Ever get that feeling that you’re the only one?
Well here’s an uplifting story to remind you, whatever the case, you’re probably not!
Since becoming vegan I haven’t had anyone close to relate to or help me through the transition. I know a few vegetarians and have some newly vegan friends outside of town (shout out to Brittany E. and Alison D!) but I felt like I was pretty much on my own here in Fredericton. Then the craziest thing happened one night when my landlord’s wife was in my apartment taking measurements for renovations. She asked if I was vegan because she noticed we had some of the same cookbooks. I told her I was new to the lifestyle but loving it so far and she responded by telling me she’s been vegan since 2011. I was floored! For over a year I’ve been living in the basement of a vegan!
She then proceeded to tell me that a woman on our street is a long-time vegan who inspired her to make the transition. We texted back and forth a bit that night and she recommended her favorite veg-friendly restaurants in Freddy, her go-to websites/books, and suggested we have a “Vegetarian Wine & Appetizer” night for anyone currently living or interested in this lifestyle. I love that! She sent me our neighbor’s recipe for a spinach and artichoke dip and I had been waiting for an opportunity to make it.
This is an appetizer I used to love, love, LOVE at restaurants but haven’t had it in ages. One, because it’s normally dairy-based, and two, because it’s calorific and cheat-tastic! But that’s the amazing thing about vegan dishes: they often contain only whole, unprocessed foods that you can indulge in guilt-free! The only processed product in this recipe would be the Daiya cheese which still makes it million times better than your average cheesy, baked dip 😉
Last weekend I made the dip on Friday night for our company. It turned out so good I finished it off for lunch the next day… cold! I know this recipe will forever hold a special place in my heart because of how I came upon it and I want to share it as a delicious reminder that our world is full of surprises and you are never alone ❤
Here it is. Make this ASAP!
Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Serves: 6-12, depending on how much you love it
For the dip base:
- 500 g package frozen artichoke hearts, or the equivalent in canned artichoke hearts
- 500 g package frozen spinach
- 1 1/2 heaping cup daiya mozzerella style cheese
- Defrost all veggies.
- Chop artichokes into small pieces.
- Drain spinach very well by placing it into a round strainer and pressing down on it with a bowl that fits into the strainer until its nice and dry. You may also need to pat with paper towel to remove excess water.
For the cashew cream sauce:
- 1/2 cup cashews (be generous), soaked 1 hr or more
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp mellow white miso
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Blend all cream sauce ingredients (except salt & pepper) in a high speed blender until smooth, then season with S&P to taste.
For the breadcrumbs:
- 2 large slices whole grain bread of choice, torn into pieces (use GF bread if you’re gluten free)
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until broken into crumbs (1).
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine artichokes, veggies and Daiya shreds in a large bowl.
- Add 1 1/4 cup cashew cream sauce to the bowl and evenly distribute ingredients. Mixture should be nice and wet. Add more sauce if necessary (2).
- Transfer ingredients to a casserole dish and bake for 20-30 min or until bubbly around the edges (3).
- Top with bread crumbs when nearly done and bake until crumbs are lightly browned.
- Serve with baked pita triangles and/or tortilla chips.
- I omitted the bread crumbs from my recipe since I didn’t have any GFree bread and my girlfriend recently nixed the gluten.
- I didn’t add any extra sauce but next time I’ll be more generous with all sauce ingredients to make a creamier dip!
- Bake time will depend on the size of the casserole dish. I used an 8×13 dish and baked for 20 min.