Healthy Recipe, Spanakopita Dip

Triangles of the traditional savory Greek pie known as spanakopita are familiar at fancy cocktail parties. Skip the buttery phyllo pastry and you’ve got the basis for an easy, crowd-pleasing dip that’s actually good for you. For this recipe, adapted from one in “Big Dip Energy,” blend the spinach and feta filling with Greek yogurt and herbs, and serve it hot or cold, with baked pita or bagel chips, raw veggies, or both. Leftovers could be smeared on a bagel, tucked in pita with sliced tomatoes for a sandwich, or even stirred into pasta for a fast, protein-rich meal. Serves 8-10. – Susan Puckett

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more, to taste)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung out in a tea towel
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 ounces feta in brine, crumbled, plus 2 tablespoons of the reserved brine
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 small bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Pita chips, bagel chips, and/or raw vegetables for dipping

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or high-sided skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just starting to turn brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook a minute or so longer, until fragrant. Add 1 more tablespoon of the oil and the spinach and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, feta, crushed red pepper, most of the scallions and herbs (reserve some for garnish), feta brine, and 1 to 2 tablespoons more of the oil, depending on how rich you want it. Stir well.
  4. To serve hot, add the creamy mixture to the spinach mixture in the pan and heat on medium-low until warmed through, about 5 minutes. To serve cold, add the spinach mixture to the creamy mixture in the bowl, mix well, and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s also good at room temperature!)
  5. Garnish with reserved scallions and herbs and serve with dippers of your choice.

Healthy Recipe, Indian Okra

Okra is a staple of the American South: fried, pickled, stirred into gumbos. It’s also the primary component of a popular North Indian dish called bhindi (okra) masala, the inspiration behind this recipe lightly adapted from William Stark Dissen’s “Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes in the New South.” Bursting with bright curry spices and fresh herbs, it’s also loaded with nutrients and fiber. Pair it with rice and a yogurt-based sauce to make a quick vegetarian meal in a bowl. Serves 4.

Cucumber Raita: 

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt to taste

Okra and Tomato Stew:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound okra, stems trimmed and sliced crosswise ½ inch thick
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Jasmine or other white rice and lime wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the raita: In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, cilantro, mint, lime juice, cumin, garam masala, cayenne, and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the stew: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes; cook and stir for a minute more. Add the okra; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  4. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the okra is tender but not mushy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in half the cilantro, lime juice, and garam masala.
  5. Divide the okra among serving bowls and garnish each with a dollop of raita and the remaining cilantro. Serve with rice and lime wedges.

Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.

Tuscan-Style Shrimp with White Beans

This classic Mediterranean combo is as simple and healthy as it is delicious. A green salad and a loaf of crusty bread is all you need to turn this 30-minute one-skillet meal into a company feast. Variations abound; this one is adapted from “Milk Street: Cook What You Have” by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, $35). Serves 4. – Susan Puckett

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 (15 ½-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed of frozen)
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley or basil, or a combination, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in the beans, then add the wine and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Stir in the shrimp and spread out in an even layer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until the shrimp are opaque throughout.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove and discard the rosemary sprig if used. Stir in the herbs, ladle onto plates, and drizzle with a little more oil if desired. Serve warm or room temperature.