Friday, April 17, 2009

Snack Well

Long ago there was an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that would serve a lovely basket of bread and crisps, accompanied by a luscious white bean spread. Normally, I'd be none too pleased about the lack of butter, but this spread was so creamy and flavorful I almost didn't miss it. Almost.

The restaurant has long since closed and while I've had every intention of recreating that dip, lo these many years, I somehow never got around to it. Our Friday snack programs seems like a good time to revisit the white bean.

While I set out to create something a bit more Italian in flavor, I soon realized that I had a rather large and forlorn can of tahini waiting patiently in my fridge ... so in it went. I suppose the result is something rather akin to hummus - and I know its really delicious.

Herbed White Bean Spread:

  • one 15.5 can small white beans, rinsed and drained (I used low-sodium)
  • 1 large clove or garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lemon (about 2 tbsp.)
  • zest of one lemon, minced
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup, tightly packed, fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of good quality cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • some paprika and good quality olive oil for garnish
Combine the beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest and 2 tbsp. of water in the bowl of your food processor. Process and pulse on high until well combined. Add the parsley, chives, salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin. Process on high, streaming in a bit of olive oil, about a tablespoon, until well combined and creamy.

Remove to a serving bowl, garnish with a dusting of paprika and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Serve with a variety of crudite, whole grain crackers and or whole wheat pita chips. Enjoy!

Use your judgment with respect to the water and olive oil additions. They are included to thin the dip a bit and your need for them will largely depend on your own preference.

Big fan of roasted garlic? Then feel free to use it in place of the raw clove. Fending off a pack of vampires? Go right ahead and add another clove of raw garlic. The choice is up to you. Ditto for the cumin and cayenne. Flavor this dip according to your desires and I assure you it will be magnificent either way.

I can think of a myriad of applications for the finished spread. It would be outstanding as part of a healthy, veggie sandwich, or equally good when used in place of butter on some crusty bread. I hope you'll try it.

Bon appetit!


Anonymous said...

This white bean spread sounds awesome! I will definitely try it!

Tracy said...

Yum, sounds like a great spread... easy, healthy and delicious!

Anonymous said...

This is a bomb spread for sandwiches! It's really so good.

Christo Gonzales said...

I love this! what I didnt love was going to a bistro in SOHO
a few years ago and paying 12 bucks for a couple pieces of 'beans on toast'..we have joked about it ever since!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, 5 Star! I'm really pleased with it. Hope you'll like it too. :)

Tracy - you're right on all three counts. A perfect snack.

Duo - good and good for you! lol

doggy - I know just what you mean. Fortunately its made for a few laughs for you ... though so much better to make your own. Wonder how much of this stuff you could make for $12?! Buckets full no doubt.

Unknown said...

Hmm, I have one of those forlorn cans of tahini in my pantry too. I had some plans for it, but sometimes I forget what my plans were. Senior moment i guess.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Heavenly Housewife - that's the thing about tahini ... it comes in a great honkin' can, yet most recipes only call for a tablespoon. Bah.

Stay tuned though, I'm working on a cookie recipe using up that forlorn tahini ... if it works out, I'll post it next week!

Astra Libris said...

Ooooh, this looks SO yummy!! I can't wait to try the roasted garlic version!! :-)

P.S. I just wrote a post bragging about your Irish Soda Bread... :-)

The Diva on a Diet said...

Aw, Astra, aren't you sweet! I'm running off to check it out now. Thanks, friend, you've made my day. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

I have everything but the tahini . . . I love butter but this is something else entirely! Forget the veggies, though - I'm not that good. I want a nice loaf of freshly baked bread to tear into and dip!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tangled Noodle, you could certainly make the dip without the tahini. Obviously, the flavor will be different, but I imagine it would be equally good. If you do, let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

Veriance said...

I have a recipe almost exactly like this that I used to make for The Boy, before he realized it was "ew, beans!" such a tasty thing to eat!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Veri - I think we know a couple of grown-ups who are of the "ew, beans" variety! LOL S'ok, more for us!

Pam said...

I love white bean dip, it looks creamy and delicious.

Deb said...

I never met a bean or bean dip I didn't like and this one is no exception. I too have that forlorn can of tahini and look forward to a cookie that could use it up. BTW - does tahini unopened go "bad"?


Michele said...

you already know that I've admitted that I could eat an entire bowl of this stuff!! Yum! Just give me a plate of sliced cucumbers and fresh pitas and I'll be in heaven all day.

the wicked noodle said...

This looks easy and delicious!

Mom said...

I love dip! I could probably eat my own head smothered in dip.

Anonymous said...

Diva, I am linking your blog to a new list on

"Cooks worth listening to"

I'll leave the link on NR II as well


Anonymous said...

Oh my... my mouth is watering already! That looks incredible.

Thanks for the Italian recipe... Italian's my favorite, but it's so hard to find good Italian dining in Houston, so I make it myself. Now I have another delicious idea. :)

Kyle Smith said...

Nice article! I think so many people could use to read this. You should look at posting it on They have really good searching capabilities and you can link your page to their website. It's really easy to find similar articles and they have graphs so you can track how many people are reading and using your info.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, all, for the lovely comments! I agree, white bean dip is a definite favorite around here. A snack you can enjoy and feel good about eating. :)

Deb - good question about the unopened tahini ... and I actually don't know the answer. I suppose if you open it and the oil smell off you'd know. I'll google and see what I find out.

Argentum - thank you SO much! I appreciate that!

Kimizzy - I'll bet it is hard to find good Italian in Houston. Sad, but you're right - you can make it yourself!

Kyle Smith - thanks so much for that tip. I've never been to Wacanai ... but I will definitely check it out. Thank you! :)

Daily Spud said...

Yum, yum, yum. The most recent issue I have with tahini is that I've found myself eating it straight from the jar. I should really just go and put it in something like this spread, rather than putting it directly in my mouth, lol!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Daily Spud - I rather surprised at the number of people who take their tahini straight. I love it mixed into things, but not on its own.

Karen at the Cape said...

Loved this...(found link through Casual Kitchen)...a double batch at a family picnic was devoured in no time. We were sad not to have leftovers, but will make it again soon.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Karen - you made my day! Thank you SO much, I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it!

Thanks to Dan at Casual Kitchen for the shout-out as well! :)