Make-Your-Own Spinach Dip

Spinach dip is my answer to getting vegetable haters to eat their veggies in a nonsneaky, totally unmanipulative way. It’s dip, for crying out loud! Who doesn’t like dip? Not only is it loaded with vegetables, but it’s perfect for serving with cut vegetables, which is win-win. You can also use it as a condiment on sandwiches and burgers. And ~ toddler moms, hear this ~ it’s also a super dip for chicken fingers.

Of course you can buy spinach dip mixes, but they’re packed with those wacky, complicated chemicals that mystical creatures make in underground laboratories. If you hie yourself over to the spice aisle in the grocery store, you can make an initial investment in a few bottles of dried herbs and spices, spend an hour portioning out some dip packets, and have MYO dip mix for a year or more. Or less, if you get asked constantly to bring your “Famous Insanely Delicious Spinach Dip” to every gathering you attend. If you are very hardcore and grow and dry your own herbs, this is a perfect way to use them. And please invite me over for lunch sometime.

BTW, I like to buy little 2×3-inch plastic bags at the craft store for this purpose. Just slap a label on the outside and you’re good to go.

[Disclaimer: I know, I know. Here on Eat Real I usually have nothing good to say about dried herbs. This would obviously be an exception. While you can use fresh herbs in this recipe (remember the ratio is 3:1 fresh to dry), you can’t make a year’s worth of dip mixes in an hour using fresh herbs! And it’s not a nutritional sacrifice. So I’m completely, 100% on board with dried herbs here. Even parsley. And you know how I feel about dried parsley.]

MYO Spinach Dip*

  • 1 tablespoon dried vegetable flakes 
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill 
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 cups sour cream or 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt**
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  1. Combine all ingredients except for spinach and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow vegetables and herbs to rehydrate and flavors to blend. 
  2. While the dip base is chilling, spray a nonstick skillet with pan spray or oil lightly with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Cook spinach, stirring frequently, until wilted and soft. If the spinach begins to stick to the pan, add a little water, a teaspoon at a time. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. When the spinach is cool, stir into the dip base. Serve with chips, toasted pita wedges, or cut veggies.

*This is dedicated to my sister, Ande, Queen of All Spinach Dip.
**Bonus nutritional points for using yogurt.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies are the nice girls of the cookie jar. They’re wholesome, earthy, sweet ~ the cookie version of the girl you can take home to not just Mom, but Grandma too.

This version is the equally lovable, slightly sassier ~ but not quite naughtier ~ cookie-girl version. She’s the one who will have a nose ring, a cupcake tattooed on her butt, and enough charm to wrangle your Grandma’s lime whip salad recipe out of her at the church potluck.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Orange and Spice

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth and light.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and allspice. Add to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Stir in oats, cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Chill dough 1 hour or overnight.
  3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  4. Drop cookies by tablespoon or cookie scoop onto prepared sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are just golden. Let cool 2 minutes on pan; remove to racks to cool completely. Store at room temperature for 1 week in air-tight container or freeze for longer storage.

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