This Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip is ultra creamy, indulgent, and comforting. It’s just as decadent and delicious as a classic spinach artichoke dip and undetectably vegan.
It has so much flavor and the perfect balance of creamy richness and tang thanks to blended cashews, sautéed shallots and garlic, lemon, artichokes, and fresh spinach.
The scooped bread from the bread bowl gets put to use as well. Once toasted, they’re perfect for dunking in the hot cheesy dip.
Bring this showstopping bread bowl dip to your next party or holiday dinner and you’re guaranteed to be the most popular person in the room!
Table of Contents:
1. Why this recipe works
2. Ingredient notes
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. What to serve with this recipe
6. Frequently Asked Questions
7. Recipe card with notes
Why this recipe works
Creamy and indulgent comfort food.
This spinach and artichoke dip looks, tastes, and feels so close to the real thing. The only giveaway is that, unlike the classic dairy-rich recipe with cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and mozzarella, you won’t feel weighed down after several scoops of this dip.
It’s super lush texture comes from blended raw cashews, which lend a creamy and thick body. Lemon zest and juice add a bright but subtle pop of tang, just like the classic recipe made with cream cheese.
And every bite is packed with cozy and warm flavors. Sautéing shallots and garlic gives it a subtly sweet and savory base, while a generous amount of nutritional yeast and some vegan parmesan add the requisite cheesy flavor.
And if you’re skeptical that cashews can replicate a spinach artichoke dip’s cheesy creaminess, just know that we did test this recipe with vegan cream cheese and we actually preferred the flavor and texture of the cashew-based version.
A bread bowl dip = king of dips.
A creamy dip baked in a sourdough bread bowl?? I literally don’t know anyone who could walk past such an irresistible appetizer without taking a bite.
A bread bowl is the perfect vessel for warm dips like this. The middle is scooped out, then torn into pieces and toasted. These mini “croutons” become golden brown and are perfect for dipping (plus, minimal food waste)!
Do you have gluten-free guests coming to the holiday party? No worries.
The dip is easy to bake in an ovenproof skillet, cast iron skillet, or baking dish instead. I’ve included more detailed instructions in the FAQ section and the recipe card.
Perfect for any occasion!
This is a party snack not to be missed, especially when it’s served in a bread bowl. Keep it in your back pocket for Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving dinners, Christmas and holiday parties, Super Bowl parties, and year-round get-togethers.
PS: if you’re looking for more crowd pleasing dips, check out my roundup of 30 delicious vegan dips here!
Cashews. Blended and soaked cashews give the dip a rich body and velvety smooth texture. Raw, unsalted cashews are a must, as they swell up and creamify (roasted cashews don’t, plus they have a distinct taste).
Bonus: No need to soak the cashews overnight, either!
Nutritional yeast. A good amount gives the dip its classic savory flavor and subtle cheesiness.
Lemon zest + juice. The dip wouldn’t be nearly as balanced or bright without fresh lemon juice and zest.
Tapioca starch. Sometimes labeled as tapioca flour. It’s a key ingredient in many gooey vegan cheese recipes like my Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese because it adds a thick, stretchy texture, just like real melted cheese.
I first learned of tapioca starch’s melty powers from my friend Michaela of Ela Vegan. She posted this crazy cool vegan cheese sauce recipe a few years ago that uses tapioca starch. When the tapioca reacts to the heat, it helps the sauce stretch very similar to traditional cheese!
You should be able to find tapioca starch in well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, or online.
Substitute: We haven’t tried this, but several readers have used arrowroot flour with good results, as well as cornstarch.
Artichokes. Canned artichoke hearts are a must in this dip. Buy pre-quartered ones if you can, or cut whole hearts into quarters. To tone down their raw bitter flavor, the artichokes are quickly cooked with the aromatics.
Baby Spinach. Unlike frozen spinach, fresh baby spinach doesn’t need to be thawed, drained, and pressed, so you save on prep time. And unlike mature spinach, baby spinach is already pre-washed. Just toss it in the skillet, wait for it to wilt, and you’re done!
Substitute: While we preferred the texture of fresh baby spinach, frozen spinach worked well in our tests. Use one 8-10 ounce package.
Vegan parmesan: Adds those savory cheesy notes you expect in a spinach artichoke dip. If you can’t find it, skip it. Consider using slightly more nutritional yeast.
Tips: Our favorite vegan parm brand is Follow Your Heart!
Substitute: If you can’t find vegan parm, omit it. It’s still good without it! Consider adding a bit more nutritional yeast.
Bread bowl. Once you bake hot spinach dip in a bread bowl, you’ll never go back. It’s the ultimate vessel for this crowd-pleasing appetizer.
The bread that’s scooped out of the middle is torn into bite-sized pieces and baked at the same time as the dip in the oven. Once golden brown and crispy, they’re the perfect toasty bread dippers.
You can buy a large sourdough bread boule at many bakeries and the bakery section of major grocery stores. And if you’re a bread baker, use this recipe from Food and Wine for guidance if you’re up for the challenge.
Start by soaking the cashews in boiling water while you prepare the other ingredients.
Hollow out the bread bowl. Slice off the top of the sourdough boule and use the knife to cut a circle around the middle.
Tip: Is it your first time cutting a bread bowl? Head to the Tips section to learn how to do it like a pro.
Scoop out the bread in the center and tear it into bite-sized crouton pieces; tear the bread top into pieces as well (or save as a covering for the dip).
Make the cashew cream. Transfer the soaked, drained cashews to a high-powered blender. Add the water, nutritional yeast, lemon zest and juice, salt, and black pepper and blend until very smooth.
Taste and add more lemon juice/zest, nutritional yeast, or salt as needed. Once it’s to your liking, add the tapioca starch and blend again.
Saute the aromatics and vegetables. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Once warm, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until they’re fragrant, then add the artichokes and red pepper flakes.
Next, add a handful or two of spinach and cook until the leaves are wilted. Repeat until all of the spinach is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Pour the cashew cream mixture into the pan and stir constantly for a minute. Keep cooking for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened and creamy. To finish, stir in the vegan parmesan, if using.
Season the bread pieces. Toss the torn bread pieces with olive oil and salt. Spread them in an even layer on a sheet pan.
Assemble and bake. Pour the dip into the hollowed bread bowl on a sheet pan.
Place the sheet pan with the bread pieces on the bottom rack of the oven, and the bread bowl on the upper rack. Bake until the bread is toasted and golden, and the dip is gooey and bubbly.
Broil. For a golden brown top, broil the dip for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, as the bread bowl can burn easily. Don’t broil the bread pieces!
Let the dip cool for a few minutes, then serve with the toasted bread for dipping. Enjoy!
Tips for making this recipe
How to cut a bread bowl.
The video below of my culinary assistant Hannah shows you how to cut a round loaf of bread into a bread bowl. It’s really easy!
I recommend ripping the bread from the middle of the bowl with your hands rather than cutting it with a knife into cubes.
One, it’s a little easier, and two, the toasted bread pieces have more surface area so they end up with a crispier texture.
Tip: Do not cut through the sides of the bread bowl! Otherwise, your gooey, creamy dip will leak out.
PS: If you can’t find a large boule, you can split this dip between two smaller boules / round loaves.
Blend the cashews really well.
You want to blend the cashews on high speed preferably with a high-powered blender to pulverize every piece.
Taste BEFORE the tapioca.
Adjust the seasonings in the cashew cream before you add the tapioca starch. After you blend it in, the tapioca will add a chalky taste, making the flavors harder to adjust (this chalkiness goes away after baking).
Leftovers are delicious.
Depending on the size of your bread bowl, you may have a little extra spinach artichoke dip that won’t fit in the bowl (don’t overstuff it to avoid a messy oven).
Fret not because it is delicious spread on toast with beans for lunch, on toasted crostini for a quick appetizer, or even in a spinach artichoke grilled cheese or panini sandwich!
What to serve with this recipe
- Surround this crowd-pleasing dip with the toasted bread pieces, hearty crackers, pretzels, chips, pita bread, or even vegan naan. For something lighter, serve with crudités at your party.
- Serve it with plenty of chips and even more savory dips for a festive party, like my Lemony White Bean Dip or Cheesy Buffalo Cauliflower Dip.
- It would be an eye-catching centerpiece at your Thanksgiving or Christmas party, especially when paired with more crowd pleasing appetizers, like Vegan Nachos or Gobi Manchurian.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can bake the dip in an ovenproof skillet or baking dish if you don’t want to use the sourdough bread bowl.
In step 4, use a large ovenproof frying pan. I used an 11-inch cast iron skillet with great results, but you’ll want to cook the cheese filling for just 3 minutes total instead of 5 minutes because it thickens quicker in cast iron.
Bake the dip in the skillet at 375FºF for 15 minutes. In step 8, if desired, broil the dip but for longer, 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown in spots.
Don’t forget to buy crackers or make croutons/crostini for dipping.
You can buy a large sourdough bread boule at many bakeries and the bakery section of major grocery stores like Whole Foods. And if you’re a bread baker, use this recipe from Food and Wine for guidance if you’re up for the challenge.
The dip is naturally gluten free, but the bread bowl is not. To make this appetizer fully gluten free, either use the instructions right above or in the recipe card to bake it in a skillet instead.
Yes, you can prepare steps 1 through 5 in the recipe ahead of time. Once the cooked dip is cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
Just before serving, transfer it to your scooped out bread bowl and bake. Or, transfer to your oven-safe skillet and bake.
The leftover dip can be scooped out of the bread bowl and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend leaving it in the bread bowl because the bread becomes soggy after less than a day.
To freeze, store the leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe container or sealable bags. The texture will change slightly when thawed but is still good.
Great news: spinach and artichoke dip is delicious when served fresh out of the oven or after chilling for a few days in the fridge. Just don’t chill the dip when it’s still in the bread bowl because you’ll end up with soggy bread.
If you love this Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip as much as we do, please rate and review the recipe with your feedback below! It’s always very much appreciated :)
- 1 1/3 cups (185g) raw cashews
- 1 sourdough boule or round country loaf (at least 10 inches in diameter) (Note *1)
- 2 cups (480 mL) water
- ⅓ cup (28g) nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest + 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (Note *2)
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup (30g) tapioca starch (Note *3)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or more olive oil)
- 2 medium shallots, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a subtle kick)
- 2 (14-ounce/400g) cans of quartered artichokes, drained and rinsed (quarter if using whole artichokes)
- 8 to 10 ounces (230 to 285g) of baby spinach (or frozen spinach, Note *4)
- ⅓ cup to ½ cup (40 to 60g) vegan parmesan (Note *5)
- Toasted bread pieces from the bread bowl leftovers
- Crackers or crudites of choice for dipping (Note *6)
- Cover cashews with boiling water for 10 minutes (or longer) while you prep everything else. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Arrange one oven rack on the 2nd rack and one oven rack in the bottom (if not making the bread bowl, just one rack in the middle).
- Slice off the top of the bread/boule. Using a knife, cut around the inside of the bread, but don’t cut through the sides. Scoop out the center of the bread using your hands. Use your hands to tear the bread into pieces about the size of croutons (or you can slice the bread into cubes); do the same with the top of the bread, or keep as a cover for the dip (handy if you're traveling with the dip).
- Make the cashew cream. Drain and rinse the cashews. Add to a high-powered blender with the water, nutritional yeast, lemon zest and juice, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Blend on high speed for a few minutes until thoroughly blended and all cashew bits have been pulverized. Taste, adding more salt or nutritional yeast as desired. Now add the tapioca starch and blend again (it may taste chalky but it will cook off).
- In a 12-inch nonstick frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once warmed, add the shallots and garlic and cook until golden and aromatic but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and, if using, red pepper flakes, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a few handfuls of spinach, cook until wilted, and repeat with the rest of the spinach, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Pour in the cashew cream mixture, stirring constantly, for a minute. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer runny and the mixture is thickened and creamy. Turn off the heat. Stir in the parmesan, if using. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed (I typically don’t need to add any).
- Toss the torn or cubed bread pieces with some olive oil and season with salt (as if you were making croutons). Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan.
- Place the hollowed out bread bowl on a second rimmed sheet pan. Transfer the dip into the hollowed out cavity and fill to the top but don’t overfill (Note *7). Transfer the pan with the bread pieces to the bottom rack and the bread bowl dip to the upper rack. Bake both for 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven.
- Optional: For a golden brown top, preheat your broiler for a few minutes (if you have a medium setting, use that). Add the bread bowl dip to the 2nd rack below the heat source (not directly underneath) and broil for just 1 to 2 minutes until bubbly and golden on top, keeping a close eye so the outer rim of the bread doesn’t burn.
- Cool for a few minutes. Use the toasted bread pieces and/or crackers for dipping.
Recipe: Nisha Vora / Rainbow Plant Life | Photography: Megan Morello