One of my weaknesses—food related that is, not emotional ones, which are too countless to list here—is spinach dip. That fatty, cheesy concoction masquerading as a health food. I love it. I especially adore Hannah Spinach Dip from Costco. Passing the refrigerator section it calls to me from the shelf. Staring wistfully at it, knowing I shouldn’t buy it, I quickly move away before temptation overtakes me. I can’t let it into the house. If I do, half the container will be gone in a single sitting and I'll rationalize my behavior with comments like, “Yeah, but it’s got spinach in it and that’s good for me.” Or, “I scooped it up with green peppers and celery so really it was helping me get my daily serving of vegetables.”
Psst…Dianna…it’s not really healthy.
Yeah, I know. Two tablespoons of Hannah Spinach Dip has 70 calories and 7 grams of fat. In fact, 80% of the calories are from fat.
Convinced I would never find a good substitute for my beloved dip, I mentally pushed it into the category of "treat," which means I eat it only occasionally and under tight supervision. But, I’m happy to say, things might be changing. I made the following "healthy spinach dip" recipe for a casual dinner party and it was a big hit. So much so that my girlfriend asked for the recipe.
Taken from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, this recipe produced a creamy, garlic spinach dip that gives the full fat version a run for its money. And the best part, two tablespoons are 40 calories (40% less than the Hannah's) and less than one gram of fat, an 85% reduction.
Give it a whirl. You’d be surprised how good it is.
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped coarse
1 1/2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 TBLS extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBLS fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving.
To serve: spread some on a whole grain cracker and sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese.