On warm summer nights, I love that 'gathering moment' before supper. The meat is on the grill, the salad waiting in the refrigerator. In hand is a glass of something cold and wet, occasionally what my sister Adanna calls an 'adult beverage'. These few minutes bridge the day's busy-ness and the evening's relaxation.
So during the summer, I make one homemade veggie dip after another, some quick concoction that will last a few days, one celery stick at a time. This is my adaptation of the Feta & Spinach Dip from Weight Watchers. I've modified it some, starting with 4X the spinach and substituting low-fat sour cream for non-fat sour cream, which I find too gloppy and sweet.
Feta cheese is a brilliant addition to cream-cheese based dips, adding both moisture and 'tang' that really revs up the flavor profile. It's also featured in this tzatziki-ish dip from Kitchen Parade, Cucumber Dip with Feta. If you like feta, you'll love these dips!
PORTION CONTROL for WEIGHT WATCHERS When we simply 'dip' into a common dip dish, it's easy to lose track of how many points we consume. To carefully track points, portion out however many points you've allowed into your own 'dipping' plate, then 'dip' to your heart's content!
"This was delicious. I added chopped water chestnuts to make it more like the spinach dip recipe (full fat) I usually make." ~ Anonymous
"... tried your recipe and it was a fave amongst the guests." ~ Hummus
WEIGHT WATCHERS SPINACH DIP
Time to table: 15 minutes but flavors meld and improve if chilled for a couple of hours
Makes 2 cups
Well-salted water to cover
8 - 16 ounces fresh spinach (see TIPS)
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese, also called Neufchatel (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup fresh chives
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
CLEAN & COOK the SPINACH Bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, wash the spinach well under running water, rubbing the leaves with your fingertips if they're at all gritty. If they are really gritty, let soak in cold water for a few minutes, then rinse well until you can no longer feel the grit. To be sure, do a taste test. If the stems are thick, cut them out and discard or compost. Drop the spinach into the boiling water, in batches if need be, and cook until just done but still bright green -- again, a taste test help. Drain well in a colander, press with the back of a spoon to release as much liquid as possible.
MIX the DIP Place the cooked spinach and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until light and fluffy and the spinach is evenly distributed.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
The Weight Watchers recipe called for only 2 ounces of fresh spinach, I started with 8 ounces of fresh chard (including the stems, which are cut off after cooking) and next time, would start with even more fresh greens for a more spinach-y and less cream cheese-y dip.
Bags of baby spinach are convenient but the leaves are so tender, they're best for salads, not cooking. A better choice is fresh leaves of curly spinach. I also wouldn't hesitate to use a bag of good frozen spinach for this dip.
Watch for blocks of feta cheese, versus the expensive crumbles.
No fresh chives? Substitute two or three green onions.
Add water chestnuts! This is a great suggestion from a reader, who's made the dip and added chopped water chestnuts to make it more like her usual full-fat spinach dip. The water chestnuts add bulk and crunch, with no added calories! GREAT idea!
~ Tuna & White Bean Dip ~
~ Baba Ganoush (Middle Eastern Eggplant Spread) ~
~ Pumpkin Dip ~
~ Tofu Salad Sandwiches ~
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ more recipes for Dips, Spreads & Pestos ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Cucumber Dip with Feta ~
~ Creamy Ricotta with Tomato-Cucumber-Corn Salad ~
~ Savory Peach Appetizer ~
~ Blueberry Salsa ~
~ Olivada ~
~ more appetizer recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade