It’s Getting to be a Habit
Avocados, artichoke hearts, baby spinach, lemon, garlic, and a bit of red pepper combine to make a tasty treat or a light lunch. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)
I love avocados, but I got out of the habit of buying them because I could never master the knack of letting them ripen properly. I always ate them too early and they were hard and tasteless. Or, I waited too long and they were mushy and brown.
That’s changed for two reasons.
The first is that my local Stop & Shop is now stocking these little bags of cute mini-avocados from Mission Produce. They come about 8 to 10 to a bag, and each one is equivalent to about half of a full-sized avocado. The minis usually are in various stages of ripeness, with some ready to eat immediately and others just about to ripen into perfection.
The second reason is a fabulous recipe I got from my friend Robin Brace. She found it in Love Real Food: More than 100 Feel Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Sense and Nourish the Body by Kathryne Taylor of the website Cookie + Kate. She lent me the book and when I opened it, it opened right to the page for this recipe, that’s how often she’s made it.
The recipe calls for avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, baby spinach, and artichoke hearts. I know. That all sounds so healthy. But I’m serious. It’s delicious.
Of course, never content to let well enough alone, I tinkered with the recipe while making it many, many times. My favorite way to make it this week is to use one large or two small avocados, the juice and zest from one large lemon, a diced shallot (and sometimes one clove of garlic, too), red pepper flakes or Aleppo-style pepper flakes (the latter have a bit less heat but more flavor), about a handful of baby spinach, and instead of the marinated artichokes, I use a 15-ounce can of brine-packed artichoke hearts, drained and well rinsed. I roughly chop the avocado and artichokes, and cut up the spinach into a chiffonade (like thin ribbons), then mix everything together so it’s a chunky dip. Sometimes it makes it onto bread or crackers. Other times I eat it right out of the bowl.
The original recipe, a version of which is included here, will give you a smoother texture, making it more of a spread.
Either way, if you love artichoke and avocado as much as Robin and I do, try it. But be forewarned, it’s habit-forming.
Addictive Artichoke Avocado Dip
Adapted from a recipe in
Love Real Food: More than 100 Feel Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Sense and Nourish the Body
by Kathryne Taylor
1 large or 2 small avocados about
½ pound total, halved, peeled, pitted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or more if needed
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups packed baby spinach
(about 1 ½ ounces)
½ cup well-drained marinated artichokes
from 5-ounce jar
Using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, and several twists of black pepper.
Blend until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary.
Add the spinach and artichokes and pulse until they are roughly chopped, 15 to 20 times, pausing to scrape down the sides if necessary.
Season to taste with additional salt or lemon juice, if needed.
Transfer to a small serving bowl. Serve with bread, crackers, vegetables, or just eat it right out of the bowl.
To store the dip, firmly press plastic wrap against the surface to prevent it from browning, and store it in an air-tight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three or four days.