Recipe: Hot Artichoke and Beet Green Dip

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With artichoke season in full swing in my garden, I went looking around for a few new creative recipes. The typical heavy, over-cheesed spinach and artichoke dip came up a lot so I challenged myself to make a flavorful and healthier version (without using fat-free everything). With all the beet greens in my freezer, I subbed them for the spinach and used sour cream, Parmesan and Neufchatel cheese instead of gobs of mayo and mild mozz. I boosted it with lemon zest, red pepper flakes, thyme and lots of garlic. Serve with the artichoke leaves (a bonus of using fresh over frozen or canned artichokes) and homemade pita chips (click for that recipe).

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Servings: 8
Time: About 30 minutes active; one hour total

5 medium artichokes, cooked (see my Grilled Artichoke recipe on Vegetarianized.com; do steps 1 and 2), hearts removed and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 lemon, chop 2 teaspoons lemon zest and juice half
1 bunch beet greens, chopped, about 8–9 ounces
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese, but the former has better flavor and lower calories, fat and carbs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme and lemon zest. Sauté about 5 minutes until onion gets soft.

2. Add beet greens, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper flakes and salt. Mix well and heat until there is no more liquid in the pan from greens, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, mix together Neufchatel, sour cream, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add artichoke-greens mixture and incorporate thoroughly.

4. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread out the mixture evenly. Top with Parmesan and bake for 10 minutes. Heat broiler and broil 2–4 minutes until Parmesan melts and begins to brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun, and above all, tasty, lifestyle.