Delicious Dairy-Free Spinach-Artichoke Dip - Part 1

Remember our little family-owned churchy music market that I talked about in my healthy shopping post?  Well, sometimes when we’re running our errands, Gv falls asleep in the car and we will do anything not to wake her in that situation, because Gv hates to ride in the car, and will often scream the entire trip.  

So one of us (usually me, in case she wakes up hungry) will wait in the car with her while the other one runs in to make the purchases.  This can be veeery interesting for me when we stop at the churchy-music market, because I never know what gems G will discover in the $1 bag section…whatever he finds will surely become my new cooking experiment, because I’ll have to figure out something to do with it - and quick - since the food is usually on the verge of going bad.  Bitter melon, anyone?  Yup, not a lot of experience cooking that, I can tell you.  But I now know precisely what to do with it when it winds up in the surprise bag.

One particular day, the surprise bag held 4 artichokes.  Whole, fresh, artichokes.  Artichokes that I had no clue what to do with since they didn’t come already prepared as hearts in a can or a jar.  And did I mention that we were going out of town in a couple days, so I had to deal with these things in the midst of packing and organizing the car…

G looked up how to cook them – we just stuck them in the toaster oven for I don’t remember how long and then we shoved the whole thing – Corningware dish and all – in the freezer, to be forgotten about for months and months and months…

Seriously, this was before Gv came along, so that means a long time.

Fast-forward to this past weekend, when we decided we needed to finally get around to investigating what was lurking in the depths of the freezer ... so we’d have more room for salmon – No! Not more salmon! – for homemade bulk items, like tomato sauce and guacamole.  Anyway, we open the freezer and discover, behind a pair of shoes (gum on the shoes, so G stuck them in the freezer ... made sense to him … I immediately made him remove the shoes, with promises to pick out the gum myself) that forgotten, icy Corningware dish full of cooked artichokes.

“Make something with these!” G enthusiastically suggested, plunking the dish down on the counter, despite the wary look on my face.

After looking online for a bit, we’d finally decided to just use them for a dip and of course all I could think of was some yummy spinach-artichoke dip.  The only problem with this idea was that G didn’t want any cheese (he’s allergic to dairy and while that doesn’t usually stop him from eating some anyway, he’d had a horrible sinus headache days before, which he knew was from overdosing on cheese, so he was trying to stay dairy-free for a few days) and, um, how many dips can you think of that don’t have cream cheese or some other cheese as a base?  Or at least spinach artichoke dip?  Yes, I know, hummus and guacamole and black bean dip and there are others, but it seems like when you look up recipes for dip, they always begin, “take 8 oz of cream cheese…” and as G says, you can add cheese to just about anything and make it good, so in his mind, dips with cheese are completely unoriginal.

So now I’m on the hunt online for dairy-free spinach artichoke dip and I can’t find one anywhere.  I try Googling the dip along with “healthy,” “no-cheese,” “dairy-free,” and it seems like they all still have cheese.  Less cheese, sure, but still cheese.  I found a couple of tofu options, but for the most part, we try and stay away from tofu and all its estrogen.  I got really excited when I found some options using avocados, but we didn’t have any at the moment and I have a hard time having an avocado in the house and not turning it into some tasty guacamole.

Finally, I found something new.  A recipe that called for cashews and milk, so off I went to create a new dip masterpiece.  

Although we do keep cashews in the house, they are way too expensive to get lost in some dip, so I decided to use some almonds instead.  The milk was an easy substitute for us, since we only have almond milk in the house anyway (with the exception of powdered milk for a cheaper option to a few recipes).  

I didn’t really pay much attention to the other ingredients, because I’d just been looking for something to use as a base besides cheese.