Drumrolls, please…With this easy spinach artichoke dip, I've included for the first time artichokes in a recipe. Since I've done my extensive research on foods with high amounts of dietary fiber some months ago, I knew I needed a simple way to implement these fibrous vegetables in my nutrition.
See…on my top 10 list of fiber rich vegetables, artichokes are an excellent source and ranking number one (chart at the end of this blog post). As a result I created a high fiber dip which is hard to beat. I'll talk about that aspect later.
Why it took me so long
I bet you've seen them already. You know, these green, brown, purple vegetables, which remind me a bit of thistle. And in fact, artichokes are flower buds of a large, perennial thistle plant that produces bright flowers.
I dared to bake them in my oven only once so far and it was a mess. First I had to remove the hard leaves, then scrape out the hay before I could clean the artichoke base. Don't ask me about the baking result…
Anyway…in the meanwhile, I've found an easy method how to cook artichokes, although you won't need it for this dip.
There is no perfect shortcut
To simplify this recipe, I've used a jar with marinated artichokes as an almost perfect shortcut. When they offer them from time to time at Aldi I buy them in a bulk.
Heads up: While marinated artichokes are great sources of fiber, vitamins C and A, you should still enjoy them in moderation. As they are high in oil and sodium, I recommend draining them thoroughly before combining with the mix. A lighter option is jars with marinated artichokes in salt water. But those are hard to get and often they come with a hefty price tag.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good!
Another idea is to use artichokes in cans, but it's not easy to get BPA-free cans and again these are also not additive free. At least they are oil free as they swim in salted water. What ever shortcut option you prefer, it probably won't be totally clean.
But that's ok, as artichokes still offer so many health benefits which these shortcuts can't neutralize. As with many other 80/20 clean eating recipes, please don't let perfect be the enemy of “good”.
Update: In the meanwhile, I've found my perfect way how to cook artichokes on the stove.
Tasty homemade vegetable dip with everything at hand
What makes this cream especially simple for me is that I have most of the main ingredients always at home. In consequence, there is no need to rush to the grocery first:
- BPA-free cans of white beans in my pantry or cooked white beans in my freezer
- Frozen spinach pellets in my freezer (from Aldi)
- jars of artichokes in my pantry (from Aldi)
- cashews in our nut drawer (in case they are out I use almonds instead)
- nutritional yeast (with a vegan daughter you have always nutritional yeast at home…)
As you can see it is a vegan recipe and you don't need any cream or parmesan cheese. Whether warm or cold, this healthy spinach artichoke dip or spread is a great companion for whole grain crackers or bread.
It is also ideal for parties or barbecues. With a colorful plate of vegetable sticks (peppers, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, kohlrabi, etc.) it is a healthy accompaniment.
Step-by-step video instructions
Step-by-step video instructionsPrint
Easy spinach artichoke dip recipe
A delicious, plant based dip
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 5
- Total Time: 15
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
- 1/2 BPA-free can of white beans, rinsed and drained (you can use the remaining beans as a protein-rich salad topping)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 16 oz. /450 grams frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 jar (12 oz. / 340 grams) of artichokes hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- salt and pepper (optional)
- red pepper flakes
- Mix white beans in a blender or food processor together with the cashews, the nutritional yeast, and the lemon juice.
- Put aside.
- Sauté the onion in some oil or water over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic for a minute.
- In the next step add the thawed spinach and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Stir in the artichokes and add the white bean cashew mixture.
- Season with salt, pepper, (optional) and red pepper flakes.
- Serve with whole wheat crackers either warm, at room temeperature or chilled.
- You can also use 4 cups of leafy green, fresh spinach instead.
- Variation for vegetarians: You may replace white beans and nutritional yeast with some sour cream. I've even seen recipes with sweet potatoes.
- Serving Size: 3
Health benefits of artichokes
As a traditional herbal remedy, artichokes:
- promote digestion,
- lower cholesterol levels,
- reduce the risk of heart diseases
- stimulate fat digestion,
- support the activity of bile and
- regenerate the liver.
This is something the Romans already took advantage of. Artichokes contain flavonoids and the bitter component cynarin.
To ensure that the substances work properly, it is perfect to eat them before the main course itself.
This is the reason why artichokes are often served as antipasti in a baking dish, especially in Mediterranean countries. If you combine them in a dip like in this recipe you have also an optimal starter before a regular meal.
I mentioned in the beginning that artichokes are high fiber vegetables. You can see the proof in the following chart, where they lead the ranking list.
A nutrient dense meal for best health
Did you know that spinach contains tons of beta-carotene? I hear you asking, is there any fiber in spinach too? When you look closely at the table above, you will find also spinach among the top 30 vegetables – even ranking before red cabbage. Spinach and cashews are both good sources of roughage. Add to that the fibrous white beans which belong to the powerful family of legumes.
Combined with the artichokes you can create a tasty high fiber meal which makes it super easy to meet your daily requirements of at least 30 grams for an adult woman. If you want to lose weight or prevent cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, your fiber intake should be even more than double as high.(1)
Click here for more charts with fiber-rich foods including some important studies on their health benefits.
Buying tip for marinated artichokes in a jar
If you can choose between artichokes marinated in sunflower oil and olive oil, I recommend that you buy jars with olive oil. The reason: Sunflower oil contains significantly more omega 6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammatory processes when in an unbalanced ratio to omega 3.
Almost a Hard Rock Cafe copycat
My best artichoke spinach dip ever (until then) I've eaten in a German hard rock cafe in Heidelberg, many years ago. I suppose it was based on cream cheese, neither dairy-free, nor clean. And yet I'm proud to say that my plant-based, vegan spinach and artichoke dip everyone loves, can easily compete with the one served in the Hard Rock Cafe.
If you are a vegetarian you could always replace white beans and nutritional yeast with some sour cream. I've even seen recipes with sweet potatoes.
Recipe tip: check also my easy spinach artichoke pasta.