A warm creamy dip made of spinach, artichoke, and cream cheese with a slightly spicy kick from jalapeno. Perfect as an appetizer or snack with chips and slices of bread.
As Thanksgiving Day looms closer, I’m searching for perfect dishes to make for the entire family. Something that is quick and simple because with so many dishes to make I don’t have a lot of time to spend on just one dish. And what can be easier than making a dip? It’s a great starter. Guests can munch on chips or slices of bread with a warm creamy dip until the rest of the food is ready. And it only takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and serve.
But I had a dilemma. I couldn’t decide between a spinach artichoke dip and an artichoke jalapeno dip. They both sound delicious. So… I decided to combine both dips into one.
I’m a huge fan of spicy foods. I love putting chili peppers into recipes. However, I know that not everyone can eat spicy. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, or you have a low tolerance, it’s perfectly fine to leave out the jalapeno pepper or the crushed red peppers. It won’t change the taste of the dip other than the level of spiciness.
I love that this recipe requires only a few ingredients: cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, jalapeno, a pinch of salt, garlic powder, and crushed red peppers.
The artichoke hearts are a little bit expensive. It goes for about $5 a can, but it is enough to make two batches of the spicy spinach artichoke dip. Which means after the first batch quickly disappears, you can make a second one. Believe me, I had to resist the urge to make more.
I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese just so that I don’t feel so guilty about devouring the dip, but if you like, you can use the regular cream cheese. I think regular cream cheese will make the dip a lot creamy.
First, boil about one cup of water in a small pot. While you wait for the water to boil, chop up the artichoke hearts into small pieces. You’ll need about a cup of chopped artichoke hearts, that’s about 4-5 large ones, and 1 ½ cups of frozen chopped spinach. I know it sounds like a lot of spinach, but once it thaws, the spinach shrinks. Once the water boils, add the artichoke hearts and frozen spinach into the pot. Boil for about 4-5 minutes.
Drain the artichoke and the spinach in a strainer, and set aside for now.
If you plan to add jalapeno in your recipe, chop up one medium size jalapeno into small pieces. Boil the jalapeno in a small pot with about 1 cup of water. I chose to boil the jalapeno separately instead of with the spinach and artichoke because not everyone can tolerate a lot of heat. If I had cooked the jalapeno with the spinach and artichoke, the whole recipe would be a lot spicier since the flavors would have come out in the water and mixed with the other ingredients, enhancing the spiciness. Cook the jalapeno for 3-4 minutes or until the pieces have soften. Drain them and set aside.
Just as a note, with any chili peppers, the level of spiciness varies individually. One jalapeno might be hotter than another. I don’t think you can tell when you’re buying them how spicy they will be. Some people say that jalapenos that appear smooth on the surface like the one I bought will be less spicy and those that have lines and striations will be spicier. The ones with lines and striations are supposed to be older. Others say that it depends on how the peppers are grown, whether there was a lot of water or what the temperature the pepper was grown under. I personally think it’s just luck. To control the level of spiciness, add the peppers a little at a time and taste it as you go.
Now, heat the cream cheese in a small pot under medium low heat. If the heat is too high, the cream cheese can burn at the bottom.
Once the cream cheese starts to melt, add in the spinach, artichoke, and jalapeno. Mix until everything is covered with cream cheese and looks evenly distributed. Add in garlic powder. Slowly add crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt and make sure to taste it. If you add too much, it will be too spicy and too salty, and it will be hard to fix. If you add these ingredients slowly, you can adjust to taste.
Take off the heat and serve warm with chips or slices of bread. This recipe makes 4 servings, but we finished it all in one sitting. It’s a good thing I used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Otherwise, I’d feel so guilty…
For a printer friendly version of the recipe, click here.
Click on the image below for an enlarged view of the recipe.