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Spinach Dip {from scratch}

Healthy Spinach Dip

Ahhhhh! That is me trying to find a recipe for spinach dip that doesn’t include: 1) A pre-packaged soup mix that has a truckload of msg in it and 2) mayonnaise. Even when I searched for a recipe with Greek yogurt, a healthy substitute, they used a package of soup mix. There must be a way to make a better spinach dip totally from scratch.

The answer was to make my own and cross my fingers that nothing would end up weird. I decided to make it several days in advance, leaving me a window of time to make another version or something totally different if I failed. What, me fail? Oh yeah, I do. I just don’t post them, usually. There’s your hint: I posted it so I must have finally succeeded. Yes, I did!

I knew eliminating mayo would be the tough part. Greek yogurt has the nice zing that mayo does, but the texture isn’t the same. To give it a little more bulk and extra zing, I added cream cheese to the recipe. I let 8 ounces come to room temp for easier handling, then put it in a bowl with two cups of plain Greek yogurt. For that tiny bit of lemon that mayo has, I put in roughly a half teaspoon of grated lemon zest.

Mix with an electric mixer

Mix with an electric mixer

Onions were a given; I added a teaspoon of onion powder to the bowl along with a teaspoon of garlic powder.  I knew there must be a soup broth in the soup packet in the form of a bouillion cube type powder, so I used half of a cube of my trusty vegan chicken cubes and crushed it in my little marble mortar and pestle. I just love using that, it makes me feel almost chef-y. I emptied the powder into my bowl once I’d reduced it to dust.

I assumed celery was a part of the soup packet and added a teaspoon of celery salt to the bowl, with a mental note to myself to not add salt until the end, after I’d tasted it for seasoning.  I also added ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper and used a handheld mixer to mix the ingredients until they were creamy and smooth.  I taste tested and decided it needed a teaspoon of salt.  Perfect!

Drain then squeeze moisture out of the spinach

Drain then squeeze moisture out of the spinach

Next I drained the boxes of spinach that I’d thawed, and put it into my jelly strainer bag and squeezed the daylights, I mean liquid, out of it. (You could also use a tea towel or cheesecloth).  I fluffed the spinach back up after I’d reduced it into a hard little ball of green, and it was ready to add to my creamy base.

Stir in green onions

Stir in green onions

I put the spinach into my cream cheese mixture and blended it well with my electric mixer.  Then I stirred in ¼ cup finely chopped green onions and taste tested. The dip tasted pretty good… I thought it might taste even better once it melded together so I covered it and put it into the refrigerator overnight.

Stir well and refrigerate overnight

Stir well and refrigerate overnight

The next day I tasted the spinach dip and was happy with my results. It was as close to the original dip recipe as I’ve ever tasted. It also had all fresh ingredients that I knew weren’t going to cause anyone problems. Had I not been making it for a family gathering, I’d have curled up with some cucumber slices and eaten my way through the bowl, it was that good. But I made it to decorate little cauliflower crust Christmas trees, which will be another post. They were a hit and may be a new buffet tradition. So many veggies, so few carbs. It was a success on several levels!

Healthy Spinach Dip

Healthy Spinach Dip

Spinach Dip {from scratch}

8 ounces cream cheese; room temp
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon; I use vegan cubes with no added msg
2 boxes frozen spinach; thawed, drained, excess moisture wrung out in toweling
¼ cup green onions or shallots; chopped

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, seasonings and lemon zest until mixed and fluffy.

Beat in the spinach until evenly blended.

Stir in green onions or shallots and taste for seasoning, adding more as desired.

Refrigerate at least overnight, stirring well before spooning into a serving dish.

Makes about 3 cups of dip

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