Several weeks ago, I was feigning for artichoke dip badly enough to update my facebook status to that effect. A few days and still no artichoke dip for me later, my friend Linda warned me that she was going to stop reading my facebook updates, as the most recent one had sent her on an artichoke dip bender. Just trying to picture her in the middle of an “artichoke dip bender” made me laugh, as I imagined my petite friend taking on bowl after bowl of hollowed out sourdough rounds filled to the brim with steaming hot dip.
Then I thought about the mayonnaise. And the cream cheese. And the sour cream. And suddenly, I decided I wasn’t really interested in artichoke dip anymore.
Several weeks later, it’s mid-holiday season, that fabulously creamy dip trio is everywhere, and my artichoke dip craving has resurfaced. Normally, I bump up my running regimen around this time of year so that I can enjoy the rich dips, buttery candies, sugary cookies, and syrupy cocktails without ballooning out of my pants. But thanks to some intense hip and ankle pain causing my physical therapist to outlaw most forms of exercise except for short, flat walks, I’m totally screwed this year.
But it’s okay. Things can’t be all that bad when I recently passed the bar exam, got engaged, and received an offer for my dream job – a legal-business hybrid position at BlogHer – just one hour before getting sworn in as a member of the State Bar of California. Seriously. 2010 was a stressful year, but the last few months have made everything worth it. Especially now that I’ve come up with an artichoke dip that I can enjoy guilt-free.
Mild flavored cannellini beans are the secret ingredient that make this dip both creamy and healthy. Mashed into a paste, the beans melt into the dip once heated and basically disappear, with the only evidence of their contribution to this dip being the hearty creaminess they leave behind. The bean paste also helps fill you up faster and keep you full longer than usual, while slightly thickening the largely artichoke- and Greek yogurt-based dip.
Just a little bit of light mayo goes a long way, especially when you squeeze in a little lemon juice to add a citrusy tang to the sour cream-reminiscent Greek yogurt. Garlic powder and red pepper flakes add some more complexity to this dip, but keep in mind that the measurements below are merely guidelines, as you may prefer it a bit more garlicky or (if you’re Kristen) a tad spicier with red pepper flakes added before serving for a pop of color on top of the dip.
Running about 350 calories for the entire 2 1/2 cup-batch of hearty, creamy, artichokey goodness, this is one dip you can really sink a piece of rustic sourdough bread your spoon into.
Healthy Artichoke Dip
Makes 2 1/2 cups
I often also add 1 c. of cooked, drained and chopped spinach to this dip, in which case I toss in an additional 1 Tbsp. mayo, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 c. Greek yogurt. Regardless of whether spinach is added, garlic powder and red pepper flakes should be adjusted to your own taste.
1 1/2 c. artichoke hearts, thawed if frozen (low sodium if canned)
1/2 c. cannellini or other white beans, cooked and drained
2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage brand), room temperature
salt and black pepper to taste
Pour cannellini beans into microwavable serving bowl 1/4 c. at a time. Smash beans into a paste with back of a fork. Add another 1/4 c. of beans and repeat until all are smashed.
Drain defrosted or canned artichoke hearts. Chop, and toss into bowl with the bean paste. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to the artichoke-bean mixture. Stir until combined. Do ahead: At this point, the bowl can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.
Right before serving, cook dip in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until very hot. Add room temperature yogurt and mix well. Serve hot with cubes of rustic bread for dipping. Note: if you need to reheat the dip later on, do so in 30 second intervals, stirring between to make sure Greek yogurt does not overcook and develop a funny consistency.