Beans can star in more than soups and filling meals like Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice: They also make delicious dips. You’re likely familiar with hummus, with its chickpea and tahini base, or perhaps a Mexican-spice dip with refried beans, but you can use many other types of beans and season them with unexpected flavors for an array of dips.
Because bean dips tend to be simple, the quality of the ingredients has a big impact. I think home-cooked beans taste best and make the smoothest puree, but canned beans can stand in – look for ones without added flavors and little or no salt. Roasted garlic has a mellower, sweeter flavor than freshly minced cloves. These two ingredients form the base for many of my favorite bean dips.
From there, I like to pair cannellini beans with Asian-inspired flavors. A turmeric-heavy curry powder will turn a white bean dip orange. For a less startling color, look for a curry blend featuring cumin, coriander, cayenne and black pepper – or make your own. For ultimate homemade flavor, you can also ferment chiles for scratch-made sriracha. Each fall, I make a batch of this hot sauce using homegrown jalapenos and garlic, and I included my recipe in The Complete Guide to Pickling.
Bean dips sometimes feel grainy and gritty. My solution is to add a bit of yogurt to the mix. It immediately smooths out the texture, making the dip creamy yet not overly rich. The tang of homemade yogurt in particular complements the other flavors. Vegans can leave it out but may not get the smoothest texture.
Of course, a dip needs dippers, and bean dips work best with sturdy ones. Carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, apple wedges and other vegetables and fruit work well. I often serve this dip with Sourdough Pita Bread, freshly made or crisped into chips, or with Adaptable Sourdough Crackers. You’ll find both recipes at TwiceAsTasty.com.
Creamy White Bean and Yogurt Dip
Makes 1-1/2 cups
15-ounce can or 1-1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, undrained
2 cloves roasted garlic
3-4 tablespoons yogurt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Minced cilantro for garnish (optional)
Set a colander over a bowl and drain the beans, reserving about a cup of the liquid.
In a food processor, combine the beans, 1/4 cup of their liquid and the garlic and process until well chopped. Add the yogurt, lime juice, soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil and curry powder and puree to your desired texture. Blend in more bean liquid or water as needed to achieve your desired thickness.
Transfer the dip to a serving container, garnishing with cilantro if desired. Store it in the refrigerator in a lidded container for up to one week.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.
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