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Skinny Hot Spinach Dip Recipe

by Jeanette on October 3, 2012 · 32 Comments
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This Skinny Hot Spinach Dip is packed with nutrition and protein.

Skinny Hot Spinach Dip

Skinny Hot Spinach Dip

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.

Skinny Hot Spinach Dip with Chips

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!

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

Skinny Hot Spinach Dip
This was so good and very easy to make. It's a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables at snack time without them even thinking about it. Serve with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks.
Serves: 4
  • 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
  1. Place cottage cheese in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Squeeze excess water from defrosted spinach; reserve.
  3. 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.
  4. Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with a little paprika, if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 160.3 grams Calories: 193 Fat: 10.2 grams

Skinny Spinach Dip

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  1. Jeanette, this looks fabulous! Appreciated all of the stats, too and THAT TIP about putting the cottage cheese in the blender — fabulous!

  2. Hi Jeanette,
    This looks scrumptious! I love spinach but it’s a challenge, for me, coming up with new recipes for it. I can’t wait to try this. Love that it’s a healthier dip. Your red pot is too cute:)

  3. Definitely a keeper. I love spinach, but usually in salads or stir-fries.

  4. What a great tip Jeanette – I didn’t know that either about cottage cheese so don’t worry – you weren’t alone in the dark!

  5. I have used the food processor to make cottage cheese into a creamy mixture like that, but hadn’t done the numbers. Impressive difference!

  6. That looks awesome! And the fact that it’s a bit healthier than normal is exciting! Cheers!

  7. I love spinach dips and this looks so good!

  8. This looks amazingly delicious. We love spinach dip!

  9. I love spinach dip and this looks super tasty and healthy!

  10. My boyfriend keeps trying to BEG me to make him football food…and now I feel like I can finally indulge him by making this dip!

  11. This is definitely a favorite around here – and it qualifies for football food, even better! Have to buy more spinach just so I can make this. My son asked for it last night, but alas, I had run out of spinach.

  12. such a great idea to use the cottage cheese. this is a great dip for the sporting events or appetizer:)

  13. I hate cottage cheese too–the only way I will eat it is when it’s pureed! 😀 It makes a good filling for stuffed shells too. This is such a great game day recipe!

  14. looks like a great football recipes to me!

  15. Oh my goodness, doe that ever sound GOOD!

  16. Well darling you are not alone. I had never thought of blending it until creamy, but it’s brilliant. I’ll be trying that trick out and this yummy skinny dip too.

  17. I always love a good skinny dip! 😉

  18. I’m so excited to discover that cottage cheese can be used as a substitute for cream cheese – great for other skinny recipes. I just made this spinach dip again today – love that my kids are getting a healthy snack that includes some veggies ;).

  19. Love this dip, but then again I love, love, love cottage cheese too! I haven’t convinced my kids to love spinach yet, but I’d happily snack on this yummy dip!

  20. Fantastic analysis Jeanette. My husband hates cream cheese and this may be the solution I’ve been looking for! Can you use it in sweet desserts as well as savory dishes? Fantastic choice for the Fall Fest!

    • Thanks Jane – yes, cottage cheese puree is a great substitute for cream cheese in sweets too. The person who taught me this trick actually made a strawberry cheesecake parfait with pureed cottage cheese that was sweetened. She used lots of vanilla to add extra flavor.

  21. A healthy Spinach Dip? You can count me in!

    Pinned and shared :)

  22. My mom just made this dip. Followed all the steps to your recipe. It was yummy!!!

    • Sasha – so glad your mom enjoyed this dip! We make this almost once a week and my kids love it. I appreciate your feedback as I’m always interested to hear back from readers who try my recipes to see if they enjoy them as much as my family.

  23. This was delicious! Even my mom liked it who is not a big fan of spinach dip. It was devoured at our Christmas Eve bash. Thank you.

    • Tracey- thanks so much for trying my recipe and letting me know how it turned out. This is a favorite of ours and I just made another version for our Christmas Eve Open House – Skinny Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip with Fontina Cheese. So glad it worked out for you all!

  24. hi, Thank you so much for the recipe! Btw, does it have to be frozen spinach? Is fresh baby spinach okay?

    • Johanna – I use frozen spinach for ease. You could certainly use fresh spinach, but I would blanch it as it will shrink considerably. You’ll want to use roughly the same weight as the amount I use in this recipe.

  25. Adrienne says:

    I made this for my book club last night and it was a hit. It was so easy to make too. I’ll definitely be making it again.

  26. Hi Jeanette-Do you think I could make this dip a day before serving it and reheat it? I am swamped with Thanksgiving preparations.

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