You can serve this warm and creamy dip as an hors d’oeuvres for any occasion, but I’ve found it is always appreciated at a cocktail party. A creamy cashew sauce takes the place of cream cheese or grated cheese in this dish. Instead of traditional baguette, make this a lot healthier by serving it with fresh raw vegetables, toasted grain-free blender bread, or store-bought sweet potato or taro chips.
Make-ahead tip: Prepare the dip up to 2 days in advance, wrap it tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking, about 1 hour.
Swap idea: For those who can tolerate dairy and want a more traditional cheesy dip, substitute 1 pound cream cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream for the cashews, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
- 1/2 cup (about 70 grams) whole raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel bulb
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1¼ pounds baby spinach
- Two 14-ounce cans water-packed artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Fresh raw vegetables, such as carrots, endive, green beans, or thinly sliced radishes, for serving
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Soak them for 1 hour, then drain and rinse. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the ghee in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent and aromatic.
Combine the cashews with the water in a blender. Add the sautéed onion mixture, salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, vinegar, and cayenne and blend until very smooth and thick. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Pour the spinach into a colander and apply pressure to the top with a towel to remove all of the liquid. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
Drain the artichoke hearts and reserve the leaves from two hearts. Chop the rest of the hearts and add them to the cashew sauce along with the spinach and mayonnaise. Mix until combined. Place the dip in a 3-quart round baking dish and lay the reserved artichoke leaves on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling on the sides and browned on top. Serve with the raw vegetables.
Reprinted with permission from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.