We hear so often how important it is to include leafy greens in our diet, so I’m always looking for ways to fit more into our meals. I particularly like using spinach — I find the rather bland flavor works well in just about any recipe. So I blend it up in our smoothies, sneak it into pastas and casseroles, and of course include it in our salads. Here’s another recipe that is a particularly delicious way to serve it — Cool Spinach Dip.
Spinach Dip (or Spinach & Artichoke Dip) has many variations, some hot, some cold, and all yummy. This cold version is great for summer — it’s fresh and tangy, and the cool temp works well on hot summer days. It’s easy and (mostly) healthy, and absolutely delicious. I serve it with fresh pita or naan, but chips or a baguette would work well too. You can make it ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to a week, so it’s a great appetizer to bring to a party.
Spinach is a cold-season crop, and given the right conditions, it can last in the garden through the winter. I was so proud of our little spinach plants that survived our never-ending winter this year, and we’ve enjoyed watching them thrive this spring. We used the last of our leaves for this batch of spinach dip, so for the rest of summer we’ll be getting our spinach from the market. But come fall, we’ll hopefully have more fresh spinach growing in the garden.
Our hardy spinach made it through the winter with the help of cold frames and some good luck.
The star of this recipe is the spinach, with some assisting ingredients — Greek yogurt, water chestnuts, mayonnaise, and onion soup mix.
I used fresh spinach here, but frozen spinach works just as well (just be sure it doesn’t say “creamed” or “with sauce”). This photo shows some substitutions you can make — sour cream for Greek yogurt, Italian seasoning for soup mix, and the addition of artichokes.
If you use fresh spinach, steam it first before continuing with the recipe.
Here’s the full recipe:*
Cool Spinach Dip
Mayonnaise (real mayo)
Onion Soup Mix (I use a home-made mix from Butler’s Orchard, but a packet from the market works just fine too)
Steam and drain the spinach (or defrost & drain if you’re using frozen), and chop the water chestnuts. Mix together the yogurt & mayo, with about a 2:1 ratio (i.e., twice as much yogurt as mayo). Stir in the dry soup mix, then add the spinach and chestnuts. Mix well so everything is evenly combined. Eat. Love.
Here’s the finished product. Buen provecho!**
Cool Spinach Dip, fresh from the garden.
* You’ll see that I often don’t designate specific quantities and measurements in my recipes. I do this because you know better than I do how much food your family needs and what your tastes are. Cooking isn’t an exact science, anyway — it’s more of an art. (Baking is another story — it actually is science — so I include measurements for my baking recipes.) So use whatever quantity you’d like, make changes to suit your tastes, and substitute ingredients to reflect what’s fresh in the garden and what’s available in your kitchen.
** Buen Provecho: This is a beautiful saying we learned in Ecuador when we were adopting our son. There’s not a good literal translation from Spanish to English, because the loose translation — “Enjoy your meal” — doesn’t capture the full essence of the Spanish meaning. The verb “aprovechar” means to make the most of, or to receive the full benefit of something. Thus, when we say, “buen provecho,” it is offering our hope that the eater will receive the full benefits and advantages of the food we’ve prepared. And that’s my wish for my friends and family when I cook for them — that they will receive all the goodness the food offers.