This spinach and artichoke sauce is a rich and creamy sauce that pairs perfectly with pasta, rice, fish, or chicken. We’ve taken spinach, and artichokes and cooked them up with a mix of cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese for a decadent dip or sauce.
Every time I make spinach artichoke dip I inevitably end up hoarding some away, hidden from guests, for a solo meal on the couch with a bowl of spinach and artichoke pasta. It’s just so good, I can’t resist.
However, with no plans of having party guests soon, I decided it was time to forgo the dip and dive right into the Spinach Artichoke Sauce.
In this recipe, I decided to forget about the yogurt or mayonnaise you would traditionally find in a spinach artichoke dip and focus on the cheese. This low-carb sauce is cheesy, creamy, and packed with spinach and artichoke.
It's amazing on spaghetti squash and zoodles, but we also love it with protein and veggies. Serve it over some simple pan seared salmon, grilled chicken, or use it as a sauce for this roasted vegetable pasta.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Here are a few reasons why we love this creamy veggie-packed sauce.
- Tastes Rich: Even though this is a lightened-up sauce, it still tastes rich and creamy with tons of cheesy flavor.
- Lightened-up: Traditionally spinach and artichoke sauce and dip are made with mayonnaise and sour cream. This version is lightened up with skim milk and light cream cheese.
- Versatile: Use the sauce on pasta or spaghetti squash. Dollop it on fish or chicken. Or serve it as a warm dip with your favorite crackers, chips, or veggies.
Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps
Here are the ingredients you need to make this dip and a few alternatives.
- Olive oil: I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil but any kind of oil will work.
- Garlic: I like to use fresh minced garlic to get the best fresh flavor. Swap in minced garlic or garlic powder if needed.
- Flour: Flour helps thicken the sauce but if you are following a low-carb diet or are gluten-free you can swap in arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce or simply leave it out.
- Shallot: Shallots have a mild onion flavor that works great with the delicate flavors in the sauce. Swap in red onion or green onions.
- Milk: I used nonfat milk but you can use any kind of dairy milk or alternative milk. Higher-fat milk will create a creamier sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese: Use any kind of freshly grated mozzarella cheese or another cheese that melts well. This sauce would be delicious with cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, or Gouda.
- Cream cheese: I used low-fat cream cheese but regular cream cheese works great as well.
- Spinach: I used frozen defrosted shrimp. Just make sure to drain the spinach well since it has a lot of moisture. You can use fresh if you have some on hand just make sure to saute and cook it down.
- Artichoke hearts: I used frozen, defrosted artichokes and chopped them. Canned and drained artichoke hearts also work.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated is best but you can substitute Gran Padano or Romano if you can’t find Parmesan.
- Salt and pepper: Add salt and pepper to your taste preference. If the sauce tastes bland at all, it likely needs these two things to make the flavors pop.
How To Make Healthy Spinach Artichoke Sauce
Here are the steps to make this healthy sauce.
- Cook the garlic and shallots: Heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic and shallots until they being to soften. Add the flour and stir until the flour begins to brown.
- Add the milk: Stir in the milk and bring to a low simmer. Immediately turn the heat down to low and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Add the cheese: Add the mozzarella and cream cheese. Stir until melted and creamy.
- Add the spinach and artichoke hearts: It is important to make sure the vegetables are drained of any excess moisture otherwise the sauce may break or get watery.
- Cook: Cook the vegetables in the cheese sauce for 3-4 minutes, stirring often until everything is heated tjrough and combined.
- Add the Parmesan cheese: Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Ways To Serve This Spinach and Artichoke Sauce
Here are a few ways we like to eat this spinach and cheese sauce.
- Over pasta: Pour the sauce over any type of pasta or veggie noodles. Then add chicken, shrimp, or fish for a quick meal. It's also great in lasagna or spaghetti squash lasagna boats.
- As a dip: Pull out the crackers, pita bread, chips, or raw vegetables and start dipping. Although this is technically a sauce, it still makes a really great dip.
- Alongside fish or chicken: Make a creamy and cheesy fish or chicken dish. This sauce tastes great on all kinds of proteins.
Storage and Freezing
Here are some tips on how to store and freeze this artichoke sauce.
- Fridge: This spinach and artichoke sauce will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container or mason jar. The flavor continues to develop and tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge
- Freezer: This sauce freezes really well so keep a stash in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw : Defrost overnight in the fridge
- Reheat: Reheat over the stove or in the microwave.
Variations and Recipe Ideas
We think this sauce tastes great as it but here are a few ways to change it up.
- Switch up the cheese: Use flavored cream cheese, try cheddar or monterey jack instead of mozzarella, or use romano cheese instead of parmesan.
- Change the spinach: Try kale or Swiss chard for a change of pace. Just make sure to cook it down before adding it to the sauce.
- Modify the artichokes: Substitute hearts of palm, Jerusalem artichokes, or asparagus.
- Make it spicy: Saute the olive oil with red pepper flakes to make a spicy version of this sauce.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your sauce works out well every time.
- Make sure to buy frozen chopped spinach as opposed to full-leaf spinach. It’s easier to mix it into the rest of the ingredients if it is already chopped.
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge before you begin to prepare this sauce so it has time to soften. It is much easier to work with softened cream cheese.
- Drain the spinach really well or your sauce will end up watery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about this sauce.
Creamy Spinach Artichoke Sauce
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp flour (leave out for low-carb or gluten-free)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- 1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 10 oz frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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