My imaginary friend came over the other day. She hadn't visited in a while, but something was bothering her so she put in an appearance. The conversation went something like this (I did most of the talking): "What's that you said? You love spinach dip? And you love spinach-artichoke dip also? And you're crazy about hummus? And what else did you say? A little louder please, I can't hear you too well. Really? You can't decide which dip to make? Oh, poor you. This is not a problem at all. Make all three. No, no, just relax! Not three different dips. Make one dip that is a combination of hummus, spinach and spinach-artichoke dip. Trust me dear, it's delicious. I bought some from that specialty supermarket I go to, and I loved it. It has a hummus base. I need not tell you how healthy hummus is. Then there is spinach added, and carrots, and water chestnuts. Then there are chopped up artichokes incorporated into the mix. No, no, the supermarket didn't give me the recipe, but how hard is it going to be to make something similar? Come into the kitchen with me dear, and you'll be eating dip in no time." She followed me into the kitchen. That imaginary friend of mine just loves to follow me.
WARNING: THIS RECIPE IS NOT INTENDED FOR CONSUMPTION BY "PURIST" HUMMUS EATERS, AS IT CONTAINS INGREDIENTS NOT ORDINARILY FOUND IN TRADITIONAL HUMMUS RECIPES. WILL THE "PURIST" HUMMUS EATING FOLK PLEASE CHECK MY POST ENTITLED: HUMMUS, HUMMUS, HUMMUS!
I continued explaining to my friend how healthy this hummus dip is: "Don't forget how many calories and fat we're going to do away with by making our dip this way. Out goes the mayonnaise. Out goes the sour cream. Out go the high fat cheeses and the cream. Instead, we have protein from the chick peas, we have iron rich spinach, we have the goodness of yogurt and we've got some really delicious feta cheese. I see you smiling already. Wait 'till you taste this!" So we got to work and made our dip. Actually I did all the work. My imaginary friend just looked on and smiled in approval.
Make the hummus base:
There lots of recipes for hummus, but this one is good to use as a base for this dip. Take a 15 ounce can of chickpeas, 2 or 3 garlic cloves, 4 level tablespoons tahini, 4 tablespoons lemon juice (or a little more, if needed), and a pinch each of salt, cumin and black pepper. Whip them up in a food processor until you get a smooth consistency. To that mixture add 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whip the mixture up some more and that should do it for the base of the dip.
Now let's add some vegetables:
Chop up 4 artichoke hearts (the canned ones, but not not the marinated ones), chop up some spinach, chop some water chestnuts, chop a little parsley, and grate a carrot. How much of each?
Oh, details, details. We can measure or we can wing it. I'm all for winging it.
Let's just fold the vegetables into the hummus. Stir in a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and about a tablespoon or so of feta cheese. Place the dip in the refrigerator for a few hours or preferably overnight so that the hummus can reach its optimum taste. Resting time is important so that the flavors can blend together. Once the dip is ready, place it on a serving platter and decorate the top with pine nuts (which I forgot to do when taking the picture). Serve with carrots, celery and pita chips.
Taste it. Come on, taste it... Whoops... were did my imaginary friend go? Oh well, she's gone. This was fun to make and a really delicious and healthy dip.
I packed some of it up and took it to work. It got favorable reviews!!!
This is my contribution to French Fridays with Dorie, a web club that is cooking its way through the book "Around My French Table," written by Dorie Greenspan.