I stopped eating animal-based cheese because I was disturbed by how animals are treated on modern dairy farms, not because I don't love creamy, gooey, decadent food—I'm still human! Growing up, if there was a spinach and artichoke dip on the menu, I wanted to order it (let's be honest. I still do).
These old-school dips tend to rely on ingredients like melted cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise—sure, we vegans can easily replicate spinach dip using plant-based versions of these dairy ingredients, and there are some seriously good ones on the market these days. But while I'm all for a splurge once in a while, I feel better eating and feeding my loved ones healthier versions most of the time. And I swear, this healthy spinach & artichoke dip sacrifices nothing in flavour or texture!
A good spinach & artichoke dip is two things: creamy and gooey. For creaminess in recipes, I pretty much always turn to cashew cream—cashews soaked in a little water and blended up into a cream sauce. Tapioca flour (or starch) miraculously creates gooey, plant-based cheesiness, and is used in many commercial non-dairy cheeses and non-dairy cheese recipes.
Combining these two ingredients/techniques makes the perfect cheesy base for spinach and artichoke hearts, with the addition of just a few more spices and seasonings. I'll definitely be making this again and again for parties and holidays! I hope you love it as much as we do.
3/4 cup cashews added to blender with 1.5 cups hot water and left to soak for 30 minutes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tapioca flour (or starch)
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (if you don't have it, no problem—just use black or cayenne pepper to taste)
3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 cups finely chopped spinach (or about 5 oz frozen spinach, thawed)
Blend cashews, water, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, onion powder, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour into medium saucepan.
Heat sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. The sauce will start to thicken and form curdles; keep stirring until it becomes smooth, thick, and glossy. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped artichoke hearts. (Note: At this point, if the dip is too thick for your taste, you can whisk in additional water to thin.)
Meanwhile, heat the spinach in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes until it wilts. Scrape the spinach along with any juices into the other ingredients.
Now you can eat the dip as is, broil it to get a brown crust, or store it for later (just heat at 350 for about 20 minutes or until heated through). Enjoy!