Dig into dip for dinner with this spanakopita-inspired dish

“Big Dip Energy” is more than the cheeky title of food writer Alyse Whitney’s new smile-inducing cookbook. Whitney describes the name as a personality trait where people are drawn to you because you always bring fun and togetherness to the party. I couldn’t agree more — there’s nothing like a dip to lure everybody in and bring elbow-bumping playfulness to the table. The book is peppered with adorable puns and delivers dozens of creative recipes for dips, not just as starters but as “dipsserts” and dinners, too.

This recipe, adapted from what she calls “Spanakopidip” in the Dip for Dinner chapter, immediately caught my eye. I could be accused of being overly enamored with the Greek phyllo pie filling, having used versions of it as a pasta sauce, topping for fish, salad inspiration and more.

But it never occurred to me to turn it into a dip. Now, there is no going back. The traditional flavors — spinach, feta, herbs, scallion and garlic — seem meant to be together in this creamy, yogurt-based snack-for-dinner.

The recipe starts just as the filling would — by sautéing onion and garlic in olive oil, then adding a mound of cooked, chopped spinach. Using frozen spinach that’s been defrosted makes this a cinch — just be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid out of it as possible so the dip doesn’t become watery. (You can save the liquid for a soup or smoothie, if you’d like.)

The dip yogurt base gets a flavor bump from feta, lemon, dill, parsley and scallions, and then you get to choose your own (dip) adventure.

For a hot dip, you stir the yogurt mixture into the spinach in the skillet and let it warm through. For a chilled version, you stir the spinach into the cold yogurt mixture.

Served with pita chips and vegetables, I could certainly make a fun dinner of the flavorful spinach-packed dip, but I’d be willing to share it with friends, too, as it would definitely add a bowlful of “big dip energy” to any party.

• Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian nutritionist and cookbook author who hosts public television’s “Ellie’s Real Good Food.” Learn more at

Spanakopita Dip

This dip has all the flavors of the traditional Greek phyllo pie filling — spinach, feta, herbs and garlic — brought together in a creamy, yogurt-based dip. Served with cut vegetables and pita chips, the dip makes an alluring party appetizer or a playful dinner and is delicious warm or chilled.

Make ahead: The frozen spinach needs to be defrosted before making the dip.

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large yellow onion (12 ounces), diced

6 medium garlic cloves, minced or finely grated

1 (10-ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung out in a towel

¼ teaspoon fine salt

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1¼ cups)

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced at an angle

1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

pita chips and cut fresh vegetables, for serving

In a medium (10-inch) high-sided skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the spinach and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the feta, scallions, yogurt, dill, parsley, water, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.

For a hot dip, add the yogurt mixture to the spinach mixture in the skillet and stir well to combine. Return the skillet to medium-low heat, and heat the dip, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. (For a cold dip, add the spinach mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir well to combine. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate in an airtight container until needed.)

Serve with pita chips and a variety of cut vegetables.

Serves 9 (makes about 3 cups)

Nutrition per serving (1/3 cup): 172 calories, 8g carbohydrates, 20mg cholesterol, 13g fat, 2g fiber, 7g protein, 4g saturated fat, 314mg sodium, 3g sugar

— Adapted from “Big Dip Energy: 88 Parties in a Bowl for Snacking, Dinner, Dessert and Beyond” by Alyse Whitney (William Morrow, 2024).

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