Your Next Potluck: White Bean and Parsley Dip
I was recently invited to a bocce tournament, and while this article won’t touch on anything really to do with bocce, here’s to friends coming up with new and creative ways to gather in our beautiful community.
The invitation said it was an appetizer potluck. Lately, I have been in a bit of a rut cooking-wise. I just returned from a fabulous trip to New Mexico where I indulged in amazing food from one end of the state to the other. Featuring everything from chile rellenos to tamales to enchiladas and, as my stepson put it, “the best beans and rice on the planet.”
When I returned, I wanted to eat healthier and give my body a break from such rich and filling foods. At the same time, no one wants to eat plain lettuce (especially at a bocce tournament, come on!) so I needed to come up with something quickly.
I wanted to avoid making a hummus, though I was craving some kind of easy and cheap dip that’s also healthy. There’s always a good chance hummus will show up at any potluck (no shade here!) so I decided to whip up this super easy white bean dip. I was glad I could still remember the recipe as it had been several years since I made it!
I’m intentionally leaving the quantities vague as it will depend on how much dip you’re making and how you like it to taste! Heads up: this recipe does require a high-powered blender.
This dip is light, refreshing, and somehow simultaneously satisfying. It would make an excellent addition to any barbeque or your next charcuterie as well!
Take 2 cans of white beans (often called Cannellini or Navy Beans, sometimes White Kidney Beans) and rinse them thoroughly. Add to a blender. In a small skillet, sauté on medium heat: some olive oil, butter, 1-2 finely diced shallots, 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, and crushed red pepper.
When the shallot mixture becomes fragrant and someone in your house says, “what smells so good?” add the shallots and garlic to the bean mixture along with 2ish tablespoons of white wine vinegar
(really, any kind of vinegar would probably do well here, but I’d recommend white wine vinegar), the juice of half a lemon (you can add more later if you want it), and about 1/3 cup of olive oil. Pulse-blend the mixture until it starts to look a bit more like hummus. Taste for salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the canned beans usually have a good deal of sodium. Add more olive oil, vinegar, or lemon juice to taste. I think the lemon juice really brightens things up and the olive oil (while it does add great flavour) is really for, as the chefs like to say, “Mouth Feel” (which is hilarious and yet very apropos term).
Now you’re ready for your fresh herbs. Once you’ve perfected the base flavour of the dip and the texture is creamy, add in a handful (or more, your call!) of fresh parsley to the blender and give it a quick pulse. You don’t want the parsley to make the dip turn completely green.
You could really play around with what you add, though I used parsley because it’s A) cheap and B) delicious. I’ve made this before with basil and I could also see it being pretty tasty with fresh rosemary, but you’ll want to be careful not to add too much. The parsley is nice because it adds a touch of colour and texture to the dip.
Serve this with homemade crostini. To make them perfect every time, cut THIN slices of baguette (I recommend Le Bon Pain’s baguettes, they are perfect!) and then toss in copious amounts of olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay flat on a sheet tray and bake for 7-9 minutes, per side, depending on your oven. I also served with some cucumber slices that were tossed in a light vinaigrette, although they are delicious on their own and don’t really need the dip!