I am not your typical three course dinner type of girl.
Growing up, my mother employed the ‘three squares’ strategy for meals. You know the one I’m talking about: the kind which includes a protein, a vegetable, and a starch or grain. People call them macros these days. Mom just called them food.
Despite all her efforts, I rarely ate the fruits of her labor, not in their full shining and splendid glory. Most nights I turned down her protein of choice, either outright, or by sneaking it to the dog or stashing it in a napkin somewhere. Casseroles were always risky business too since food touching was a big no-no for me. Vegetables weren’t so bad as long as they were smothered in cheese sauce, and I’d happily consume the starch when it came in potato or biscuit form, both of which promptly got a big ol’ pat of butter.
Now that I’m older and wiser (darts eyes to the left), I appreciate my mother’s efforts, although when it comes to the actual meal, not much has actually changed. I target the veggies and starch, completely ignoring the entrée. Thankfully she makes lots of sides. I, on the other hand, do not.
Instead, I make some rather unusual choices when left to fend for myself.
Case in point: this Artichoke, Cheese & White Bean Dip.
Most people would consider this an appetizer or a lovely addition to any party; you want to bring this to a party. Not me though. I look at it and I see an easy and appealing main course. It’s all my sides tossed into one bowl and baked with cheese. Thank god, I got over my fear of foods touching.
With a side of crackers and crudités, I had this for dinner and even a lunch or two on more occasions than I’d care to share. Recipe testing certainly has its perks.
To be clear, this is a lightened up version of classic hot Artichoke Cheese Dip. The best part though: you won’t even notice. In fact, it tastes just as sinful, if not more so, than the original. Instead of being packed with mayonnaise*, it’s made with a base of blended white beans, Greek yogurt and tahini, all of which make it extra creamy while incorporating a plethora of protein. The artichokes and seasonings, along with the melted gouda and mozzarella round out this dish perfectly, making it a full meal, in my eyes anyway.
A final note: this recipe is ridiculously good, so I really want you to make it. My coworkers, even those who don’t like vegetables or artichokes, gave it rave reviews. Also, you’ll want to whip up a double batch and save a cup or two for a special treat coming next week.
Indulge me, and I promise not to disappoint you.
- 4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
- 4 ounces Gouda, shredded
- 1/4 cup Onion, diced
- 2 cloves of Garlic, diced
- 1 15 ounce can of White Beans, drained and rinsed.
- 3/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. Tahini
- 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 3/4 tsp. Dry Mustard
- 3/4 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Hot Sauce of choice
- 15 ounces quartered Artichokes, marinated in oil, drained although not rinsed.
- 1 Green Onion, white and green parts, diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Since we're pulling out the food processor* for this recipe, you might as well start by shredding your cheese in it. Once done, tap your freshly shredded cheese out of the processor and into a greased 1 and 1/2 quart casserole dish.
- Next use the food processor to dice your onions and garlic and then tap those into the casserole dish as well.
- Add your white beans to the food processor and mix until creamy, scraping down sides as necessary. Add Greek yogurt and tahini and pulse until incorporated. Empty contents of the food processor into the casserole dish with the cheese, onion and garlic.
- Add all the seasonings to the casserole dish from the nutmeg to the hot sauce. Add the artichokes and stir all the ingredients together until well combined.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Remove from oven, top with diced green onion and serve hot alongside some veggies and crackers.
- *No food processor, no problem. You can shred the cheese and cut your onions the old school way, and use a hand mixer to puree the white beans.
Do you eat a standard three course dinner? Or does anything fly in your house? What does your typical evening meal look like?