Today, I’m sharing a Skinny Hot Spinach Dip recipe for this week’s Food Network Fall Fest event where Spinach is being featured. Each week through the fall season, a group of talented bloggers will be featuring a recipe using fresh fall produce that’s in season.
This spinach dip recipe contains a secret ingredient that can make your creamy dips healthier while packing a punch of protein. I came up with this Skinny Hot Spinach Dip as an after-school snack a few weeks ago when my youngest son came off the bus looking for something to eat. Since there’s not much time between snack time and dinner, I like to give him a filling, but healthy snack. Sometimes, I use leftover turkey and bean chili and melt a little cheese on top for a quick dip; other times, I make some hummus. This particular day, I happened to have picked up a box of frozen chopped spinach from the store, hoping to experiment with a healthier spinach dip. Packed with protein and leafy green vegetables, this is a great healthy afternoon snack that will tide the kids over until dinner.
Who wouldn’t love their kids to eat vegetables for snack, right? Well, let’s just say, that my boys managed to chow down every last bite of this Skinny Hot Spinach Dip, which counts as 1+ servings of vegetable each. Of course, I made more vegetables for dinner (my serving size is about one cup of vegetables per person), so that would make 3 servings for the day.
I eat pretty much anything, but one food I’ve never liked is cottage cheese. There’s something about the texture of the curds that just doesn’t appeal to me, and my memories of eating cottage cheese are associated with dieting and eating it with crushed pineapple.
I haven’t touched cottage cheese in years, but recently, someone showed me a trick that I just have to share. Somehow, when you blend cottage cheese into a thick puree, it magically becomes thick and creamy like cream cheese! Who would have thought that. I may be the only person in the dark on this, but I just couldn’t believe it! I’ve been using non-fat Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream and I’ve also used strained Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese, but never cottage cheese.
Here’s what I found out when I compared the nutrition labels for 1% Cottage Cheese and regular Cream Cheese. One cup of Regular Cream Cheese has 800 calories, 72 grams of fat and 16 grams of protein. Light Cream Cheese has 420 calories, 31 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. And one cup of 1% Cottage Cheese has 163 calories, 2.3 grams of fat and 28 grams of protein.
Hope I didn’t bore you, but I was curious to see the difference between the nutritional profile of these products. I have used non-fat Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese in my Buffalo Chicken Dip before, but it requires straining the yogurt overnight, so for this Spinach Dip, I used cottage cheese. I’d bet that Greek yogurt would work just as well as a substitute.
Popular recipes for Hot Spinach Dip call for cream cheese, mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese. Although it’s not a straight comparison, when I compared this Skinny Hot Spinach Dip to TGIF’s Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip, my recipe has half the fat, 70% less cholesterol, and 37% less sodium. (Source: Calorie Count).
You must give this Skinny Hot Spinach Dip recipe a try – I made it again just yesterday, and my son told me it was the best dip ever! Shhh…don’t tell him about the secret ingredient.
Be sure to check out the following recipes from all my friends participating in this week’s Fall Fest!
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Skinny Hot Spinach Dip
Feed Me Phoebe: October Evening Lentil Soup With Spinach
And Love It Too: Grain-Free Spinach Pie
Cooking With Elise: Baby Spinach Salad With Cranberries, Spiced Pecans and a Maple Vinaigrette
Virtually Homemade: Three Onion Dip With Spinach
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Spinach
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Whole-Wheat Pasta With Spicy Spinach and Peanut Butter Pesto
Thursday Night Dinner: Spinach Ice Cream
Cooking Channel: Fresh Spinach in Indian Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Spinach-Sausage Saute With Pan-Fried Gnocchi
Delicious Lean: Spinach Leaf Roll Ups
Bacon and Souffle: Baby Spinach Pizza With Sopressata and Sriracha
FN Dish: Stuff It With Spinach
- 1 cup 1% low fat cottage cheese
- 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion or ½ medium onion, minced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ -1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
- pinch of nutmeg
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- paprika, for garnish
- Place cottage cheese in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Squeeze excess water from defrosted spinach; reserve.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper, and saute until onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add nutmeg, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until warmed through. Turn off heat and add pureed cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir until warmed through.
- Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with a little paprika, if desired.