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White beans are deliciously creamy, extremely versatile and can be made into tasty protein-rich meals or snacks in minutes. When using white beans or any other canned beans, be sure to drain off the liquid in the can, rinse them a couple of times and then drain them well. These steps will remove any flavors the beans have absorbed from the can and give you the perfect base for any of these recipes. In general I like to use cannellini beans for their larger size and creamy interior but navy beans will also work well.
Creamy White Bean Rosemary Dip
Makes 1¼ cups (serves 4)
Light, creamy and incredibly tasty, this dip goes with more than just crudites. Try it as a filling for sandwiches, spread over crackers or as a topping for simple grains.
In the bowl of a food processor add 1 can drained and rinsed beans, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 clove garlic, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, scrape sides and blend again.
White Beans with Garlic and Chili
Serves 4 as a side dish
This flavorful dish is a great topping for crostini or crackers and also adds interest when served over simple salads, grains or greens. ( Here I used navy beans.)
Warm 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and simmer until golden. Stir in a large pinch of red chile flakes and add ½ can drained and rinsed beans. Remove from heat and season with sea salt.
Beans and Greens
Serves 4 as a side dish
This dish is delicious served simply with a drizzle of olive oil or made into a soup by adding extra water. Use any greens that are in season: kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens — or a combination — will all do nicely.
Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet and add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 chopped leek. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes and then add 2 cups chopped greens, ½ cup water and 1 can drained and rinsed beans. Bring up to a simmer and cook until greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
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