Garlic and lemon liven up this healthy appetizer
Appetizers, we love you. Maybe too much. Could you tone down the fat and calories, but keep the flavor?
Voilà – Mediterranean-style white bean dip!
This dish is made with pantry staples, so you can whip up a batch quickly if you have unexpected company. It’s healthy stuff, too, so no one needs to feel guilty.
And you’ll be bikini-ready for your next trip to the Côte d’Azur.
Recipe: Mediterranean White Bean Dip
This dish is a blend of white beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and herb-of-choice (we use parsley, but fresh rosemary or thyme would also work well).
Traditionally, this dish is made in a mortar. The cook first pounds the garlic into pulp with a pestle, then adds the beans and squashes everything to a paste. But we find it easier to use a food processor or blender, so that’s how we make it.
Prep time for this dish is 5 to 10 minutes.
Our recipe calls for one can of white beans, which will serve several people as an appetizer. But it’s easy to double or triple the recipe.
Leftovers keep well for several days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
Oh, and you can also make this dish ahead of time. We think it tastes best at room temperature (or slightly chilled), so take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
- 1 15-ounce can white beans (see Notes)
- 2 garlic cloves (or to taste)
- salt to taste (a few pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- ~6 grinds of black pepper (to taste)
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to taste; see Notes)
- ~¼ cup parsley, plus a bit extra for garnish (or use any fresh herb that you fancy)
- flat bread, crostini, or crackers for dipping
- Open the can of beans and drain them over the sink in a strainer or colander. Rinse the beans to wash off the gunk they’re stored in. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and add it to the bowl of a mini food processor. Whirl until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the beans, along with the salt and pepper. Process until the beans are the consistency you prefer.
- Zest the lemon, then add the zest to the food processor bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice, then add it to the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture. If it’s too dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil and process again.
- Wash the parsley and remove the stems. Add the parsley leaves to the food processor. Process until the mixture is just blended. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary (you can add more lemon juice and olive oil if needed). Scrape the dip onto a plate or bowl, and garnish with a sprig of parsley or some chopped parsley.
- Serve with your dipping instrument of choice – flat bread, crostini, crackers, or whatever you prefer.
- You can substitute cooked dried beans for canned if you have some on hand. Two cups of cooked beans will equal about one 15-ounce can.
- We like to use cannellini beans in this dish, but any white bean (such as Great Northern) will work.
- You could add a bit of red onion or a shallot to this recipe if you want. Or a couple of scallions.
- If you want this dip to taste spicier, a few pinches of cayenne pepper will add some heat.
- You could substitute wine vinegar for lemon juice (although lemon juice combines really well with garlic and parsley).
- If the consistency of this dip seems too thick for your taste, you can thin it with more olive oil (or milk).
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (because the flakes are larger). If you’re substituting regular table salt, start with about half of what we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Bean Us Up, Scotty
“Tasty dish,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Love the hit of lemon in this.”
“Yup, hand me a lemon and I’ll make lemonade,” I said. “Or this dip.”
“That’s using your bean,” said Mrs K R.
“There oughta be a law against these puns,” I said. “Maybe a lemon law.”
“Sorry, bean boy,” said Mrs K R. “That one was a lemon.”
My Mrs K R. She squeezes the day.
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