In any American-fare sit-down restaurant, you’re liable to find an appetizer section. Appetizer sections can be at once familiar and exotic, with everything from simple onion rings to strangely stuffed mushrooms.
Spinach and artichoke dip is a popular appetizer offering, and it’s a strange one indeed. No one seems to know where it came from, although the theory is that recipes for it showed up on the packaging for various products in the 1950s and 1960s, maybe either Hellman’s mayonnaise or Lipton dry soup mixes. Regardless, it became a popular dinner food during that time because, among other advantages, it could be eaten in front of the TV.
There are plenty of ways to get your hands on the dip, including making it yourself. But if you want convenience, many stores also sell it. One of them is Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s distant relative.
Trader Joe’s Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip can be found in the frozen section of your local Trader Joe’s. It comes in a small box and currently costs $2.99 for an 8.8-ounce portion. Inside, you’ll find a frozen brick of dip sealed inside shrink-wrapped plastic, just like the French onion soup that both Trader Joe’s and Aldi sell. The box states that it is a product of Canada.
Making it is easy, although you should be warned that the only instructions on the box are for the microwave. You simply remove the brick from the plastic, place it in a microwave-safe container (be sure the cheese is on top), cook on high for 2 1/2 minutes, stir the cheese into the rest of the mix, cook for 2 more minutes or until the center of the dip is at least 162 degrees, then stir and serve.
Our family loved it. It lasted only one meal, lost to a succession of tortilla chips and crackers. I thought it tasted like the stuff I get in restaurants, from the spinach down to the cheese. It wasn’t too salty, like some dips, The texture, too, was better than I expected, with decent (not overbearing) chunks of spinach and artichokes in there.
While you can make the dip yourself, this isn’t a bad option if you need speed and convenience. It comes frozen, so it can keep for a long time, and it can go from freezer to table in about 5 minutes. We really liked the taste and texture, too.