making wise decisions. And when it comes to making decisions about our own health, we are our greatest advocate. Choose wisely.

From this… to this!

Ingredients:
8 oz spinach artichoke base (see recipe below)
8 oz creamy cheese of your choice
half a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 tomato, chopped
*1 jalepeno, chopped (optional)
*fresh spinach (optional)
salt and pepper
*avocado oil
Spinach Artichoke base:
2 cups chopped, fresh spinach, 1 cup drained artichoke hearts, 1/3 cup cashew butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 Tbs oil or water, 1/4 Tsp salt, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, 1 Tbs nutritional yeast, 1/4 Tsp red chile flakes, 1/4 Tsp onion powder – place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until you get a good stir-able paste. Add almond milk 1 Tbs at a time until you get the desired consistency.

Easy Spinach Artichoke Recipe:
Heat in a deep large pan over medium heat, avocado oil*. Add onions, walnuts, and 1/8 Tsp of salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring about every minute. Add mushrooms (and as much jalepeno you like, if you want a little heat) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring about every minute. Add tomato and cook for another minute. Add creamy cheese and stir until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Add spinach artichoke base, 1/8 Tsp of salt and pepper, (a handful of fresh spinach, if using) and stir until steamy, about a minute. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to your taste.

The Treeline brand French-style cheese we put to the board. It was excellent with crackers and carrots.

If you’re taking this to a party, have fun with it! If you’ve got a cute bowl, use that. What you dip with is up to you. My personal favorite is sourdough bread – it tastes amazing and is better digested by my sensitive tummy – but go for other crowd-pleasers like pita chips, tortilla chips(gluten-free), or crackers(I love Mary’s Gone Crackers which are gluten and corn free.) And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the time you spend with friends and family!

Enjoy your art and may you live well!

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