Thanksgiving is a uniquely American, and Canadian, holiday. Traditionally, the holiday was instated to give thanks for the previous year’s harvest and, for some, pay tribute to the pilgrims and Puritans who first settled in America. But nowadays, Thanksgiving is about family and lots of food. Which is exactly why those in the UK could care less about Thanksgiving – why should they celebrate a holiday built around people who purposefully wanted to escape England? So when I was studying abroad in London, we had to prepare the Thanksgiving feast ourselves. This hot artichoke and spinach dip is my way of rectifying the less than spectacular Thanksgiving meal that I had while abroad in London.
My friends and I wanted to cook a Thanksgiving meal by ourselves, but classes left us little room to find time to actually cook a meal that would usually take hours – unlike in the states, we didn’t have an extended weekend. But luckily, in the spirit of generosity, our dorm informed us that they would provide us with a free Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t remember much about the food, but I do remember that someone had made a homemade spinach and artichoke dip to supplement the food that the dorm had bought from a store. The dip, sad to say, was horribly bland and dry, and I just remember feeling a bit annoyed with it by the end of my meal. For some strange reason, that dip and its unfortunate execution stuck with me for the longest time. Upon return to the states, I went out in search of a better alternative.
The great thing about this hot artichoke and spinach dip is that it uses some unexpected ingredients: cannellini beans for creaminess and basil for an extra punch. And overall that means you can snack on more without feeling as guilty – goodness knows that we could afford to cut anywhere we can without compromising flavor during Thanksgiving. I would note that this recipe only tastes good hot; it tends to seize up once completely cold due to the fact that there is less fat.
Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Found at Food Network
- 10 ounces bag baby spinach
- 1 cup packed fresh basil
- 3/4 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 ounces low fat cream cheese
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, squeezed dry, and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 2 or 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Stir the spinach and basil into the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge in the ice water. Drain and squeeze dry, then roughly chop.
- Puree the beans, cream cheese, garlic and chicken broth in a food processor until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the spinach and basil, artichokes, Parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Add the Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste.
- Oil a deep 1-quart casserole dish or use cooking spray. Spread the dip mixture in the dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with baked chips.