Recipe: Spinach-and-Vidalia Dip

This crudité spread is perfect for a casual Easter gathering.

Photo: Greg Dupree

If you can chop an onion you can assemble this party-perfect appetizer.

If your Easter potluck plans have you searching at the last minute for a quick and easy party appetizer, consider this Spinach and Vidalia Dip. A fresh twist on the traditional baked spinach dip, this recipe feels and tastes a bit lighter. Just right for warm spring days, this dip isn’t loaded down with the ooey-gooey (but delicious!) cheese we love on the baked version. While the hostess is putting the finishing touches on the Easter ham, the guests can appease their hunger pains without spoiling their appetites by munching on crunchy vegetables and a dollop of this flavorful but not-heavy dip.

You can make this a couple of hours before the party or even the day before – so whether you need a last minute appetizer or you have time to play in the kitchen, this recipe is the right choice. It is also extremely easy to assemble; chopping the onions is the most work you will have to do. Melt some butter and let the onions cook down for about 30 minutes, add spinach and stir until its wilted, then let the mixture cool for 30 more. So in that time you can prepare an Easter dessert, help your children with a school project, or catch up on a rerun of Law and Order. After the onion and spinach mixture has cooled, stir in the remaining ingredients and chill the dip until you are ready to serve.

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This appetizer, like our favorite springtime sheet cakes, is convenient to make ahead and transport. Store the dip in a plastic bowl with a locking lid, and cut the vegetables in advance and keep them airtight in a zip-top baggie. When you head out to the party, take along all the plastic containers as well as a pretty serving tray and a bowl for the dip, then assemble the tray before the festivities.

While this dip is ideal served with potato chips and a vegetable medley, use your imagination and come up with other serving options, i.e. spread it over crostini and top with crumbled bacon.