(Originally published in 2014, updated in 2018). The Super Bowl is coming up and most years, I take full advantage of the opportunity to make a bunch of appetizers, finger food, and cocktails. This hot vegan spinach artichoke dip is PERFECT for your Super Bowl celebration because not only is it packed with veggies and made from real ingredients, but it’s straight up delicious, AND has left omnivores dumbfounded that it’s vegan and isn’t made with dairy cheese.
Just look at it. SO cheesy! It’s stretchy, meltable and gooey too, just like a good spinach and artichoke dip should be. Step aside, Daiya! This is made from scratch and a million times tastier.
I’ve also seen versions of dairy-free spin-art dip made with tofu, and I’m sure those are tasty too, but I think the cashews give the perfect rich and creamy base for this version.
(I recently took new pictures of this, but I included one of the old pictures here, for nostalgia’s sake).
This vegan spinach artichoke dip uses tapioca starch to create a thick and gooey cashew “mozzarella” base. Tapioca starch is an all-natural starch made from dehydrated manioc, a root vegetable similar to yucca. It gives the most amazing cheese-like texture to vegan cheesy items made from scratch.
Even if you aren’t big on football, I would have to guess that you, like me, enjoy an excuse to make a killer vegan spinach artichoke dip, so I hope that you’ll give this one a try. We will definitely be having it again on game day :). Go Seahawks and/or Ravens! :P. If you make this dip, let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram with @yupitsvegan!
Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
A creamy and delicious baked vegan spinach artichoke dip, served warm from the oven and made from scratch with no processed substitutes.
For the blender mixture:
For the rest of the vegan spinach artichoke dip:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or less to taste)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts drained and roughly chopped (drained weight 8 oz.; I used the unmarinated kind)
- 2 oz. fresh baby spinach thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a cast iron skillet (mine is about 6 inches in diameter) or ramekin.
Combine all of the ingredients for the blender mixture in a blender or food processor, scraping down the sides as needed and blending until completely smooth. Strain using a nut milk bag if needed. Set aside.
In a wide skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil of medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic, chili flakes, pepper, and paprika and stir. Cook for another 1 minute or until fragrant.
Give the reserved blender mixture another stir and then add it to the pan. Stir every few seconds, making sure to scrape around the bottom of the saucepan to keep from sticking. The mixture will start to get chunky in places; when you see this happening, start to stir constantly until the mixture smooths out again and becomes one cohesive, somewhat stretchy mass.
Add the spinach and artichoke hearts to the pan and stir in as best you can. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes more or until the spinach pieces wilt a little bit.
Taste the mixture for salt and add more if desired. Transfer to the prepared dish and smooth out. For improved browning, lightly spray or brush the top with additional olive oil. If you have a broiler, bake for 10 minutes and then broil on high for another 3-4 minutes, until nice and browned and bubbly on top. If you don’t have a broiler, bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until slightly crusty and light brown on top.
Remove from the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes so that nobody burns their mouths, and then serve hot.
CASHEWS: Soak the cashews overnight, but if you forget, simply put them in a bowl with water and microwave for 90-120 seconds at a time or until very softened.
NUTRITIONAL YEAST: I think it is easy to go overboard with nooch and overpower the other flavors. But in this instance, just one tablespoon adds savory notes and balance to the dish; however, you can omit it if needed.
TAPIOCA STARCH: Tapioca starch is the same thing as tapioca flour and it's made by Bob's Red Mill as well as other brands. Look in the baking aisle or natural section of your grocery store, at almost any Whole Foods, or on Amazon.com!
As far as substitutes go, cornstarch or arrowroot starch may work to thicken the dip but tapioca starch is definitely the best at making it gooey and stretchy! Some readers have had success with potato starch - check the comments section for detail!
VARIATIONS: Use blanched kale or other greens instead of the spinach. Add jalapeno to the saute mixture for an extra kick.