Plant Based 411
Classic Dip Gets a Tess Masters Flip
By Nancy Eisman
A variety of special occasions are celebrated during the month of May, starting with Cinco de Mayo on May 5th. It’s the perfect day for enjoying your favorite Mexican foods and raising a glass or two in honor of the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Guacamole and chips are de rigueur on May 5, and might also make an appearance on May 14 (Mother’s Day) and May 29 (Memorial Day), but I’d like to offer another classic dip, with a few plant-based twists, that would also be welcome at any celebration.
Many of you are already fans of Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl, and this recipe from her newest cookbook “The Perfect Blend” is the inspiration for this month’s post (with a few tiny swaps). Aside from her warm, friendly personality, nutritional and ingredient knowledge, and success as a cookbook author/app developer/brand spokesperson, Tess is the real deal. Her recipes are easy (pack and pulse), top-tier healthy, and mucho delicioso. You’ll want to make every single one, and here’s one of my faves to get your next party started.
Tess’ baked spinach & artichoke dip (pg.174 in “The Perfect Blend”) is “cheesy and sinfully scarfable”, while being cheeseless, and “this dip dumbfounds even devout artichoke and spinach (dip) aficionados”. Thanks Tess - I couldn’t have said it any better.
Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ teaspoon sea salt
1 (12 ounce) package firm silken tofu, drained, or 1 (14 ounce) package of soft tofu
1/3 cup nutritional yeast*
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh turmeric
½ teaspoon Melissa’s Hatch chile powder
8 cups firmly packed spinach, cut into ribbons
2 packages steamed artichoke hearts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small square or round ovenproof serving dish with olive oil.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer this mixture to your blender. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the remaining salt, the tofu, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, the turmeric and chile powder and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and gradually add the spinach, stirring and cooking until just wilted. This should take less than a minute. Stir in the artichokes and mix thoroughly. Stir the spinach and artichokes into the bowl with the onion mixture until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared serving dish and bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until just cracking on the top and lightly browned. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (to let the dip solidify a bit), and then serve warm, topped with the cilantro.
Place the baking dish on a platter, surround with assorted tortilla chips, jicama sticks (reminiscent of the water chestnuts in the classic s&a dip), and sliced yellow bell pepper, and set it down for everyone to devour.