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
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.