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  1. Arts & Entertainment

Lighter take on classic spinach and artichoke dip

Published Apr. 5, 2012

Spinach and artichoke dip sounds like it should be a virtuous treat. After all, it's loaded with vegetables.

Trouble is, it's usually more mayonnaise and cheese than spinach and artichoke. So we decided to see if we could come up with a version that isn't so out of sync with healthy eating.

First order of business was to nix the mayonnaise. But, of course, we wanted something that had a great creamy texture and that could be heated. Greek-style yogurt blended with low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) worked beautifully. It even added a subtle tang that we enhanced with some lemon zest for a nice spring flavor profile. Some fresh herbs took it ever further.

Next up, dealing with the cheese. We handled the inner gooey-ness with the aforementioned cream cheese. But often there also is a pile of cheese or breadcrumbs (or both) on the top. After it's broiled, we wanted that textural contrast and the toastiness.

We found that crushed and seasoned whole-grain crackers worked well. Just note that different crackers can have widely varying nutrition. So be sure to select a whole-grain cracker with modest amounts of fat and calories. Aim for around 100 to 120 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving. You'll also want about 3 to 4 grams each of protein and fiber.

Lastly, and most important, was upping the amount of spinach and artichoke. We went with canned artichokes for ease. They also are available frozen. Either way, be sure to get the variety in water, not oil. Fresh baby spinach got a quick saute with onion and garlic before being added. Serve the warm dip with whole-wheat pita chips, baked tortilla chips or veggie sticks.