This year I actually made time to attend my support group’s annual Christmas party (not to be confused with the Bariatric Reunion that just occurred a few weeks ago). We’d all been invited to bring a WLS-friendly goodie to share. I offered to bring two. Damn over-achiever in me! (I’ll post the other side dish another day)
Spinach dip isn’t new (although I did take some inspiration from Jen’s Spinach & Bacon Pie for my flavoring). But I always saw room for improvement in this thing. And not just adding Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. There’s room to really amp this thing up! So I played with it and played with it and here’s what I came up with!
Nik’s Snappy Spinach & Bacon Dip
Large acorn squash or pumpkin, hollowed (for serving…hey…it’s better than a bread bowl)
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel cheese)
1 c. unflavored Greek yogurt
1 pkg. dry ranch dip
2 scoops Any Whey unflavored protein powder
6 slices pre-cooked bacon
1 can of spinach (or package frozen spinach, thawed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: I add a few extra shakes of garlic powder…just cuz I like garlic. Your choice though)
In a bowl, cream together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, dry ranch mix and protein powder.
Strain thawed spinach using a colander and heavy duty paper towels. Add to the cheese mixture, along with bacon pieces. Mix very well. In the interest of the new post-ops I’d probably be interacting with, I sorta obliterated mine.
Hollow out your gourd (this is a good thing to do the day before). Scoop out the innards and then sprinkle the insides with salt. Place on a rack and let it drain into a bowl overnight. The next day you’ll have an ocean of water and a relatively dry gourd. Remember to wipe out the excess salt!
Once you’ve done all that and your dip is ready, spoon the mixture into your pumpkin or gourd and refrigerate for an hour or so before serving.
For the 99.9% of you that have more common sense than me…yes you can do this before putting the dip into the gourd!
Now folks always ask me what I use as dippers for these things. Well, I am a carrot fanatic, so that’s my usual choice. I also put out whole-wheat crackers for my support group peeps (cuz we ain’t afraid of no [complex] carbs!). But you can also set out other veggie crudites (some favorites: red bell pepper strips, celery, cauliflower, raw broccoli).
This dip was a hit at the party! I only have a little bit of it left. It was a great time with some really good food. If I can convince my support group peeps to do it, I’d like to share the recipe to some of their party favorites that they brought. Stay tuned.