This is one of my all-time favorite foods that I order when I go out to eat, but sometimes…my couch, a bottle of wine, and my favorite TV shows sound much nicer than paying $50 for a meal and dealing with rude waitresses.
I read up on a bunch of recipes, and they all sounded just a little to the left of what I like. So I decided to compile the common themes across recipes, add a few twists, and make my own version. It turned out pretty well…And went well with our couch, a few beers (we were out of wine), a fire in the hearth, and my puppy at my feet.
Prep Time: 5 minutes (depending on your onion-chopping speed)
Cook Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Total Time: Shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. If it does, you’re not doing it right.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced (I used the stuff that comes in a jar, but we all know that fresh is always better…so if you’re motivated to mince some garlic, do it!)
- 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
- 10 oz. of frozen spinach (thawed, drained, and dried as well as you can -I’ve concluded it’s impossible to get that stuff totally dry)
- 8 oz. of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Pita bread (or some other kind of dipper/chip/whatever)
1. Heat olive oil over medium; saute onions and garlic
I’m as far from a “real” cook as it gets, so I would say that you know these are ready when…
a) the onions appear soft and flimsy,
b) everything looks darker but not burnt, and
c) it smells good (not like raw onions and potent garlic).
The pros would probably say “saute until golden brown and aromatic.”
Same thing, right?
2. Add spinach; continue to saute until everything is fully mixed
I’m not going to lie: thawed out, frozen spinach looks and smells disgusting. I promise it gets better.
← Stir this, and keep the heat at the same setting.
And in the words of Dory, just keep stirring, just keep stirring…
Seriously though, spinach is one of those foods that sticks in just seconds.
Eventually, when it looks something like this →
you can call it good. Don’t overcook it.
3. Add cream cheese, milk, Parmesan, and mayonnaise
Hint: Soften the cream cheese a bit in the microwave first. It’ll make things easier.
Also, I used mayonnaise made with olive oil. I don’t know if it matters, but it made sense to me because it’s consistent with the rest of the recipe.
Here’s some more advice you can take or leave:
You’re cooking something that includes cream cheese, milk, cheese, and mayonnaise.
I don’t care how many “non-fat” or “reduced fat” labels you throw in the mix,
this is NOT going to be a healthy dish.
So if you’re going to do it, do the damn thing and use regular cream cheese, whole milk, and so on. You won’t increase the level of unhealthy that much by doing so
(it’s going to be unhealthy no matter what…at least it has spinach?),
but you will notice that it tastes a whole lot better.
← Now, it’s going to look ugly when you first put it all together…
Once the Parmesan melts, lower the heat a little bit.
Cook, stirring constantly (seriously. This isn’t one of those recipes that just says that – keep stirring), until there are no chunks of cream cheese left.
4. Serve with Warm Pita Points
I just took some round pieces of pita, threw them on a warm skillet for about 30 seconds on each side, and then cut into triangles.
Again, you can serve this with whatever you like – some people prefer chips. You might even notice that I also served it with this bagel crisp things I found at the grocery store, so really it’s just whatever blows your bubble.
Also…if you like a more “crunchy” spinach dip, you could probably throw this in a casserole dish and bake it at a relatively high temp (maybe 400?) to give it that crispy, brown outside.