Friday, April 18, 2014

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Healthy (Secret Ingredient) Spinach Dip

I'm on a salty/savory kick these days when I look for a snack. Cookies and chocolate aren't doing it for me at the moment - but put a bag of chips or popcorn in front of me and I can't stop snacking! Seeing as how I'm trying to be good and watch what I eat, that's not very conducive to my plan. I figured I needed to find some healthy choices or I'd undo any good for the day by snacking through an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (I am not afraid to admit that I love that show. It's too crazy not to!)

I've always been a huge fan of dips. I gravitate towards them at parties, I bring them with me when I'm visiting people - it's a happy food. I love the versatility of them and how everyone has their own version of a dip no matter what kind it is. My favourite is usually a spinach dip - if it's served with pumpernickel I'm a goner. I may or may not have made that a staple dinner when I was in university. Unfortunately, most dips are ridiculously high in fat and calories because they're heavy with mayo/sour cream, etc. This recipe for Healthy Spinach Dip is amazing, and you will never guess what the secret ingredient is: tofu! Crazy, right?? It tastes like a regular dip but I've cut out the fat, the calories and loaded it up with protein. It's so healthy you can eat it as a meal (and you should. It's that good). We have been eating it with everything under the sun: homemade baguettes, homemade crackers (pictured), cut up veggies - even topped on our burgers - mmmmmm it's all good! I promise you, no one will be able to tell that it's healthy - and you can eat it guilt-free! The best part is that it takes about 5 minutes to prepare, so you really have no excuse not to whip up a batch at all times.

Healthy (Secret Ingredient) Spinach Dip
makes approx 3.5 cups

1/2 C Greek yogurt, plain (sour cream or mayonnaise will also work)
12 oz (340 g) soft tofu
10 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8 oz can water chestnuts
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional: I add a couple dashes of Tabasco to give it a kick, but you can also give it a good dash of cayenne, garlic salt or any herbs you would like. Sometimes I also add a tsp of onion soup mix to give it a little more flavour.

1. Put water chestnuts in food processor to give it a rough chop - you are looking for a small dice but you don't want to pulverize them; they give the dip texture and crunch! You can also dice them by hand and set them aside.

2. To the food processor, add everything else except the spinach. Give it a whirl until everything is mixed well. Taste and season with herbs and salt and pepper as needed.

3. Add the spinach and water chestnuts into the mix and pulse a few times just to mix it together. You want to keep the texture of the ingredients intact.

4. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the flavours marry before serving. Will keep in sealed container in fridge for 2-4 days.


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