All these veggies and cheese cried out for some heat. I ended up using red pepper flakes and Peppadews. Peppadews are pickled red peppers from South Africa, hot and sweet and about the size of cherry tomatoes. If you don’t find them in the market, you can swap in pickled cherry peppers or even roasted red peppers. As an added bonus, any of these red peppers will brighten up the dip’s complexion.
The finishing touches? Caramelized onions and garlic. Please take the time to cook the onions slowly, which brings out their natural sugar. It adds a nice depth of flavor to the mix.
Serve this dip with a healthy cracker (just read the label) or make your own pita crisps. To do so, just separate some two-layered pita bread pockets into single layers, spray them lightly with oil, cut them into triangles and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp. Then go ahead and indulge yourself.
HOT AND SPICY ARTICHOKE SPINACH DIP
Start to finish: 55 minutes (35 active)
Makes about 4 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
11/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
13.75-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 ounces Neufchatel (low-fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 3/4 cup grated using a wand-style grater)
1/2 cup medium-chopped mild Peppadew peppers (about 2 ounces) or medium-chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Crackers or low-fat pita crisps, to serve
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
In a medium skillet over medium-low, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.