Enjoy baked spinach artichoke dip with an ingredient shake-up: no mayo or cream cheese. This healthier version is lightened up and features more protein and fiber for a nutritious Game Day (or anytime) appetizer.
As an Applebee's half-price appetizer aficionado in my youth, classic spinach artichoke dip is near and dear to my heart. As an adult, however, I'm not a big cream cheese person and don't usually keep it on hand.
Over the years I've taken a big swerve away from the traditional preparation and have landed on this baked spinach artichoke dip without cream cheese or mayo. While it's not dairy-free by any means, I sub in Greek yogurt, *blended* cottage cheese, and a secret ingredient to mimic the thick texture of cream cheese in a leaner way.
And that secret ingredient? It's one of my favorite tricks to thicken up a warm dip without relying on cream cheese: pureed white beans. Cannellini beans are a sneaky staple in my healthy buffalo chicken dip. They fly under the radar flavor-wise, instead bulking up the dip with extra protein and fiber and less fat.
What You'll Love About This Dip
- This is a spinach artichoke dip with oomph. Blended white beans add fiber and protein to a dip that traditionally is lacking. If you've ever been tempted to make a meal out of spinach artichoke dip, now's your chance.
- The flavor upgrades. Marinated artichoke hearts, sharp Provolone, roasted garlic powder, smoked hot sauce are all easy switches to make to bump up the flavor of this no-mayo spinach artichoke dip big time.
- It's a great prep-ahead appetizer for a party.
- Spinach: Prepare according to package directions and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.
- Artichoke Hearts: Using marinated artichoke hearts versus canned hearts in water provides a nice upgrade in flavor.
- White Beans: Pureeing cannellini beans gives them a texture similar to a firm block of cream cheese. They take the place of the traditionally-used cream cheese here. Canned chickpeas also work well for this purpose.
- Cottage Cheese: This is blended smooth with the beans so there's no curd texture.
- Greek Yogurt: For extra creaminess (and protein). This is a lighter substitution for mayonnaise and/or sour cream. Low-fat or whole-milk are recommended over non-fat.
- Provolone: If you've ever used mozzarella for a dip like this, I urge you to try shredded sharp Provolone instead for a MAJOR flavor boost.
- Parmesan: Freshly-shredded has the boldest impact. Pecorino Romano can be used instead.
- Hot Sauce: Just a little bit for flavor more so than spice, but can be omitted. Use your favorite variety (I like a smoked, not-super-spicy kind).
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. If you have access to roasted garlic powder, this is a great recipe to use it. I use a blend of regular and roasted garlic powders.
- Prepare spinach. Cook spinach according to package directions and squeeze out excess moisture.
- Add beans and cottage cheese to food processor. Rinse and drain the beans, then add to the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend. If using chickpeas you may need to add a dollop or two of the Greek yogurt to help the food processor along.
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Transfer bean puree to a large bowl and add the wrung-out spinach and all remaining ingredients. Optional: reserve some of the Provolone and Parmesan for sprinkling on top.
- Stir until well-combined. Stir well to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients. Take care to separate out the spinach which will be tightly packed in pockets.
- Bake. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, then pour in the dip, leveling the top off into an even layer. Sprinkle reserved cheeses over top then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and warmed throughout.
Prevent Watery Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach holds a lot of moisture, which can make dip watery and muted in flavor. The best way to expel this moisture is by squeezing in cheesecloth. Prepare spinach, let it cool enough to safely handle, wrap it in a few layers of cheesecloth, then SQUEEZE. The cheesecloth won't tear like a paper towel would. You might be surprised just how much water is released!
Tips and Tricks
- Baking Dish Size - When choosing a baking dish size, keep in mind this recipe yields roughly 32 ounces (1 quart) of dip in total. The dish pictured here has a 1.4-quart capacity and fits it nicely.
- Make-Ahead Tip - Spinach artichoke dip can be assembled and refrigerated a day ahead of cooking and serving. If doing so make sure to use a baking dish that can handle a fairly quick temperature transition from the fridge to a pre-heated oven.
- Serving Suggestions - Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, crostini, carrot and celery sticks, or other sturdy dippers that can handle a thick dip.
More Game Day Favorites
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Note: If you're returning via a saved link, this recipe has been updated since its initial publish date in 2015. Originally it called for half a block of reduced-fat cream cheese (and no Provolone), however I began experimenting with lower-fat alternatives to cream cheese and liked what a combination of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt could do. The beans are the same!
Spinach Artichoke Dip (No Mayo or Cream Cheese)
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
- 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- ½ cup cottage cheese 4% recommended
- 1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts drained and roughly chopped
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt low- or full-fat recommended
- ½ cup finely-shredded Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- ½ cup shredded sharp Provolone cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoons hot sauce or to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook spinach according to package directions then put in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. When cool enough to safely handle, wrap spinach in cheesecloth and press as much liquid out of it as you can. Place spinach in a mixing bowl when done.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 1.4-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside for now.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the rinsed and drained cannellini beans and the cottage cheese and puree until it's as smooth as can be. Turn out the mixture into the bowl with the spinach.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl (reserve some of the Provolone and Parmesan for sprinkling over top if you want) and stir to combine evenly. The squeezed spinach will be very compact, so take care to break up those dense pockets when mixing.
- Pour out the dip into the prepared baking dish and use a spatula to press it into an even layer. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over top. Bake uncovered on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until the dip is bubbly and heated throughout and cheese is melty. Serve while warm with pita or tortilla chips, crostini, baby carrots, celery sticks, etc.
- Bean Substitution - Chick peas can be used in place of cannellini beans. I've found they need a few spoons of Greek yogurt added when pureeing to help the food processor along.
- Flavor Upgrades - Little ingredient upgrades are impactful here. Use a smoked hot sauce, substitute one teaspoon of the garlic powder with roasted garlic powder, etc.
- Make-Ahead - This no-mayo spinach artichoke dip can be assembled a day ahead of time and refrigerated. Just make sure your baking dish can withstand a quick fridge to oven temperature flux.
- Leftovers - Store leftover dip in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If serving at a party, do not leave out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours before refrigerating.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer