Mexican Inspired Spinach Dip
This is an excellent appetizer recipe for when you want something unique and impressive, but don’t have time to top 100 little crudites, or stuff delicate pastries all morning! It’s especially fun since everyone will be expecting a standard spin dip, which, granted, is a staple on many appetizer spreads. This dip though kicks up the flavor with the cumin and a dash of cayenne and nutmeg – taking an American staple and giving it a south of the border vibe. The dip itself comes super fast, and then just needs to hang out in the oven for a bit. Since everything goes in the blender, there’s no time consuming chopping to be done either.
This batch makes enough dip for a group of 15 – 20 (or lots of leftovers!), if you’re not going to be having that many people, feel free to halve the recipe, just make sure to decrease the amount of time that the dip is in the oven as well. A good rule of thumb is to temp it, if it’s 140 or higher all the way through, it’s good to go!
Any softer Mexican cheese will work well in this. I personally like to use enchilada cheese, as that melts beautifully, and is already seasoned with smoked paprika. However, if you can’t find that, queso fresco works great, and I’m sure Chihuahua cheese would work well too! To match enchilada cheese’s deep flavor, sprinkle some smoked paprika over the cheese before putting it in the oven.
Standard crackers or baguettes are great for these, but for my last gathering I made thick, crunchy tortilla chips, and they were a huge hit. They also follow the ‘theme’ a bit better!! They are a bit more work though, so feel free to buy a bag of high quality tortilla chips. Make them corn chips to stay gluten free!
This dip can be assembled the day before, covered with foil and kept in the fridge. On the day of the party, stick it in the oven to heat it up and melt the cheese. You may need to cook slightly longer than recommended if the dip has just come out of the fridge. Keep an eye on the temperature to know when it’s done.
- 2 20 oz pkg Frozen Spinach
- 2 Shallots
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1/2 cup Packed Parsley Leaves
- 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1.5 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
- 6 oz Queso Fresco or Enchilada Cheese
- 3/4 cup Sour Cream
- 3/4 cup Mayo
- 2 Scallions sliced thin
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Spray a baking sheet with oil. Slice the shallots in half and place on sheet, cut side down. Peel the garlic and toss on sheet. Core and seed the pepper. Cut into two or three large pieces and lay flat on sheet, skin side up.
Roast veggies until pepper skin has started to blacken and garlic is deep brown (you may have to remove garlic before peppers are done.)
Once red pepper comes out of oven wrap it in plastic for about 10 minutes (I just drop it in a Ziploc bag). After the 10mn is up, remove the pepper and rub the blackened skin off. It's OK if you don't get all of it, but try to get as much as possible off.
Reduce oven temp to 350. Add all the roasted veggies, sour cream, mayo, spices, 2oz of the cheese and herbs to a blender and blend on high until mixture is well combined.
Pour spinach dip into an oven safe dish. Smooth the top and crumble the remaining cheese over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more to thoroughly melt the cheese.
Remove dish from oven and sprinkle sliced scallions over the top. Serve with crackers or a fresh baguette.