If there’s one restaurant that I’m obsessed with, it’s Hillstones (which used to be Houston’s). There aren’t many left in the U.S., but I know all of the dishes like the back of my hand – including this one! They have a spinach & artichoke appetizer that is incredible. But as I do, I recreated this dish in my own kitchen, healthier and allergy-friendly. This brings me back to childhood memories when my mom used to make this dip for a dinner party and we’d eat it up before the guests arrived.


  • 2 packages of fresh spinach (Substitute: use 2 x 10 oz packages of chopped, frozen spinach)
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced + 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1 jar of Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 can of water chestnuts, diced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (Substitute, use regular plain yogurt with at least 2% fat OR plain, dairy-free yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup mayo (Substitute: you can use vegan mayo, or sour cream, OR can be omitted if you are not into mayo)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • *1 medium carrot finely grated (if you like carrots in your spinach dip)
  • * If serving hot, can add grated cheese, or vegan cheese as a healthier option


  • Wash the spinach in a colander. If using frozen spinach, defrost it for at least 8 hours or overnight. You can also use the defrost setting on your microwave but take it slow. You don’t want the spinach cooking.
  • Use your hands to squeeze as much water out as possible and then transfer the spinach to a medium bowl and set it aside.
  • Preheat a non-stick pan or skillet on medium heat and add a swirl of olive oil to coat.
  • Add the onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and carrots; sauté for approximately 5 minutes until translucent. Make sure to stir occasionally.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl with spinach along with the artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, yogurt, mayo, salt, and pepper.
    • Note: Add as many water chestnuts as your palate desires.
  • Stir well to mix. Add the grated garlic to taste.
  • I recommend that you put this in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors marinate. Everything’s better when it has time to marinate! Then serve either serve it cold or warm it up in the toaster oven/oven for 10 minutes.
    • Note: Sometimes I add grated cheese on top to melt when I want to serve this hot. Vegan cheese works out great too!
  • Enjoy with veggies or your favorite crackers. I love the healthy options from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Make ahead and store: You can place the dip into an airtight container for up to 3 days.