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It’s the Christmas season, and I’m feeling festive. So it just seemed right to make some festive food! This Keto Spinach Artichoke Christmas Tree is all the fun without the carbs! It’s a perfect appetizer for your holiday festivities that everyone will love!
While scrolling through Pinterest, I saw all the super cute Christmas tree themed appetizers and was smitten. But they primarily use canned crescent roll dough.
Not only is canned dough decidedly not keto friendly, it’s full of a lot of junk I wouldn’t want to put in my body regardless.
So I took it upon myself to remake it with whole food ingredients that lowered the carb count significantly.
Keto Spinach Artichoke Christmas Tree
There are two parts to this keto spinach artichoke tree: the spinach artichoke filling and the bread dough encased around it.
The filling is pretty simple. The typical ingredients in spinach artichoke dip are already low carb, so that part was easy. It just involved finding the right measurements and making sure it tastes great.
The dough is one I modified slightly from my Ham & Cheese Crescents recipe. I left out the flax meal and increased the xanthan gum to make it a little bit more pliable and less likely to crack.
Still, keto bread dough doesn’t have gluten, so it’s more fragile than typical dough. I have some tips and tricks to share with you to help mitigate that, so make sure to read that part carefully! I included a lot of photos to help explain.
Spinach Artichoke Filling
The components of our spinach artichoke filling are cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, parmesan, mozzarella, and some black pepper and red pepper flakes.
As always, the higher quality your ingredients are, the better your final product will taste. That being said, use the ingredients you can get.
I use frozen spinach here. It needs to be heated up and then squeezed of as much moisture as possible. Once it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze it in a tea towel or cheesecloth to get out as much liquid as you can.
I use marinated artichoke hearts (I got mine at Trader Joe’s) because I like the extra flavor they provide. But you can also use regular artichoke hearts if you prefer.
I always recommend grating parmesan yourself because the flavor is so much better than the pre-grated stuff. The flavor of mozzarella is similar either way, so I take the easy route and use the pre-shredded kind. Either is fine, just make sure you’re using low-moisture mozzarella, not fresh.
Red pepper flakes are optional, but I like the very slight kick they give. The amount I use isn’t enough for my kids to call it spicy, so don’t be afraid of them!
The dough is a mozzarella-based dough. Mozzarella is melted along with some cream cheese, then mixed in a food processor with an egg, some almond flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, yeast (optional, but helps with flavor) and salt.
You need to roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4″ thickness. My rectangle was about 10″x13″ but it doesn’t have to be exact.
Because of the nature of this dough (not gluten!) you can take parts of the dough and easily move them to help create a rectangle. The dough squishes right back into itself without creating seams.
Trim the edges, and reserve the trimmed pieces for creating the tree trunk.
Ok, the next steps are where it gets a little tricky because the dough is fragile. But don’t worry! It’s totally doable!
First, cut a triangle shape in the dough by starting from the center of one of the short edges and cutting to the corners of the opposite end.
Next, we need to remove the two edge pieces and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. These will create the bottom Christmas tree layer. (See the photo above to get an idea of how this works.)
The best way to do make the transfer is to use a large offset spatula to carefully loosen the dough from the parchment. The dough is sticky, so this is important to help keep it from falling into pieces.
Even with loosening it, the dough will still be fragile. Use the spatula along with your hands to help support the dough as you move it.
The great thing about this dough is that even if it breaks, you can very easily piece it back together and press at the broken seam.
Once you’ve transferred both pieces to the baking sheet, press the center seam together to create the Christmas tree shape.
The Keto Spinach Artichoke Middle
This part is easy. Take all of the spinach artichoke dip and spread it with that same offset spatula into an even layer, going all the way to the edges over the tree base.
Putting on the Top Layer
To put on the top layer of dough, leave it on the parchment. Use the parchment to help you flip the whole thing over on top of the spinach artichoke layer. Then carefully peel off the parchment.
You may have a lot of lines in your dough like mine, just from the way the parchment sometimes bunches up underneath the dough. Don’t worry about that at this point– we’ll fix it up later.
Making the Christmas Tree
The next thing to do is create the tree branches. Cut sections at roughly 1″ intervals. Cut from the edges but leave a thin area at the center intact. Leave a longer piece at the top.
Ok, this is where it gets tricky again. You need to carefully twist these sections.
Because the dough has no gluten, it is very fragile and breaks easily. So go slowly and patiently.
The easiest way to start is to loosen each piece from the parchment using a small offset spatula. You could maybe use a knife here as well, but an offset spatula is ideal because it’s very thin and can go under the dough completely flat.
Once you’ve loosened a section, gently twist it. Twist each section the same direction (I twisted down from the top of the tree.) You won’t be able to twist it a lot. The longer sections at the bottom can get about a twist and a half. The topmost sections can really only get half a twist. Just do as best you can.
Now you can shape the excess dough you trimmed and add the tree trunk to the bottom as well.
This is the point at which you can gently smooth out any lines down the center of the tree with your finger.
Then brush it with a beaten egg white all over, paying special attention to get the center well covered. This will help a lot with even browning.
After that, it’s just baking! This takes about 20-25 minutes to bake, but check it often after the first 15 minutes or so. Almond flour burns easily, so you want to make sure you take it out right when it’s a beautiful golden brown.
It needs to cool for 5-10 minutes before you serve it. If you’d like to move it to a serving platter, I’d suggest two things. First, serve it on something flat. I used a slate cheese board. A pretty cutting board would also work well.
Second, move it to the serving platter on the parchment. Then slide the parchment out from underneath.
After that, all that’s left is to serve to your hungry people!
My kids thought this was super fun. I can’t wait to serve it again at Christmas!
Keto Spinach Artichoke Christmas Tree Appetizer
A fun festive appetizer for your Christmas parties!
Spinach Artichoke Dip
- 4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened
- 3 oz (85g) frozen spinach, cooked and squeezed of moisture
- 4 oz (113g) marinated artichoke hearts
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1/3 cup (30g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (28g) shredded mozzarella
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 oz. (170g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 oz. (28g) cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups (150g) almond flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp yeast (optional, for flavor)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg white, beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for spinach dip with a fork until well combined.
- Make the dough: Melt together mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl for 90 seconds. Stir, microwave for another 30 seconds if necessary.
- Transfer melted cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Add egg and process well until fully incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the dough and process until it comes together. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
- Roll dough into a large rectangle (mine was 10"x13") between two pieces of parchment paper. Trim the edges to make them straight. Reserve trimmed pieces for tree trunk.
- Cut a triangle shape by starting from the center of one of the short ends and cutting to each corner on the opposite side.
- Remove the two smaller triangles from the side of the larger triangle onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing the straight edges together to create a larger triangle like the one remaining.
- Spread spinach dip evenly over the dough on the baking sheet.
- Take the other triangle shape of dough, and use the parchment to help flip it on top of the spinach dip. Carefully peel the parchment away.
- Make cuts from the edge of the tree shape toward the center of the dough at 1" intervals, but leave a small section in the center uncut.
- Carefully twist each section. The shorter sections may only be able to get a half-twist.
- Use the trimmed dough to create a tree trunk.
- Brush beaten egg white over the top of the dough, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Please see post for more detailed tips and tricks!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 307Total Fat: 26.1gSaturated Fat: 8.4gSodium: 760mgCarbohydrates: 8.1gNet Carbohydrates: 5.1gFiber: 3gSugar: 2.3gProtein: 14.3g