Today's post was written by Tali Wee who currently lives in Seattle and blogs about life in the northwest. She owns Wee Picket Fences where she writes about being a new homeowner, bargain hunter, a dairy-free foodie and DIY enthusiast. Tali works at Zillow where she handles the community outreach for Charlotte, NC. She enjoys family, food, travel, writing and spending time on projects around the house.
Thanks Tali for posting!
In my family, food is the most common topic of conversation and is usually the reason for gathering together. We are all healthy, but we appreciate eating dynamic meals and tasting new foods. In high school I discovered that I had an allergy to a few random foods, but primarily dairy. Unfortunately, it’s not lactose intolerance where popping a Lactaid pill will provide me the enzyme to enjoy a bowl of ice cream. Luckily though, my diet restrictions are fairly common, and there are grocery aisles full of dairy-free ingredients and numerous blogs packed with flavorful recipes and substitution tips. The toughest part of transitioning to a dairy-free diet was convincing my family that dairy-free dishes can actually taste just as delicious as their full dairy versions.
Since becoming dairy-free, I began testing out recipe substitutions on my friends, family and co-workers. The trick is to offer the dishes without divulging the allergy details. Truthfully, ‘dairy-free’ and ‘gluten-free’ don’t make non-allergic people’s mouths water! It’s such a fun challenge to swap around ingredients to make the dishes safe for everyone in the group. Plus, I feel much safer making dishes myself as many people don’t understand the ins and outs of food allergies. Fortunately, I have such a food-focused family they try their hands at allergy-safe dishes when we get together.
One tough course for the dairy-challenged is the appetizer. Many popular hors d'oeuvres include cheese as a main ingredient. For this Spicy Artichoke Dip recipe, I simply eliminate the cheese. I don’t recommend this approach for all dip recipes because it can negatively alter the overall texture. This recipe holds up consistency with additional veggies and reduced moisture. Enjoy this dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan appetizer at your next gathering.
This recipe is super easy to make on the fly because the ingredients can sit on the shelf for a last-minute dish, and the prep takes just 5 minutes. With only 5 ingredients, it couldn't be any easier!
Remember, the dip is spicy! So, if you’re not a fan of the heat, use just half of the jalapenos and be sure to drain the juice from the chiles to eliminate some extra moisture. Another good swap is to toss in some spinach. Use about a cup of chopped, frozen spinach, but be sure to thaw it and squeeze out the moisture before incorporating. This recipe is difficult to screw up since the natural flavors of the artichoke and green chiles are bold enough to mask any bland additions like onions, spinach or whatever your mind might be adding as you read. I promise this appetizer will be a hit.
To assemble, simply drain and chop (if needed) all of the canned ingredients and then combine them with the chopped onion and vegenaise. This recipe could be easily adapted to be paleo with the use of a paleo-approved mayonnaise. Pour the mixture into a 7x11-inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
The final product is a flavorful, creamy dip that can be eaten with crackers, chips, or veggies.
Having food allergies myself makes me more aware of the diet restrictions of people around me, and I believe it makes more dynamic in the kitchen. Sure it can be uncomfortable to be the center of attention at restaurants when I order crazy substitutions. But on the bright side, it’s empowering to take control of my health, and I’m fortunate to be able to eat tons of fresh ingredients. Because of my diet restrictions, I’ve learned to manipulate recipes successfully and share those discoveries with friends around me.
Allergy-free Spicy Artichoke Dip
(from Tali Wee at Wee Picket Fences)
- (2) 13.75 oz. cans Napoleon brand* quartered artichoke hearts
- 4 oz. can La Victoria brand* fire roasted diced jalapenos
- 4 oz. can La Victoria brand* fire-roasted diced green chiles
- 1/2 c Vegenaise
- 1/2 c diced sweet onion (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Drain the artichokes thoroughly then roughly chop.
- Drain the diced jalapenos and combine with artichokes and diced green chiles.
- Dice half of a sweet onion and add it to the other ingredients. I prefer this flavor addition, but the onion is optional.
- Stir the vegenaise into the other ingredients until incorporated.
- Bake uncovered for 15 minutes
- Remove and let rest for 10 minutes to cool and firm. Serve with rice crackers, cucumber chips or celery sticks.