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Warm Asparagus and Spinach Dip – Lightened Up

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This delicious warm dip is a perfect appetizer for game day! Asparagus replaces artichokes for a flavor-twist. A bevy of vegetables keeps the fat content at bay. 

Warm Asparagus and Spinach Dip – keeps it’s beautiful green color when baked
A lightened-up recipe using these veggies: Asparagus, Leeks, Spinach and Garlic
A Killer Dip that won’t kill your waistline!

Many love the Super Bowl because of one thing and one thing alone: the food.

The ultimate game day foods can be tasty and good for us at the same time!
My recipe has plenty of antioxidant veggies whirled together with some mayonnaise, yogurt and aged cheddar cheese.

Has all the flavors of the original, but it’s much lighter!
Class up the traditional spinachartichoke dip by swapping in asparagus – a favorite superfood.

Spinach and artichoke dip has been a classic American appetizer that has been popular since the 50s.
A classic dip, hot and bubbling from the oven, is pretty hard to beat.

It has been described as “one of the most popular appetizer menu items of all time” A go-to appetizer for parties, this Asparagus and Spinach dip has all the creamy- inside texture, brown-and-crispy-on-top, and cheesy taste that makes it addicting (but mine is better for you!)

I’ve compiled a list of the top twelve American Super Bowl Foods: 
Chili, Jalapeño Poppers, Deviled Eggs, Sliders, Nachos, Pigs in a Blanket, Stuffed Potato Skins, Guacamole & Chips, 7 Layer Dip, Pizza, Potato Chips and Dip (Onion) and Chicken Wings.
Health and calories don’t count I guess! It’s game day, it’s time to eat, drink and enjoy.
I see a trend… comfort food! I guess if your team loses – comfort food will help you feel better.
(Research broadly defines “comfort food” as anything that a person uses to feel better, but in the U.S., the term calls some specific, universal things to mind: ice cream, mashed potatoes, French fries, and other simple, often indulgent meals or snacks.)

To make the dip – sauté plenty of leeks and garlic in extra virgin olive oil… cook slowly, not to color. They add a luscious texture – and helps you cut down on fat in the recipe. Then I add asparagus, cut into 2 inch lengths and cover until right green and crips-tender. Spinach leaves get tossed in the pan, and stir for one minute until wilted. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and add to a food processor when still warm (will stay bright green if blended immediately.) Process until mostly smooth, a minute or two. Then, simply fold in mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo, which is vegan, for the taste and natural ingredients), yogurt and a really good quality white aged cheddar ( I used Barber’s Vintage Cheddar, Aged 30 months, grass fed.)
Place in a baking dish… recipe makes 2 cups – and cover with a few tablespoons of cheese and bake until bubbly and cooked through.

Serve with a selection of good crackers, naan bread, pita bread, baguette slices, flatbreads, breadsticks or my recipe: Karen’s Gone Crackers (for an amazing homemade gluten-free cracker.)
Yes, I made the Rosemary Flatbreads in these photos!

Some versions are served chunky, while others are puréed and have a smooth texture. Restaurant prepared artichoke dips… a favorite appetizer at America’s Fast Casual Restaurants – Spinach Dip can be found at Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, Friday’s, Ruby Tuesdays ad Chili’s.

T.G.I. Friday’s Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Dip Ingredients: (from a supermarket)

Water, Spinach, Artichoke Hearts (Artichoke Hearts, Water, Salt, Citric Acid), Low Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Milk, Non-Fat Milk, Cultures, salt, Enzymes), Parmesan Cheese (Part Skim Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Neufchatel Cheese (Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers [Carob Bean, Guar, and/or Xanthan Gum], Cheese Powder (Whey, Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin [Corn], Parmesan Cheese [Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes], Salt, Enzyme Modified Romano Cheese [Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Salt], Contains Less than 2% of Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Phosphate), Contains 2% or Less of: Cream Powder, Modified Corn Starch, Enriched Wheat Flour, Salt, Garlic Powder, Maltodextrin, Sodium Caseinate, Modified Cellulose Gum, Mono- & Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Annatto, Flavor Enhancer (Disodium Inosinate & Disodium Guanylate), Natural Flavors, Spice.

Please be wary of convenient Artichoke and Spinach Dip in Supermarkets! LOADED with preservatives and unwanted ingredients…
See photo below – Wow – That’s a lot of ingredients!! 

Packaged Spinach Dip from a Supermarket – Yuck… a huge ingredient list!

Enjoy game day and this yummy appetizer… remember not to double dip!
PS: add a spoon to the dip when serving, and small plates on the side you wish.
Karen

Ingredients for the dip
Sauté leeks, garlic and asparagus then add spinach and stir until wilted
Pulse in a food processor until almost smooth
Place dip in a baking pan and an extra sprinkling of grated cheese
A classic dip, hot and bubbling from the oven
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