Appetizer: Spinach Dip Served in Cucumber Cups

Spinach dip is a classic party appetizer that is rich, creamy and delicious. However, with a base of sour cream and mayonnaise, it’s not exactly figure friendly. I’ve modified the recipe to use fresh spinach and lesser amounts of reduced fat sour cream and mayonnaise. And instead of putting the dip into a hollowed bread bowl, I suggest serving in easily carved cucumber cups.

I came up with the idea of using cucumber cups when I wanted a low-carb appetizer. It popped into my mind again this week as I’m looking for appetizing vegetarian ideas for the GOOD 30 Day Challenge: Go Vegetarian. Last week, I vowed to do the challenge and I’m now looking for all the non-meat inspiration I can get.

At New Year’s this past year, we attended a party thrown by friends of friends, none of whom I had ever met. I didn’t know what people might like and didn’t want anything complicated to eat, so I thought this appetizer would be 1) quick to make, 2) vegetarian-friendly, and 3) easy to eat without utensils.

The cucumber cups filled with spinach dip were a hit!

While I love classic spinach dip, I find that it’s just too laden with fat. I reduced the amounts of sour cream and mayonnaise because I like a thicker dip with a stronger focus on the spinach. The thicker dip is also useful for the cucumber cups, since it won’t spill out of the cup.

Spinach Dip Recipe
adapted from Knorr’s Classic Spinach Dip

1 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Soup mix [dry mix]
1 1/4 cups low-fat sour cream
3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
16 oz. fresh spinach – cooked, squeezed/drained, chopped, and cooled
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and allow to refrigerate for several hours (or overnight). The dehydrated veggies in the soup mix need to rehydrate, so there’s no shortcutting the chilling period.

To create the cucumber cups, I used long English cucumbers which I peeled then sliced into 1-inch rounds. Using a sturdy teaspoon, I carved out the inside flesh of the cucumber rounds, making sure to leave a think bottom in the cup in order to hold in the dip.

I packed the cups and dip in container, then quickly assembled at the party:

People loved the combination of crunchy cucumber with the creamy spinach dip. An, no one realized that I had made the dip with low-fat products. The cucumber cups were also small enough that you could eat it in two bites (or one big bite, like I did).

I have the spinach dip recipe ingredients on my grocery list for this week. You don’t need to be going to party in order to make this dip. I like using the dip as a vegetarian sandwich spread (perfect with sliced tomato) or even tossing the dip with cold pasta for a filling lunch.

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