When Kevin and I started dating, we each had “our” sports teams – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for him, the Dallas Mavericks for me. Luckily for both of us, “our” teams were in two different sports (football for him, basketball for me) – otherwise the relationship might not have worked out so well! I sometimes joke that it was in our “marriage contract” that I had to become a Bucs fan, and he had to become a Mavs fan. That deal may or may not have involved a 15-hour trip to Dallas to see Game 4 of the NBA Finals, leaving about 30 minutes margin for error to return to Chicago to take a final exam during Business School… #SOworthit.
That entire story was a long-winded way of saying that we are each die-hard fans of our teams. So, when Fall Sundays (or Thursdays, or Mondays) roll around, you’d better believe that the Bucs are on TV in our house. Long hours of football watching might mean long hours of unhealthy snacking if we’re not careful, so I always try to have some healthy snacks around to allow us to munch guilt-free. Generally, this means veggies and hummus or salsa, cut-up fruit, or some health(ier) cookies. But this past weekend, I had a craving for warm, cheesy, spinach artichoke dip that I just couldn’t shake. I’m all about indulging every once in a while, but the average spinach artichoke dip ordered in a restaurant has 1,600 calories, 100g of fat, and 2,500mg of sodium – that sounded like a bit much! So I set out to create my own healthified version … and I came out with a winner! (Good thing I did, because the Bucs … well, not so much).
Creamy Kale Artichoke Dip
You’ll never know that this warm, cheesy, delicious dip is loaded with protein and veggies! Serve as an appetizer with cut-up veggies or pita chips.
Serves 8 (small portions … if I were making this for a party, I’d probably count on 2 servings per person)
- 2 wedges light Laughing Cow cheese (I used Sundried Tomato & Basil flavor, but I’m sure any of the light flavors will work). Could also use 2 ounces of cream cheese.
- 1 6-oz. carton 0% plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
- 2 tightly-packed cups kale (could sub spinach)
- 1t cumin
- 1t basil
- 1t garlic powder
- 3/4 cup artichoke hearts (I used jarred)
- 2T panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In covered, microwave-safe container, steam kale 1-2 minutes or until tender and wilted.
- Place cheese, yogurt, kale, and spices in food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix). Process until well-combined. You may have to use a spatula to loosen the parts under the blades so it all gets mixed up well.
- Add artichoke hearts to blender or food processor, and pulse until artichoke hearts are in small, well-incorporated bits.
- Spoon mixture into baking dish or dishes. I used 2 16-oz. dishes.
- Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs on top of kale-artichoke mixture.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then broil on high for 2 minutes so panko gets slightly browned.
- Dig in!
Get ready for these stats … for each (small) serving, there are just 38 calories, 1g fat, 5g carbs, and 4g protein. So eat up!
So tell me in the comments … are you a sports fan? What’s your favorite healthier snack to eat while watching sports (or other TV)?