Healthy Spinach & Artichoke Dip (GF + Vegan)
Dairy doesn’t agree with my tummy very well, so I limit my intake of it. In my journey of replacing my favorite dairy treats with non-dairy substitutes, I have found that some of the substitutes can be so similar to the “real” thing other people can’t even tell a difference. I switched to nut milk from cows milk, cashew cheese from regular cheese, banana ice “cream” from regular ice cream; and they’re all just as tasty! This dairy free version of Spinach & Artichoke dip has to be one my favorite dairy substitutes!
I made this recipe for a Christmas party I attended last weekend, and no one knew there wasn’t actually any dairy cheese in it! The raw soaked cashews give the dip the same delicious texture and flavor I remember from the warm Spinach & Artichoke dip I enjoyed at every opportunity as a teen.
Soaking raw nuts releases enzyme inhibitors and removes phytic acid that exist on nuts and grains, making them easier to digest, and making the vitamins and minerals in nuts and grains more readily available for the body to absorb. The process mimics what occurs in nature when a seed is planted. Plus, I think nuts and seeds just taste better after they have been soaked or sprouted! I love sprouting raw almonds in slightly salted water, then dehydrating them as a crunchy, filling, and nutritious snack! Soaking and sprouting only works with raw nuts and seeds. Soaking the cashews then blending them makes them so creamy, it is almost identical to a dairy cheese sauce.
This dip also contains nutritional yeast, which carries a myriad of health benefits; some of which I covered in my Superfoods 101 post, and gives it a great cheesy taste!
The dip is so easy to make, it is fool-proof. Cashews get soaked overnight, blended with a few other ingredients. The veggies get sautéed.
Then all you have to do is mix them together and bake until warm, then voila! It is perfect to make ahead and bring to a dinner party, where you can quickly stick the dish into the oven to warm prior to serving.
I chopped up some organic zucchini and endive petals to use as dipping agents, but this dip could be enjoyed toasted pita chips, other veggies, or any type of crackers! (Or I may or may not be guilty of eating it with a spoon…!)
This dip is packed full of nutrient rich plant-based ingredients, so enjoy as much as you like of this deliciously creamy dip, without feeling like you’re “cheating” your diet!
- ¾ Cup Raw Cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours
- 1 Tbsp mustard
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ C nutritional yeast
- 1 16 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach
- 1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts (in water), finely chopped
- ½ Large onion
- 5-8 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil (I used sunflower)
- ⅛ - ¼ C brown rice flour or buckwheat flour (or wheat flour if you're not GF), optional
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Soak raw cashews in a covered container with enough water to cover them all for at least 5 hours.
- Place frozen spinach in large pan on low heat, to thaw.
- Finely chop onion and garlic cloves.
- Drain can of artichoke hearts and rinse well with water to remove high amount of sodium from canning.
- Add artichoke hearts, onion, and garlic to pan and saute.
- Pour contents of pan into a large oven safe serving dish.
- Set aside vegetables to cool.
- Drain water in soaked cashew container and rinse cashews in room temperature water.
- Place cashews in high-speed blender or food processor with mustard, lemon juice, and oil.
- Blend until completely smooth. Add a little water or additional lemon juice, if needed, to get the mixture to a consistency similar to a dairy cheese sauce.
- Pour cashew "cheese" sauce onto vegetables and thoroughly mix.
- Add nutritional yeast, and mix again. Add flour if you want to make slightly thicker.
- Prior to serving, heat in oven for 20-30 min at 300 degree Fahrenheit.