I love spinach and artichoke dip, especially served warm with tortilla chips or crusty bread. Its a crowd- pleaser and a go-to appetizer for large gatherings as you you can make this ahead of time and bake it just before serving. My version is slightly different from the usual, I use the white sauce thickened with Monterrey cheese instead of sour cream and mayo. It bakes up creamy and cheesy with brown and crispy top texture with bite size chunks of artichoke hearts and green spinach within.
Baked Spinach and artichoke dip / Restaurant style artichoke dip /Applebee’s Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip / Cheesy dip
|1 pack or box||Chopped Spinach|
|1 can||Artichoke hearts|
|1 medium||Yellow onion|
|1 pint or 2 cups||Half & half (You may also substitute with full fat milk)|
|2 tbsp||Unsalted butter|
|2 tbsp||All-purpose flour|
|1/2 cup||Monterrey jack cheese|
|1/2 cup||Mozzarella cheese|
|2 tsp||Grated Parmesan cheese|
|1/2 tsp||Red chili powder/ Cayenne pepper or crushed black pepper powder|
|1/2 tsp||Salt (or to taste)|
|1/2 tsp||Italian seasoning mix (optional)|
Assemble all the ingredients, I used organic all-purpose with regular mozzarella and Monterrey jack cheese. You may choose low fat cheese and regular flour too. Picture does not show red chili powder nor black pepper powder, again you may choose any one of them.
Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan to make the white sauce. You alos skip the entire sauce making process and go with store bought Alfredo sauce. This is something similar to Alfredo style pasta sauce.
Next, add the flour and continue cooking over medium-low heat. Keep stirring all the time
When the mixture turns slightly golden, I would rather say pale white in color, whisk in the milk and slowly add half of the shredded Monterrey cheese.
Keep stirring until everything blends together.
Bring the sauce up to a boil, which would happen real quickly as we are using half and half. (If you choose to use regular full fat milk then it might take a little while to thicken) Simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon or to the consistency shown above. Now switch off and keep aside while we prepare the veggies
As you can see , i’ve used canned aritchoke hearts which have been quartered. Drain all the water from the can and place the artichoke hearts in cold water and clean them thoroughly. Then discard the thick steam on the bottom and chop the leafy part. If using boxed spinach, thaw them fully and squeeze out the excess water. Chop the onions and garlic finely and keep aside.
Now, in a wide pan, fry the onion and garlic in some butter until they turn translucent.
Add the chopped artichoke and spinach to it along with salt, red chili powder/cayenne pepper or black pepper powder.
Saute until everything mixes well and switch off.
Now transfer the cheese mixture to this and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to oven safe baking tray or dish.
Sprinkle the rest of the shredded Monterrey jack cheese and mozzarella. Sprinkle a few teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Ok, now its ready for baking but if you intend to bake later then let the whole thing cool for 30 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You may keep it refrigerated up to 3 days and then bake.
If baking then preheat oven to 400 F and set the dish in the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot throughout and very lightly golden on top and edges. Serve with sliced baguette or bag of tortilla chips.
Yield: Feeds 15-20 people. Finished dip can be refrigerated upto 2 days. If you prefer Italian flavor then sprinkle Italian seasoning mix while sauteing the veggies.