Five-Way Artichoke Dip

Summer is here, and with it comes a season of casual backyard get togethers. My husband Bond and I often invite neighbors over for frozen drinks on the deck while the children run and play in the sprinklers, or meet friends at the pool for hors d’oeuvres and an evening swim.

This time of year it’s good to have a pantry stocked with ingredients that allow you to throw together quick hors d’oeuvres for planned entertaining or unexpected guests.

Hot Artichoke Dip is a favorite, and uses pantry and refrigerator staples of canned artichokes, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and Tabasco sauce. But the dip isn’t limited to this usual combination, below are three variations which offer new twists on this classic.

The dip can take a Mexican turn when cheddar cheese stands in for the Parmesan and a can of diced green chiles are added to the mixture. Or, it can become a bit more elegant with the addition of crab meat. Some chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed well, along with a bit of cream cheese offer another variation.

The basic dip also can be served chilled. Simply mash the artichokes well with a fork and decrease the amount of mayonnaise to one-half cup. Keep a few boxes of assorted crackers and corn chips on the shelf and you’ll be ready for a spur-of-the-moment get together any time of year.

  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
  •  1 cup regular or lowfat mayonnaise
  •  6 to 8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  •  Dash Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients and place in a small baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve with plain crackers.

Variation 1: Chile Cheese Artichoke Dip
Substitute shredded cheddar cheese for the Parmesan and add a 4-ounce can of diced green chiles. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

Variation 2: Crab and Artichoke Dip
Prepare standard recipe adding:

  • 1 2-ounce jar chopped pimentos, drained
  • 8 ounces crab meat, picked over
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles

Combine all ingredients and pour into baking dish. Top with 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds and serve with pita triangles or plain crackers

Variation 3: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Prepare standard recipe adding 1 10-ounce packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed and 3 ounces of softened cream cheese. Serve with tortilla chips or plain crackers.

Variation 4: Cold Artichoke Dip
Prepare standard recipe, decreasing mayonnaise to 1/2 cup and mashing artichokes well with a fork. Chill before serving with crackers.