Your favorite dip turned into protein packed Spinach & Artichoke Chicken meatballs, topped with a lemon garlic sauce that is creamy, dairy-free, and paleo!
One of my favorite things in high school was probably spinach & artichoke dip. If you have read ETG before, you know really any kind of chip and dip is my jam. The creaminess of the dip plus the crunchy and saltiness of the chips…the combo can’t be beat. Well maybe chips and salsa, veggies and hummus, and…well you get my point.
Since store bought spinach & artichoke dip is usually heavy on the fats, I decided to take the veggie parts and add some protein to it. And what better way than meatballs. Balls in the form of meat and spices!
And I discovered the best thing ever. Ground chicken thighs! I am late to the party? You have heard of them before? Oops. I went to Whole Foods the other day to get some more ground chicken and they had chicken breasts and thighs. The thighs were cheaper and since they have more fat in them I figured it would make the meatballs a lot more juicy. And I was right! If you can’t find ground thighs, feel free to use the breasts. I have done both and both are good, but I prefer the thighs.
To make up for the creaminess of the dip, I made a creamy lemon and garlic sauce out of cashews. Not surprised? Yeah me either, they are the best for making sauces! This sauce is the bomb! I paired the meatballs with sweet potato noodles, but feel to use whatever. They would be great with zucchini noodles, regular pasta, or even a salad.
But you guys, remember how the other day how I said my job took a turn and my role was changing. Well turns out everything is fine. I am staying in the same position and will keep doing what I normally do. Pretty pumped since I don’t have to find a new job! That is probably the biggest pain in the butt. Interviews? Yeah, not really my thing. You are pretty much just putting on a show and praying someone will like you. No thanks.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups packed spinach, chopped
- 2 cups frozen artichokes, chopped
- 1½ pounds ground chicken thighs
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and peper to taste
- ½ cup cashews, soaked*
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 head roasted garlic**
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
- salt taste
- Make the sauce. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Place a medium-sized sautée pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onions and sauté for 5 mins until soft and translucent. Add spinach, minced garlic, and artichokes and cook for another 5 minutes, until combined and spinach is cooked down. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
- While mixture is cooling, heat up a large cast iron skillet. Add spinach and artichoke mixture to a bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well and form into into 1 inch sized balls (about 24 meatballs).
- Place in the cast iron and cook for 20 minutes, rotating frequently to evenly brown, until firm to the touch and no pink remains. I did this in two batches to make sure they were not overcrowded.
- Serve with lemon garlic sauce on top of your favorite pasta or salad. Enjoy!
**I roasted my garlic ahead of time. To roast garlic, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the outer layers of the garlic skin off leaving the cloves still attached and chop off the top of the bulb. Place in aluminum foil and drizzle ½ teaspoon olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.