Spinach Artichoke Dip Pasta Bake
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Welcome to the Year of the Pig everyone. This is supposed to be MY year. I was gonna have the staycation of a lifetime while finally getting into a good exercise routine, maybe getting in some meditation, and getting rid of all of the stuff we don't need so that feng shui gets a flowin'.
The flu heard my plans and was like, "Hahahaha! You think you get to do what you want? When will you humans learn? I got you, and I got you good. Welcome to he**."
So, needless to say the only exercise I have gotten is the ab exercise from coughing. I guess the good news is that I really haven't eaten much, so who needs an exercise routine? And come to think of it, I spent a lot of time on my back contemplating life, so I guess that could count as mindfulness. Well, look at that. I got what I asked for.
Thankfully, the night before armageddon started in my body I was able to put together a couple of giant pasta bakes, so my boys didn't starve. I was craving something creamy and delicious, but wanted to try and lighten it up by using cauliflower. Plus, I had canned artichoke hearts on hand and I really want to try and use up as many ingredients I have around the house as possible.
The result was a creamy spinach artichoke sauce that works well as a pasta bake sauce or dip for parties. So delicious, filling and comforting. I am so glad my guys had something to eat while I recovered. This recipe makes two casserole dishes worth, so one can be easily frozen for future use. If you have one of those cool pot inserts to steam veggies and boil pasta at the same time, you can save some steps and time!
Dry penne pasta, approximately 400g
One small head of cauliflower
1.5 C of slivered almonds, soaked overnight
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 C coconut milk (substitute with other non-dairy milk if desired)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 C fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2. Cut off leaves and large stem from cauliflower, leaving the reminder of cauliflower in large chunks. Steam until tender.
3. In a large pan, heat a bit of cooking oil. Add garlic and onion and sauté over medium-high heat until translucent, stir frequently to avoid burning. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
4. In a high-powered blender, add steamed cauliflower, almonds, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and tapioca starch. Blend on high until completely smooth.
5. Add mixture to the pan with the garlic and onions and heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until mixture is quite thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add spinach and artichoke to pan and stir, cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Reduce heat as needed so as not to burn and splatter everywhere. Add salt and pepper and add adjust seasoning if desired.
7. Evenly distribute cooked pasta into casserole dishes and top with creamy spinach and artichoke sauce.
8. Bake at 210 degrees C for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned.
I topped one of mine with cherry tomatoes and macadamia ricotta. Worth it!