A few years ago, before I began graduate school, I was a waitress at a busy bar in Wrigleyville called Vines. The place was meant to be a more upscale sports bar for the area, and boasted higher-end beers alongside a pretty good wine selection. Their food, though, was the surprise. Most places in the area are fast food, greasy spoons, or serve very typical pub food. There is a joke in food service that once you work at a restaurant, you’ll never eat there again. This was not the case with Vines, and I still go back and treat myself to a few things off of their menu. My hands-down favorite, though, is their spinach artichoke dip. I have tried “spin dip” at dozens of restaurants, but I have never found one as delicious.
Before I left the restaurant, I made the chef give me his recipe. Although he didn’t have measurements for me to use (because they make it in huge batches, obviously) I did get a list of the ingredients. My first attempt at making it, however, was not very successful. Neither was my second, third, or fourth. It just didn’t taste right, or like the real thing. I kept getting the ratios of ingredients off. It has been a few years, but I have finally gotten the measurements right! This is a creamy, cheesy spinach artichoke dip. It is different from many I’m sure you’ve had or have seen before, but believe me, the taste is unreal.
**Note, most of this recipe is in oz, rather than cups or normal baking measurements. I’m calling it the rule of 1/2’s, as the majority of these ingredients (except for the whole can of artichoke hearts) were half of a standard purchase size.
One 14 oz can of Artichoke Hearts (drained and finely diced)
Half of a can of spinach (drained). You can use fresh or frozen spinach also, but for this recipe I’ve used canned.
8 oz of shredded mozzarella (I used part-skim, but you can use regular)
4 oz of grated parmesan cheese. I used the cheap brand, but were I to do it again I’d use the good deli parm.
4 oz of cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
One teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pitas or tortilla chips. I cut whole-wheat pitas into 1/6ths and baked them for a few minutes to make them crispy.
This recipe is so easy. Once you’ve got all of your ingredients, and you’ve drained and diced your artichokes and drained your spinach, throw everything into an oven-safe baking/casserole dish. Mix it around a little bit (which will be kind of difficult in this state, so don’t worry if it isn’t fully mixed). Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
At this point, everything in your dish should have begun to melt. Give it a big stir, mixing everything as thoroughly as you can. Serve as is, or spoon it into smaller dishes. Serve warm with pitas, pita chips, or tortilla chips.