Spinach Leek Dip

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to my parents’ and bother’s houses for Rosh Hashanah, which meant I got two great holiday meals that I didn’t have to host!  Of course, my mom and sister-in-law each asked for a different contribution.  For night one I made chocolate cheesecake which came out delicious, but I’m thinking it’s not really a simple or wholesome enough creation for this blog.  For night two, I was responsible for bringing some snacks to nosch on before dinner.  I decided I’d bring a spinach dip, home-made pita chips, carrot sticks, and some grapes.  Pita chips were easy – you might recall my recipe that went along with the edamame hummus?  Well, I followed the same method but seasoned the chips simply with salt.

As for spinach dip, it turns out almost every recipe on the internet involves either a powdered soup mix (partially hydrogenated soybean oil?  disodium inosinate? I think not!) or has cheese in it and is meant to be served hot, which would have meant bothering my sister-in-law in the kitchen as she prepared a meal for 11 people.  I finally found a recipe on the Cookstr blog for Spinach-Leek Dip that looked tasty.  I was a little nervous since it had no reviews and I’ve never tried any of their recipes, but in the absense of a better choice I decided to give it a try!

The resulting dip was delicious, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  This is a recipe I’d really like to play with, though, potentially using frozen spinach instead of fresh (to skip the wilting step), onions instead of leeks and/or shallots (if I can’t find organic leeks, onions always seem to be available! plus, I think a stronger oniony flavor would be nice), and a little less fat by replacing some of the mayo and sour cream with greek yogurt (I’ve seen this in other recipes as a way to reduce the fat while keeping the creaminess and tang).  If anyone out there decides to give these ideas a try, please let me know how it goes!  But overall, for a full-fat dip this one is certainly tasty and simple enough to make.

 

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Spinach Leek Dip
adapted from Cookstr

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 6-ounce bags baby spinach
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used less because I’m scared of cayenne, but you couldn’t really detect the heat to feel free to use this full amount or potentially more if you want a kick)

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. In batches, stir in the spinach, wilting each batch before adding more. Sprinkle the spinach with 1 tablespoon water, cover, and cook until the spinach is tender, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool and squeeze out excess liquid by placing in a clean kitchen towel, forming a pouch, and twisting the top so all the liquid comes out through the towel (I have a green-stained towel in my kitchen dedicated to this purpose – it is really much easier and more effective than the handful at a time squeezing approach). Chop coarsely, but don’t go overboard – it’s just going in the food processor later anyway 🙂

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Cool completely.

Combine the spinach, cooled vegetables, sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, and cayenne in a food processor and process until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

Serve chilled with pita chips, tortilla chips, veggies, or anything else you can think of!

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