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Spinach & Artichoke dip

This recipe for Spinach & Artichoke dip was one of the first recipes I ever learned to make. It was originally shared with me as a copycat recipe from a certain unnamed Italian restaurant, and I’ve made it and tweaked it so many times over the years that it’s developed into my own creation.

Since learning the recipe, I’ve found that the restaurant began sharing recipes online, and I can confidently say this is FAR from a copycat of what they do. So let’s just call it the FoodBizMama Spinach & Artichoke Dip, shall we?

One thing I find is most different about this recipe vs others that I have tried, is that this one doesn’t use mayonnaise. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent recipes out there that use mayo, and I am totally here for it. But I also know several people who prefer to avoid it for different reasons, so I thought I would be sure to include that note.

I always start with the spinach. Boil the block of frozen spinach in enough water to cover it. Don’t overfill the saucepan – you have to make sure there’s enough for the artichokes and just the process of boiling itself. If you feel like you need to, grab a larger saucepan or pot to give you enough room.

Now grab your lovely, deliciously marinated artichokes. This next part is important – drain the marinade INTO THE BOILING SPINACH! Don’t toss out all that yummy flavor! Use it!

Once you get the marinade drained into the boiling spinach, chop up the artichokes into small chunks. I find I get more compliments on my dip when I leave the chunks a bit larger. So let’s say 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces. They don’t need to be uniform – I mean, this is a dip.

When you’re all done chopping up the artichokes, add them to the pot along with your crushed red pepper flakes. Continue to boil until the color of the spinach changes from a bright green to a darker, more greenish brown.

Strain the spinach & artichokes (into the sink – you can dump the water now) and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 1 minute, and add to the cooked ingredients, mixing until the cream cheese is blended well into the veggies. The spinach and artichokes should still be quite warm, so if there is any part of the cream cheese that didn’t soften enough in the microwave, it should melt in the bowl. Feel free to microwave the entire mixture for another 30 seconds if needed, but you really shouldn’t need to.

*NOTE: If you don’t have or are not a fan of microwaves, no worries! Just cut the cream cheese up into small chunks and mix with the spinach and artichokes until it is all mixed well and all cream cheese is melted.

Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. For the parmesan, I’ve found the powdery texture of the grated parmesan is best for the dip itself, while shredded or shaved parmesan look great on top as a garnish. I’ve tried to use shredded inside the dip, and while it is good, I just prefer the grated.

Serve with your favorite dippers! My family’s go-to is tortilla chips, but we also like to use crackers, baguette slices, baked pita wedges, you name it! Years ago, I used to have an AHH-MAZING chip & dip server that had a warmer and a ceramic bowl for the dip. The bowl fell off a shelf one day and broke, and I haven’t had the chance to replace it. If you happen to have one, definitely use it for this dip!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

An old "copycat" recipe with a Cajun twist (because why not), transformed over the years to the BEST dip EVER! Best served warm – bonus points if your dip dish has a warmer!
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Cajun, Italian
Keyword: artichoke, Cajun, dips, gluten free, hot dip, no mayonnaise, spinach, warm dip

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach
  • 14.75 oz marinated artichoke hearts (I like Cara Mia brand)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere's is my jam!)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • shredded or shaved parmesan for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, add frozen spinach and cover in water. Cook on high until boiling.
  • While spinach is boiling, drain all marinade from artichokes into the saucepan. Chop artichoke hearts into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces. Add to saucepan with spinach.
  • Add red pepper flakes to saucepan, and boil until spinach changes from a bright green color to more green-brown.
  • Using a colander, strain water from spinach & artichokes. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  • Soften cream cheese in microwave using a microwave-safe bowl for about 1 minute. Add to spinach & artichokes and mix well.
  • Add in remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve with your favorite dippers!
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