Afternoon book club? Need to take a plate to a picnic? Whatever the pop up or planned ocassion this simple side dish is packed full of veggies. You can be assured to wow the herds with this crowd pleaser.
FUN foodie fact: Spinach is one of the richest non-heme dietary iron sources. With 100g of spinach containing approximately 25% of your recommended daily intake of iron. Iron is predominately useful in red blood cell production and as a co-factor the cellular metabolism processes. Only thing is that, non-heme iron found in plant foods is not as easily absorbed as heme iron from animal food. Adding to this spinach also contains phytataes, these bind to iron further reducing iron absorption by up to 80%. Therefore vegetarians, vegans or anemic people should be mindful to include vitamin C, when consuming only plant based non-heme iron. As studies have shown, vitamin C can counteract this effect and increase bioavailibilty of non-heme iron in your body.
- 2 cans (397 grams) artichoke hearts in water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 170 grams of fresh spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose whole-wheat flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk, plus more as needed
- 113 grams cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 180 °C. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, I love my coconut oil spray. The pan will need to hold 4 to 5 cups of the dip. An 8-inch round pan, 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan, 8-inch square pan or small oval baking dish should work fine.
- Open artichoke cans. Drain, rinse and coarsely chop artichokes.
- Heat olive oil in a wide frying pan with sides over medium heat then add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute until fragrant. Add artichokes then cook 2 to 3 minutes until warmed through and beginning to brown around the edges.
- Add spinach then season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Wait about 30 seconds then as the spinach wilts, toss with artichokes. (The spinach reduces significantly in size).
- Transfer garlic, artichokes and spinach to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the same frying pan back onto a medium heat then add the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Cook about 1 minute then pour in the milk. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring often. The sauce will thicken. If it seems too thick, add milk as needed.
- Turn heat to low then add cream cheese, cayenne pepper and oregano. Stir until cream cheese melts into the sauce. Now, add feta cheese and half (1/2 cup) of the mozzarella cheese. Stir until completely melted.
- Stir in garlic, artichoke and spinach mix from earlier then transfer dip to baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup).
- Bake dip 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and cheese begins to brown on top. To make the cheese even more browed on top, turn oven to grill and grill top for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve warm.