Monday, July 12, 2010

White bean dip with pesto

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I'm a big believer in a well-stocked pantry. My husband is ready to nominate me for that "Hoarders" show because of my well-stocked pantry, but then I whip up something like this white bean dip with pesto, and he has to admit that it's actually handy having things like dried white beans around for months at a time. You never know when dried white beans will come in handy, right?

My white beans came in handy for our 4th of July barbecue. We always have a party on the 4th of July because our back deck overlooks Marina del Rey and the South Bay, and we can see fireworks all along the horizon. We also have some daredevil neighbors who light their own Roman candles and such at the bottom of our hill, quite nearby. We turn out all the lights and stand on the deck with our friends, and we just stare. It's an exciting night at our house, and romantic, and just plain magical.

Before that, of course, we ate. And we started with raw veggies and this easy, healthy dip, the most beautiful shade of green you've ever seen. I like the combination of white beans and basil, particularly with a big shot of garlic and a slug of lemon.

White bean dip with pesto
  • 1/2 pound dried white beans (or 2 cans white cannellini beans)
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto (my favorite pesto recipe or purchased)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the dried white beans until they are soft. I don't believe in pre-soaking dried beans, unless I happen to think of it the night before I want to cook them (usually not). You can cook them from dry with no problem; it just takes a little longer than if they'd been soaked.

If you're using canned beans, skip the step above, obviously.

Drain the cooked beans (save the liquid just in case) and put them in the bowl of a food processor with the pesto, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and parsley. Turn on the processor and run it until everything is chopped. With the processor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube; you'll see the texture of the dip change and get creamy-looking. If you get to the end of the 1/3 cup oil and the dip still isn't smooth, add some of the bean liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you're done.

Serve the dip with cut-up vegetables. I used colored bell peppers, cut into square chunks, which make perfect dippers; celery, one of the vegetables my younger son will always eat happily; and raw kohlrabi, thinly sliced, which, if you've never eaten it, is just fabulous - crispy, sweet if you get the smaller bulbs, a tiny bit cabbagey, but in a very good way.


Hilary Cable said...

Pressure cookers were made for a bean recipe like this! It takes 15-20 minutes to cook white beans and the come out sooooo creamy and perfect for crushing and blending. This sounds so good! And so cool and green--my favorite summer color.

Sippity Sup said...

The addition of pesto is quite inspiring. I am always looking for ways to jazz up quick bites like this when we entertain. Of course having that well stocked pantry makes creating this stress free. GREG

Monet said...

I agree...a well-stocked pantry is wonderful! Whenever I get the baking urge (which is often) I always have plenty of supplies to choose from!

Lisa said...

This uniquely delicious recipe is pleasing in so many ways! Gorgeously green for the eyes, flavorful for the palate, and amusing for the soul. Yes, amusing. It was great fun to watch people at an informal weeknight BBQ eagerly dip into this pretty bowl of "it must be guacamole" and then go through facial contortions as they reconciled avocado expectations with beany-pesto actuality...and then their joy in the pursuit of the second dipping!

Erika Kerekes said...

My recipe is amusing for the soul - I love it!

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