Avocado Spinach Dip

Reminiscent of spinach artichoke dip, this vibrant, cheesy dip gets its creamy richness from avocado.

Sometimes, you get stuck in a rut. Sometimes, you need a change.

This post is about three game-changers:

  1. A new camera! Since starting this blog, I’ve evolved from taking all the photos on my iPhone 4, to an iPhone 5, to my Fujifilm point-and-shoot. However, last week I bit the bullet and bought a full-blown DSLR. I’m starting to learn my way around my new Canon Rebel T3i and this is the first post featuring images shot on this camera.
  2. Smoked gouda. I learned recently that gouda comes in both smoked and unsmoked varieties, by unintentionally purchasing a wedge of applewood-smoked gouda. It was a happy accident, however. Smoked gouda has all the sharp tang of the regular, with an added layer of richness from the smoking–the applewood variety seriously smells like bacon! Gouda plays a key role later in Game-changer No. 3…
  3. The featured recipe in this post: Avocado Spinach Dip!
Reminiscent of spinach artichoke dip, this vibrant, cheesy dip gets its creamy richness from avocado.
Reminiscent of spinach artichoke dip, this vibrant dip gets its creamy richness from avocado.

This recipe is based on the Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Full Belly Sisters. Paul and I loved the original recipe when we tried it as a sandwich, in part because its creamy deliciousness reminded us of spinach artichoke dip.

So, eventually I took that idea and ran with it. This re-imagining of the sandwich recipe contains a whole avocado, garlic powder and several kinds of cheese, and is broiled to achieve the bubbly, slightly crisp surface of a great spinach dip. The creamy avocado takes the place of less healthy ingredients like mayonnaise or cream cheese. And although I’ve never added artichokes, I bet they’d be an excellent addition!

Aside from its comfort food-level appeal, this recipe also has a few other things going for it. It’s super fast (try the shortcut in Step 6 to make it even faster), and a great way to clean out your cheese drawer! While I’d recommend including at least some gouda (smoked or not, your preference) and/or another good melting cheese like Monterey jack, this recipe is very forgiving and will work with just about any odds and ends you have lying around.

Avocado Spinach Dip

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • about 4-5 oz assorted cheese (I think my favorite combination is the mix of smoked gouda, Monterey jack, mozzarella and Parmesan used below; I’ve also incorporated cheddar, brie, feta and other cheeses with great results!)
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce, or more depending on preference (I used Frank’s)
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • tortilla chips, for serving

Steps

  1. Add the spinach to the bowl of a food processor. (It helps to put the spinach in first so that the other ingredients weigh it down.)
  2. Cut open the avocado (step-by-step instructions below) and scoop the flesh into the bowl as well.
    After washing the avocado, slice down into the flesh until you hit the pit inside. Then, rotate the avocado so that the knife cuts down to the pit all the way around the fruit.
    After washing the avocado, slice down into the flesh until you hit the pit inside. Then, rotate the avocado so that the knife cuts down to the pit all the way around the fruit.
    Twist the two avocado halves in opposite directions to separate them.
    Twist the two avocado halves in opposite directions to separate them.
    Hold the half with the pit in one hand (you may want to use a towel or oven mitt to protect yourself the first few times you do this). Carefully but firmly hit the pit with the cutting edge of a sharp, sturdy knife to lodge the blade in it.
    Hold the half with the pit in one hand (you may want to use a towel or oven mitt to protect your hand if it makes you nervous). Carefully but firmly hit the pit with the cutting edge of a sharp, sturdy knife to lodge the blade in it.

    Twist the knife and pull the pit out of the avocado. Use a paper or cloth towel over your hand to carefully grab the pit and pull it from the blade.
    Twist the knife and pull the pit out of the avocado. Use a paper or cloth towel over your hand to carefully grab the pit and pull it from the blade.
  3. Add the cheese (hold back about 2 tablespoons) and seasonings. Remember that the cheese and chips will be salty, so start with no salt or just a small pinch.
    Use whatever cheeses you have on hand. Pictured, clockwise from top: smoked gouda (remove the rind before using), Monterey jack, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
    Use whatever cheeses you have on hand. Pictured, clockwise from top: smoked gouda (remove the rind before using), Monterey jack, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.

    Add all the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor.
    Add all the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor.
  4. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed. Taste the dip and adjust seasoning–I recommend sampling it on a tortilla chip to check the salt levels.
    Pulse the machine until the ingredients are blended, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    Pulse the machine until the ingredients are blended, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

    The biggest danger in this recipe is probably the risk of over-salting. Sample the dip on a (salty) tortilla chip when you check the seasonings.
    The biggest danger in this recipe is probably the risk of over-salting. Sample the dip on a (salty) tortilla chip when you check the seasonings.
  5. When you’re happy with the texture and seasonings, scoop the dip into two 1-cup, ovenproof ramekins.

    Scoop the dip into two individual ramekins. A rubber spatula is perfect for getting every last bit out of the food processor.
    Scoop the dip into two individual ramekins. A rubber spatula is perfect for getting every last bit out of the food processor.
  6. You have two options for heating the dip:
    • The long way: Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the ramekins for 10-12 minutes until bubbling.
    • The shortcut: Microwave the ramekins for about 2 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  7. Preheat the broiler and top the dip with the reserved cheese. Broil for about 3-5 minutes until the cheese on top is bubbly and beginning to brown. Serve with chips.
    Once the dip is hot, top with the reserved cheese. Here I used shredded mozzarella.
    Once the dip is hot, top with the reserved cheese. Here I used shredded mozzarella.
    Enjoy your dip with tortilla chips, pita or any other dippable-food! Who am I kidding, I'd eat this stuff with a spoon.
    Enjoy your dip with tortilla chips, pita or any other dippable-food! Who am I kidding? I’d totally eat this stuff with a spoon.

    Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Avocado Spinach Dip

  1. Hi,

    Your blog has caught our attention thanks to the quality of your recipes. We would be delighted if you would join us on Mytaste.com so that we could link to your blog.

    Mytaste.com is a search engine that compiles the best American cooking sites and blogs from the Internet. We are one of the largest in the world with sites in 37 markets and thousands of blogs are already enrolled here and benefit from the traffic we are sending to their sites.

    To join Mytaste.com, just go to mytaste.com/add-your-food-blog

    Sincerely,
    Mytaste.com

Leave a comment below!