Almost Vegan Artichoke Dip
What does one do when one receives a huge box full of vegan cheeses and nut chips? Well, if you're me you just stare at said box and wonder what the hell you're going to do with all of that food… and then you panic.
When I agreed to test out and create a recipe utilizing Go Veggie! cheeses and Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins, I thought it would be a breeze, but as I started really thinking about what I could make, I got tunnel vision. Should I go with a pie? A cake? Would my family even eat what I make?
My husband and I disagreed on what should be done with the ingredients, especially when vegan cheese came into the mix. He pretty much threw up his hands and stalked away. Gee, thanks.
After nixing the dessert idea on the grounds that almost every dessert I make from scratch turns out to be a disaster, I settled on making artichoke dip for the Nut-Thins. A cop out you say? Maybe… but I say play to your strengths! My strengths include pork, butter and more pork. Since this was more of a vegetarian/vegan challenge I didn't see much room to inject pork, but caloric intensive food I can do. No prob.
I've never actually had artichoke dip. I was a regular at Freeman's in NYC for many years, and still never tried their famous artichoke dip. Why? Well, because I'm lactose intolerant and gluten-free. They serve their dip with crusty bread, which looks delish, but for obvious reasons not ok for us gluten-free folk.
But hey, now I had vegan cheese to work with so let's go balls to wall right?!
So here's the thing, while I am woefully lactose intolerant, I am an in no way, shape or form a vegetarian or vegan. I use dairy free alternatives because I have to, even though I drink the shit out of Organic Valley lactose-free milk on a daily basis. There just aren't very many lactose-free products on the market aside from a few milk brands and the Lactaid extensions into yogurt, ice cream and cottage cheese.
Ok, but let's face it, the majority of lactose-free alternatives out there are in fact vegetarian or vegan. I was a fan of Go Veggie cheese before I even received a shipment in the mail. I keep their Rice based cheese slices in my fridge all the time for grilled cheese sandwiches or really just any sandwich where I feel like I want cheese. I've had the slices cold and cooked and both options are equally good.
This was my first foray into their vegan products and I was a bit worried because most vegan products tend to suck (sorry vegan folk!) and have either a weird taste or consistency. I got to work on the dip, which was actually very easy to prepare. I started with the cream cheese, which I tasted first. It had a bit of a chalky flavor so I decided not to use too much of it. I am personally a fan of Tofutti cream cheese, which is phenomenal for being dairy-free. I tossed the ingredients into a food processor with tons of garlic and blended everything to a chunky consistency because I wanted to be able to taste the artichoke bits.
I put the mixture into a pie dish (for lack of a better baking vessel) and topped it with gluten-free bread crumbs and a little but more of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese (which was really good by the way).
After it cooked in the oven for a bit I decided it might need more color, so I put more breadcrumbs on top and then broiled it for a few more minutes until it was golden. Voila!
The true test was of course tasting it. My husband and I gathered around the dip with our crackers (and Schar baguettes) and started munching on the dip, scalding our tongues in the process. I have to say the dip was REALLY good. You could not tell it was gluten-free, vegetarian and almost vegan at all. The mixture was cheesy and garlicky with lots of artichoke bits, exactly what you want out of an artichoke dip if you ask me. The Nut-Thins were actually perfect with the dip as they have a nice nutty flavor that played off the rich flavors of everything else.
I would make this again in a heartbeat, but probably for a bigger party since I felt like I ingested about 5 million calories as I couldn't stop myself from eating it… and neither could my husband, which is a feat unto itself since he generally abhors all things vegan/vegetarian.
Want the recipe? Check it out below and share your thoughts with me if you make it!
Almost Vegan Artichoke Dip
- 1 15 oz can artichoke hearts (or whatever medium-ish size you can find)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (you can sub in vegan mayo here)
- 1/4 cup dairy-free cream cheese
- 1/4 cup dairy-free shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/8 cup dairy-free parmesan cheese
- 4 garlic cloves
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1/8 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Add cheeses to a food processor and combine well. Add garlic and artichoke hearts and pulse until combined, but still chunky. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and top with bread crumbs and a little more mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn on the broiler and broil the dip for another 3-5 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with bread, crackers or anything else you like.