You’ll be the star of any party by serving this cheesy spinach cob loaf (or creamy spinach dip in a bread bowl). It’s endlessly popular, easy to prep, and uses simple ingredients (plus, this version uses no mayo).
There’s nothing quite like presenting creamy, bubbling, cheesy dip in a crispy bread bowl at a party. I don’t know why (well, I do really, it’s cheesy dip in a bread bowl) – but everyone gets very excited and starts to crowd around the table.
From what I’ve gathered from living overseas, a cheesy cob loaf (aka. any manner of dips in a bread bowl) seems to be an Australian/New Zealand thing, so it joins the list of Aussie/Kiwi food that REALLY should be more popular all over the world (I’m looking at you mince and cheese pies..!)
Plus, it’s easy to prep ahead and is a fab way to bring new life to stale bread.
- Spinach. I’m using fresh spinach (I like baby spinach leaves), but you can absolutely use frozen spinach – you can either defrost it straight in the pan (pop a lid on to speed things up), or defrost in the microwave first.
- Cream cheese. Low-fat cream cheese is fine here, and you could replace half of it with sour cream.
- Greek yogurt. I love the subtle tang this brings to the dip – it helps to cut through the richness of the cheese and cream cheese. Make sure you use full-fat, thick Greek yogurt. Low-fat versions tend to split and curdle when they’re heated, which will impact the texture of the dip (it will taste great, but just look a bit off).
- Sour cream. This is optional – it gives the dip an extra creamy layer, but it’s delicious enough with just the cream cheese and yogurt.
- Cheese. I love the mix of mozzarella for the oozy stretch factor and strong cheddar for flavour. Play around with the combination if you like – you could swap cheddar for gruyere, manchego, parmesan, blue cheese or anything else with a good, strong flavour.
- Bread. Any round loaf will do – I love using sourdough.
I love to add a little lemon zest right at the end too, it freshens things up and helps to cut through the cheese, but this is optional.
How to make it
Slice the top of your bread off, and scoop out the middle to leave a deep cavity. Cut the scooped-out bread into little chunks, then arrange on a lined oven tray and drizzle with olive oil.
Cook down your spinach with garlic, salt and chilli flakes, until the spinach has wilted and the water has evaporated. Add the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream if you’re using it, mozzarella, cheddar and lemon zest, and stir as the cheeses melt into the dip. Transfer the dip into your bread bowl, then scatter with more mozzarella and chilli flakes and bake until golden, crispy and bubbling.
Got a question?
You can make the spinach dip up to 3 days ahead of time, but don’t put it in the bread bowl and bake it until you’re ready to serve.
Yes, you can. You can either add it straight into the pan and pop a lid on (this will defrost it by steaming it), or defrost it in the microwave first. Just make sure the water evaporates as you’re cooking it on the stovetop (you don’t want a sad, watery dip).
I like to add about 1/2 cup of chopped artichoke hearts (from a jar), to turn this into a classic spinach and artichoke dip, or you could mix through basil pesto, sundried tomato pesto, chopped sundried tomatoes or marinated olives. If you’re not worried about this being vegetarian, cook streaky bacon or diced chorizo in the pan first, until super crispy, then remove from the pan and continue with the recipe, adding it back into the dip after you’ve mixed in the cheeses.