Spinach Dip, Made Over

Robin Miller's lightened-up spinach dip has a fraction of the fat and calories as the original, plus is loaded with fresh vegetables.

Indoors or out, spring and summer parties call for dips. Creamy concoctions intended for dunking get folks fired up. It hardly matters what’s on the side – fresh vegetables, crackers, tortilla chips – they please any crowd. And one of the most frequently-served blends is the classic spinach dip. Traditionally made with sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach, water chestnuts and a packet of seasoning mix, it’s often served in a bread bowl. It's been a party favorite for decades. But before you take a dip at your next soiree, check out what’s perched on the end of your carrot stick:

Original Spinach Dip (the number range reflects two recipes)

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories 80-140
Fat 8-14g
Saturated Fat 2-2.5g
Carbohydrates 3g
Protein 1g
Sugars 1g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 170-200mg
Fiber 0-1g

The worst part is, you probably devour way more than 2 tablespoons. Have no fear, the spinach dip makeover is here. Calories, fat and sodium are slashed, AND my version has a lot more healthy stuff in it. Rich in colorful, fresh ingredients, my dip has a medley of flavors you can’t get from a seasoning packet. In addition to spinach, I add artichoke hearts, pimento-stuffed olives, carrots, scallions, parsley, basil and a little Dijon mustard. I also swap radishes for water chestnuts so you get crunch and a subtle peppery flavor. Enjoy this bountiful dip, loaded with tastes and textures, for a FRACTION of the calories, fat and sodium (just 28 calories in 2 tablespoons!).

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you – most are pantry staples and/or you can swap ingredients you already have handy. You can also add additional vegetables, such as bell peppers, celery and zucchini, and serve the dip in a whole grain bread bowl.

10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove all water

16 ounces light sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1/4 cup minced radishes
1/4 cup chopped pimento-stuffed olives
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped scallions (green and white parts)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Refrigerate 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours) before serving.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (2 tablespoons)
Calories: 28
Total Fat: 1.8 grams
Saturated Fat: Total Carbohydrate: 2 grams
Sugars: 0 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 89 milligrams
Cholesterol: 5 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of "Robin Takes 5" and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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