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A lighter take on a classic -- and fatty -- dip

Spinach and artichoke dip sounds like it should be a virtuous treat. After all, it's loaded with vegetables.

The trouble is, it's usually more mayonnaise and cheese than spinach and artichoke. So we came up with a version that isn't so out of sync with healthy eating.

Instead of mayonnaise, we found Greek-style yogurt blended with low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) worked beautifully.

Next up, dealing with the cheese. We handled the inner gooey-ness with the aforementioned cream cheese. But often there also is a pile of cheese or bread crumbs (or both) on the top. After it's broiled, we wanted that textural contrast and the toastiness that comes with it.

We found that crushed and seasoned whole-grain crackers worked well. Be sure to read the labels carefully to select a whole-grain cracker with modest amounts of fat and calories.

Lastly -- and most importantly -- was upping the amount of spinach and artichoke. We went with canned artichokes. Fresh baby spinach got a quick saute with onion and garlic before being added. Serve the warm dip with whole-wheat pita chips, baked tortilla chips or veggie sticks.


1 ounce (1 serving) whole-grain crackers, crushed

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

6 ounces plain nonfat Greek yogurt

4 ounces low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano

2 teaspoons minced fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

5 ounce package fresh baby spinach

14 ounce can artichoke hearts, lightly chopped

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a small casserole or gratin dish with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder and Parmesan. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the yogurt, cream cheese, lemon zest, oregano, mint, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until soft and any liquid has evaporated, about another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichokes and the yogurt mixture. Spoon into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the cracker crumb mixture over the dip and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until hot. Serve warm.

Per serving: 120 calories; 5g fat (2g saturated; no trans fats); 10mg cholesterol; 14g carbohydrate; 6g protein; 3g fiber; 560mg sodium.

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