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Yogurt, tahini lighten artichoke dip

Most cooks recognize the role yogurt can play in a variety of dips.

Replace some of a dip’s mayonnaise with yogurt to raise the recipe’s health profile and trim fat. But it can be tricky to balance the other flavors, given plain yogurt’s tang. Starting with a strong palette of other seasonings and spices that accent yogurt can help

Classic artichoke dip, often served for the coming season’s gatherings, is worth reinventing for reasons of health and reinvigorating ho-hum menus. This version, courtesy of Tribune News Service, relies on heart-smart olive oil and tahini, rather than loads of mayonnaise and cheese. Lemon juice and garlic lighten artichokes’ inherent richness.

If you can’t find pre-grilled, marinated artichoke hearts, make a double batch of “oven-fried” artichokes, which I shared over the summer, and use the rest in this dish — or freeze the remainder until your occasion arises.

Read more about cooking with plain yogurt in my latest food section column.

Tribune News Service photo

Artichokes a la Baba Ghanoush

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 large garlic cloves

8 ounces store-bought grilled marinated artichoke hearts or quarters, drained, or homemade

roasted

1/4 cup everyday olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt or vegan cashew yogurt (optional)

3 tablespoons well-mixed tahini

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Pita chips, for serving

In bowl of a food processor, combine the lemon juice, cumin and garlic and pulse to break up garlic; let stand for 5 minutes. Add three-quarters (or 6 ounces) of the artichokes, the olive oil, yogurt, if using, and tahini; puree until smooth. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Scrape dip into a shallow bowl and use back of a spoon to spread puree over bottom, creating a raised edge at perimeter. Scatter reserved artichoke quarters over dip then drizzle everything with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature with the pita chips. Store dip in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes 2 cups.