The "Invent Your Own" Spinach Dip Recipe

I got it in my head I wanted empanadas. When I lived in Mexico City, there was a little cart that sold empanadas in the middle of the street on Friday and Saturday nights.. They eventually upgraded to a window front store.. but circa 2012, that street cart was where it was at. My favorites in those days were the corn ones (actual ratio of corn to cheese: indeterminable and unimportant) and the spinach ones. Any group setting I'm in, anywhere, where there's spinach dip on the menu, I'm putting a vote in for the spinach and artichoke dip. I add spinach to my smoothies. I buy baby spinach for salads over romaine 90% of the time. I saute it with eggs. I ... (it goes on).
In summary, I like spinach. But I REALLY like spinach dip. Just saying.

As one would guess, Google searching "spinach street empanadas Mexico City Condesa recipe" did not give me answers.

I started daydreaming about what kind of cheeses I'd need to buy. I'd love to tell you I got some fancy stuff, but that would require knowing what to get. I looked at a lot of recipes.. before deciding I would stick with what I knew. And then just wing it.

So, sauteed spinach. Garlic. I think I diced some white onion in there too. Cream cheese, shredded swiss cheese, parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper. And more parmesan. Mix a bunch. Add more garlic powder just because I like it. Then a whole bunch of other seasoning. Mix some more.

Now, up until this point in the recipe, I was eating this stuff with a spoon and feeling no guilt. However, once I started getting ready to make empanadas, I decided it might be worthwhile to throw in some eggwhites to the mix-- Note: I had no idea what that would accomplish, I just know that anytime I've made stuffed chicken breast, the recipes I've used have called for adding egg. Missie and I figured it couldn't hurt. (Yes, I texted her and asked her opinion. I do this with all things.) So, I cracked an egg, whisked it until it looked good and mixed, added some water to thin it (because that's what you do for the egg wash, the coating on top of the pastry dough to make it brown and slightly more flavorful), and poured a little into the dip. In retrospect, this was dumb because then I felt bad about eating the dip raw. Naturally, I was forced to bake enough other things to eat the rest of it throughout the week. #thestruggleisreal

"Invent Your Own" Spinach Dip
(all measurements are made up, and I encourage you to improvise liberally)
  • 1/2 bag of fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • whatever leftover amount of spinach you have in your freezer from the last time you went out of town (can be substituted for the rest of the bag from above)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped and crushed and stuff
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup (or a big handful) of shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, cayenne each
  • 1 tsp salt, pepper, paprika each
  • 1 egg white
Saute the first three ingredients, take away from the heat, mix in the cheese and seasonings. Mix in the egg white (after everything has had a chance to cool - we don't want scrambled egg whites up in this mess). Serve in empanadas, on a pizza, with chips, however you feel like.