When I was developing my creamed spinach recipe, I was incredibly impressed with how well blended up cashews acted as a substitute for heavy cream. And it got me thinking of other applications I could use it in – for instance, could I use the same technique to make a vegan spinach artichoke dip without cream or mayonnaise or sour cream? Well, it turns out that I certainly can.
Spinach artichoke dip is one of my favourite dips, but it is undeniably rich and decadent. However, this recipe that omits the cream cheese, mayo and sour cream traditionally found in the dip is just as delicious and arguably more artichoke-y (and what’s wrong with that?!?) It also lightens it up significantly.
So if you’re on the hunt for the perfect spinach artichoke dip without all of the cheeses, creams and mayo, this is the recipe for you! It’s easy to throw together and super tasty – perfect for any barbecue or game-day snack!
How to Make Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
First and foremost, you need to make the cashew cream that serves as the base of this dip and the substitution for all of the sour cream and cream cheese that often goes into more familiar versions of spinach artichoke dip.
The cashew cream is the same that I use in my aforementioned creamed spinach recipe and my peppercorn sauce recipe and it’s super simple to make.
Simply presoak some raw, unsalted cashew nuts either in boiling water for at least an hour or overnight in cold water. You just want to soften them up considerably.
Then, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with a bit of cool water.
Blend on high for a couple of minutes, just until the cashews are very creamy and have a smooth, thick consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside for later.
Now it’s time to make the dip itself. Start by adding a finely chopped shallot and some garlic along with a generous pinch of salt to a large saucepan with some olive oil.
Sautee over medium heat until the shallot is softened and translucent, about 2 minutes or so.
Then, add your spinach to the pot. I recommend using full-leaf spinach that has been trimmed and roughly chopped. I find that this stands up well to a longer cook-time. However, you can also use baby spinach or even thawed frozen spinach if that’s all you have.
Cook the spinach until it’s shrunk and wilted – you may need to work in batches if your pot isn’t big enough.
Once it’s wilted, sprinkle over a bit of flour along with some miso paste (can be bought online here).
The latter ingredient will add a salty, umami cheesy flavour that’s great for making a spinach artichoke dip without mozzarella, parmesan or any other cheese. It’s for the same reason I use it in my smoked salmon dip!
Stir this to combine and then add in some chopped, brined artichoke hearts. Stir in your cashew cream, a bit of cashew milk and a good grind of black pepper.
Bring the mixture up to a gentle simmer and allow to bubble over low heat for about 30 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. At this point, the mixture will be thick and relatively cohesive.
Take the dip off the heat and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
Add some nutritional yeast flakes (this, again, adds a level of cheesiness that you get without any dairy) along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a bit of brightness.
Pulse the dip a few times – you want to keep it chunky but you also want to ensure that the dip is broken up enough to be easily dipable on some chips or toasts.
At this point, if you want to make the dip ahead of time, you can transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for several days before moving on to the next step before serving.
Now, transfer your dip to an oven-safe dish and pop it into a pre-heated 230°C (450°F) oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the dip is bubbling and browned along the edges. Allow the spinach and artichoke dip to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- 50g (1.5oz) raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in boiling water for at least 1 hour or in cool water overnight
- 1-2 small shallots, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated on a Microplane or very finely minced
- 1kg (2lbs) full-leaf spinach, trimmed, washed, drained and roughly chopped (see note 1)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons plain flour
- 300g (10oz) artichoke hearts in brine, drained and roughly chopped
- 250ml (1 cup) unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 teaspoon white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1.5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Drain the cashews and add them to the jar of a blender along with 60ml (1/4 cup) cold water. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until very smooth. Transfer the cashew cream to a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and garlic along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots begin to soften - about 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach is wilted and has significantly reduced in size, only a few minutes. You may need to work in batches here if your pot is not large enough.
- Once the spinach has wilted, sprinkle the flour over the spinach and stir to incorporate. Then, add the artichokes along with the cashew cream, cashew milk, miso paste and a generous grind of black pepper. Bring this to a simmer and, stirring occasionally, cook for about 30 minutes or until thickened, homogenous and creamy.
- Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F). Transfer the spinach mixture to the bowl of a food processor and add the nutritional yeast flakes and lemon juice. Pulse a couple of times, just to chop the spinach and artichokes further and to make it "dippable" (see note 2)
- Scrape the dip into an oven-safe baking dish. Transfer to the oven and bake until bubbling and browned at the edges, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with tortilla chips or toasted bread.
1. Full-leaf spinach is a bit heartier than baby spinach and stands up to the longer cooking time a bit better. However, if you can only find baby spinach at your supermarket, that will work just fine in this recipe. Obviously, baby spinach does not need to be trimmed.
2. If you don't have a food processor, this step can be skipped. However, ensure you chop both the spinach and artichokes relatively finely before cooking. Stir in the nutritional yeast and lemon juice before transferring to a baling dish. Your finished dip will also not be as homogenous, however, it will still taste delightful.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
And that’s how to make an easy spinach artichoke dip without mayo, sour cream or cream cheese. Even though it leaves out these ingredients, it sacrifices nothing when it comes to flavour and decadence.
Are you making a mayo and dairy-free spinach artichoke dip? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!