Here are two foodie truths that you must understand:
First, there is no better appetizer than a warm, gooey, cheesy spinach dip.
Second, said warm, gooey, cheesy dip can be good for you.
Now, I’m sure you’re with me on the first point—but stay with me on the second.
It’s the vitamin K2 found in grass-fed dairy that makes this dip totally worth the calories. Because your teeth are designed to last a lifetime, they have the natural ability to repair and rebuild. But this is only possible if you are getting enough of the necessary nutrients to reverse cavities and prevent future cavity formation.
For many years, researchers thought that vitamins K1 and K2 functioned the same way in the body, and it was only in the 1970s that scientists found out how different they are: K1 controls blood clotting, while K2 is one of the key nutrients responsible for the process of calcification of teeth and bones (along with calcium and vitamins A and D3).
Then in 2008, research revealed that most people are deficient in vitamin K2. K2 helps shepherd calcium into bones and teeth where it’s needed for remineralization, but we’re not getting as much of it via our diets as we need to. (1, 2)
That’s because it’s found mostly in meat and dairy from pasture-raised animals that were allowed to graze on grass that is rich in vitamin K1. Thanks to a naturally-occurring enzyme, cows and chickens are then able to efficiently convert that K1 into vitamin K2. Humans lack this ability, and conventional animal products have much lower levels of K2. That’s why I recommend getting as much of this nutrient into your diet as possible.
Soft cheeses such as gouda and brie offer a healthy dose of vitamin K2 due to the bacteria used to culture them, and other fermented foods offer this same benefit. In fact, natto, a fermented Japanese soybean dish, has more vitamin K2 than any other food. But it is an acquired taste for many people. (3)
If your palate is less than adventurous, you can get plenty of vitamin K2 in this warm smoked gouda spinach dip. The grass-fed butter in this recipe also provides a K2 boost, and there’s plenty of vitamin A and calcium, too. (You’ll get over 80 percent of your daily calcium requirement from just this dish.)
If you’re willing to share, this dip is super kid-friendly and can please a crowd. To squeeze in even more of the foods that boost dental health (and to avoid the ones that don’t), try eating it with celery, carrots, or apple slices, instead of bread or crackers.
Warm Smoked Gouda and Spinach Dip
Certain cheeses like gouda and brie offer a healthy dose of vitamin K2 because of the bacteria used to culture them. There are other fermented foods like the Japanese soybean dish, natto that contains the highest amount of K2 than any other food. Feel free to try it if you are adventurous (it’s known to be a little slimy), or you can stick with more standard ways to make sure your little ones get their K2. This gouda dip is a delicious kid-friendly dip for celery, carrots or apple slices. If you’re lucky enough to come across goat gouda cheese, you’ll be getting extra K2 in because goats are already raised on vitamin K rich grass diets.
- Prep Time: 7 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 serving (small bowl) 1x
- 2 tbsp Butter (grass-fed, divided)
- 1/4 cup Onion (chopped, or better a leek)
- 1 dash Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup Spinach (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup Milk (grass-fed, whole)
- 1 tbsp Arrowroot Powder
- 1 tbsp Water
- 1/4 lb Gouda Cheese (smoked, shredded)
- 2 tsp Salsa Verde (optional, as hot as you can stand)
- On medium-low heat melt 1 teaspoon of the butter and add the onions and salt, cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add rest of butter and stir in spinach, cooking another minute until spinach is wilted.
- Stir in milk and heat for another 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile whisk the arrowroot powder into the water.
- Stir into the milk mixture and add the gouda.
- Stir in the salsa verde and heat until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened, stirring frequently.