Indian Spinach Dip and Chipotle Bean Dip Recipes

Add a healthy twist to the chip and dip combo for March Madness and beyond
Dip into healthier snack options

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

Dip makes a party. When I was a kid, my mom would whip up onion dip with one of those packages of dried onion soup mix and some sour cream for a perfect potato chip companion. Now that was delicious instant party fare at the time. Chips and dip are still a tasty treat, but dips made from beans, yogurt, and vegetables are real food, and dipping with whole-wheat pitas, crackers, and vegetables can elevate snack-dipping to healthier heights.

In these dip recipes by Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, which appeared in Real Food, we have an Indian-inspired dip made from yogurt and just a little sour cream that mixes with curry spice, spinach, and apples for a fresh take on a creamy dip for naan, pita bread, chips, or veggies. With Asbell’s twist on a protein-packed bean dip, the sweet, smoky flavors of chipotles in adobo add depth and complexity.

Whether you’re hanging out and watching some March Madness games or looking for something to bring to a get-together, you know a dip will always be a hit—so why not add a healthier twist?

Indian Spinach Dip with Apple

Makes 4 servings (2 cups)

In India, there are lovely chutneys and raitas, which are served as condiments. They are so tasty that you might be tempted to simply eat them with a spoon. In this quick and easy Indian-inspired dip, tangy yogurt, savory curry spice and sweet, crunchy apples provide a mouthful of flavors and textures.

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
4 ounces (4 cups) salad spinach
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon curry powder

  1. In a food processor, place the ginger and spinach and secure the lid. Process until all the spinach and ginger are minced. Add the yogurt, sour cream, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice and process, scraping down and repeating to make sure mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl or storage tub and stir in the apples.

Chipotle Bean Dip

Makes 4 to 6 servings (2 cups)

When you open a can of chipotles in adobo, you have a sweet, smoky flavor bomb, full of depth and complexity. Use two of the chilies in this dip, and if it seems mild to you, add some of the adobo sauce, too. You can put the remaining chilies and sauce in a quart-sized freezer bag, spread them flat, and freeze them. Then you can break off a chile whenever you need it, for salsas, chili, marinades, or anything where you need a little smoky heat. The dip is fantastic solo, or in burritos or tostadas, but you have the option of making an old-school layered party dip and loading it up with color, crunch, and creamy sour cream.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 medium chipotle chilies canned in adobo, or to taste
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt

  1. For the dip, drizzle the olive oil in a small sauté pan and place over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. When the onions are soft and golden, scrape them into the food processor bowl. Add the chipotle peppers, drained beans, lime, cumin, and salt. Process until a smooth paste forms, scraping down and repeating as necessary.

Cook’s Note: For a twist on the ever-popular layered dip, spread the bean dip in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Spread 1 cup corn kernels (drained) over the top in an even layer, then 2 large chopped and drained tomatoes, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 large jalapeño (seeded and chopped), and 1 cup sour cream. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves and 1/4 cup pepitas, if desired, just before serving with corn chips.

Nutrition info (per serving)
• Indian Spinach Dip: CALORIES 139 (63 from fat); FAT 7g (sat. 4g); CHOL 20mg; SODIUM 358mg; CARB 12g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 8g
• Chipotle Bean Dip: CALORIES 322 (166 from fat); FAT 19g (sat. 10g); CHOL 47mg; SODIUM 745mg; CARB 28g; FIBER 6g; PROTEIN 13g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.