Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My mom, Nancy, once told me that she thinks the food processor is a “stupid” appliance. She told me it couldn’t do anything that you couldn’t do with a blender so for years I went without one. Then one day I tried to mix up a pie crust in the blender and ended up with a giant mess. Not too long after than I spent about an hour grating a wedge of Parmesan by hand. And then I realized I was never going to be able to make spinach and artichoke dip, one of the only ways I’m willing to eat spinach but absolutely one of my favorite foods, without a food processor so I eventually caved in a got one. I absolutely love my food processor and use it multiple times a week.

Now that I have a food processor I can grate my own Parmesan for this recipe in under 30 seconds and save a bundle over pre-grated cheese and I can finally make a smooth and lovely dip. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise or marinated artichokes so I spent years looking for and refining this recipe (inspired by Everyday Food magazine) before I finally developed this version that I’ll make over and over again.

Scoop out a round of sourdough bread to serve this artichoke dip and I don’t think you can find a food that screams California any more than that.

For best results, thaw your frozen veggies in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before making this dip. If you try to add the frozen veggies straight to the food processor they won’t chop and mix smoothly.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
  • 4 ounces bar cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to your taste)
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach
  1. Add 8 ounces of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add spinach to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining 8 ounces of artichoke hearts to the food processor and pulse 4-5 times so that the artichoke hearts are chopped into bite size pieces and evenly distributed but still chunky.
  4. Serve cold or bake at 425 degrees until bubbly if you’d like a hot dip.

Enjoy with bread, tortilla chips, crackers, or raw veggies.

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Simple black bean and corn salsa.

I learned to do much of my cooking without recipes. Cooking was based on what ingredients were available and one kind of guessed how much of each to use learning by trial and error. I love simple recipes like this where it is easy to remember the ingredients and amounts. Here you just use equal portions of the main ingredients. If you have leftover beans either in the refrigerator or in the freezer, use them. If not, use 1 14 oz. can of beans drained. I prefer frozen corn over canned for its fresher flavor but use what you’ve got on hand. Choose the chilies based on how much heat you want; bell pepper for mild, Anaheim for medium or Jalapeno for hot. Out of season you can use canned chilies. Likewise you can choose the variety of onion based on season or flavor. Use green onions in the spring, later in the year choose red, yellow or white based on your preference. You get the idea. The dressing is equally simple, standard oil and vinegar with only one spice.

Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green chilies
  • 3/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


  • 2 T vinegar
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Chop tomatoes, chilies, onion and cilantro.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  3. Mix dressing in separate bowl, pour over vegetables and toss.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator to allow flavors to combine.