Creamy spinach dip seasoned with garlic is also a low-fat, low-salt appetizer perfect for entertaining anytime of the year.
Though, it is especially popular during the holiday season being a heart-healthy alternative to the traditional cheese spreads.
The low-fat ricotta cheese provides a creamy, satisfying texture, while the garlic and spinach are loaded with nutrients that benefit the heart.
The powerful compounds in garlic have been known to help combat illnesses such as the common cold and many chronic health conditions. This includes the heart. Garlic has shown to help improve cholesterol levels as well (1); along with lowering blood pressure (2).
nutrient loaded spinach containing magnesium and potassium helps lower blood
pressure. Also, the protein in the spinach
leaves possesses anti-hypertension properties that may help to control blood
pressure levels (3). Spinach, as with
the garlic, may also help lower cholesterol levels.
The recipe (shown below) is quick, easy and consists of a few simple, healthy ingredients. The creamy consistency of the low-fat ricotta cheese also makes it easy to spread on crackers, garlic bread and/or other healthy home-made breads.
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-3½ cups fresh spinach (approx. 2½ oz.), chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
sea salt, to taste (optional)
black pepper, to taste
carrot strips, curled - for garnish, if desired
In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the oil (half) and all the garlic. Sautéing on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes or until very light brown. Next, add the freshly chopped spinach. Drizzle with remaining oil and sauté on low heat for an additional 12-15 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and spinach mixture. Season to taste with sea salt (optional) and black pepper. Then place in shallow baking dish or dishes and bake at 425°F until the top is light golden brown, approximately 12 minutes.
Garnish with curled carrot strips if desired.
Makes 24-26 (1 tablespoon sized) toppings.
This quick and easy recipe can be made in advance of a party or event, since it stores well. It can be made up to three days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
For more heart-healthy appetizers, click here.
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