The recipe for this classic dip is everything you want it to be – rich, creamy, cheesy and full of spinach, artichokes, onion and garlic, but it’s dairy-free and made only with healthy, whole plant foods! So, while conventional versions are typically made with cream cheese, sour cream and mayo – full of fat and cholesterol, my plant-based version is just as decadant, but the base is made of raw cashews blended together with steamed yellow squash and white wine, making this dip (like every vegan food) cholesterol-free!
Wait a minute, did I just say cashews and wine? Yes, please! Raw cashews blended together with steamed yellow squash create a silky texture. The miso, nutritional yeast, wine and lemon juice create the familiar aged, complex flavor found in cheese and other dairy products. The addition of tapioca starch, once blended and heated to a boil, makes this dip gooey, like melted cheese.
This dip is awesome served with pumpernickel bread or crackers and a glass or wine or a beer for an appetizer party, Superbowl party, or progressive dinner. It’s really rich, so be sure to invite friends who love to EAT!
If you make this yummy recipe (or any of the recipes here on my site), please leave me a comment and tag me on Instagram at @emily.a.honeycutt. I’d love to hear from you!
- 1 cup diced yellow summer squash, steamed until tender (about 5 minutes)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 3-8 hours if using a standard blender (no need to soak if using a high-powered blender)
- 1 cup dry white wine (I use chardonnay)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons yellow miso (use chickpea miso to make soy-free and gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ (16-ounce) bag frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 cup)
- 1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- • Pumpernickel and/or rye party bread
- • Whole grain crackers
- • Whole wheat pita chips
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Directions if using a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec):
- Place steamed yellow squash, raw cashews, wine, water, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, salt and xanthan gum in a high-powered blender. Start on low and turn up to high speed. Blend on high speed for 5 minutes until thick, hot and creamy. After about 5 minutes, the base of the sauce will begin to cook, steam and thicken. Use the pusher to mix the sauce, while the blender is still on high, for at least another 2 minutes until the sauce gets very thick, stretchy, hot and gooey. (Blending sauce in a Vitamix for at least 5 minutes allows the sauce to heat up so much that it boils and thickens, eliminating the need to cook in a separate pan.) Set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet, sauté onion over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until translucent and golden, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, artichokes and sauce. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour into oven safe dish. Bake for 10 minutes until warmed through. Place dish under broiler for 2-3 minutes to make top golden and bubbly.
- Directions if using a standard blender:
- Place steamed yellow squash, soaked and drained raw cashews, wine, water, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, salt and xanthan gum in blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down pitcher as necessary.
- In a large nonstick skillet, sauté onion over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until translucent and golden, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
- Add sauce to skillet with onions and whisk over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until sauce gets thick, stretchy and gooey. (When making sauce in standard blender, it needs to be cooked to a boil in order to thicken).
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in spinach and artichokes. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour into oven safe dish. Bake for 10 minutes until warmed through. Place dish under broiler for 2-3 minutes to make top golden and bubbly.
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2017. © All Rights Reserved www.emilyhoneycutt.com
Nutrition Facts: In a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers from Louisiana State University found that spinach, like other dark leafy greens, contains plant membranes called thylakoids.
When we eat food, our gut is able to sense both fullness and satiety – that is, how satiated we are. Thylakoid membranes act on ingested fat to stimulate satiety. Researchers found that, “Although the results need to be confirmed in future studies, it is likely that thylakoids exert a sustained effect on appetite to reduce body weight.”[i]
[i] Gut fat signaling and appetite control with special emphasis on the effect of thylakoids from spinach on eating behavior, C J Rebello1,2, C E O’Neil3 and F L Greenway2, International Journal of Obesity (2015) 39, 1679–1688; doi:10.1038/ijo.2015.142; published online 25 August 2015