Recipe: Hot-Stuff Spinach Artichoke Dip with Crostini
"Back in the day, my college girlfriends were always asking me to make spinach-artichoke dip. It was their absolute party must-have," says 'Stiletto Chef' author Candice Kumai. "After making it dozens of times (always loaded with full-fat mayo and cream cheese) I went cold turkey, refusing to make it until I could come up with a healthier version." It took a few tries, but Candice created this skinny version that's so good, she swears no one can tell the difference.
"Now everyone is happy-my girls have their dip and I can feel good about serving it to them," she says. "It's extra fabulous if you let it chill in the fridge overnight-so make it a day ahead of time and reheat it for 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F before bringing it to the party."
Hot-Stuff Spinach Artichoke Dip with Crostini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Two 14-ounce cans water-packed artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach or baby spinach (about 5 ounces), roughly chopped
1 cup light cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 large baguette cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and keep one rack at the middle position. Heat the oven to 375°F and coat an 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is sticky and golden-brown, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichoke hearts and a few cups of the spinach, turning the mixture over until the spinach leaves wilt. Add the remaining spinach and continue to cook until all the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Stir the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan together in a large bowl until creamy. Add the cooled spinach mixture and stir to combine. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is golden-brown, about 30 minutes and set aside to cool slightly while the crostini toasts.
Turn the oven up to 400°F. Lightly brush one side of the baguette slices with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place them seasoned-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on the middle rack until golden-brown, about 6 minutes. Serve with the warm artichoke dip and a clear conscience!
When I need parm as a mix-in, I'll often go for American or Argentinean parm and save the pricey imported ParmesanParmesan to use as a finishing sprinkle or to shave on salads. When combined with other big flavor ingredients, you can't taste the difference.