Did you know that white beans are one of the best vegetable sources for protein? For sustainable eating and greater economy, cook a pot of white beans and refrigerate them to use in this and other dishes. All you have to do is soak them overnight in cold water, drain and rinse, add cold water to pot, and boil for an hour or two, until tender. Do not add salt until beans are tender or almost tender (after they have cooked for about an hour or so), as doing so earlier will cause the beans to be tough. The right amount of water is at least two sections of your finger above the top of the beans in the pot. You don't need to measure with a measuring cup, as you can just drain the water out after the beans are cooked. If you use too little water, the beans might be a little tough. Remember that some of the water will evaporate. You can do other things while the beans are boiling, so it really is not time-consuming, although some people will look at the cooking time and become intimidated. Don't be! Earlier this week, I boiled a pot of white beans and used them for a salad, a soup, and the dip or spread, below. Remember, you don't need to cook them the same day you are eating them, so even if you are working all day, you can cook dried beans. Soak them all day and them cook them in the evening for use the next day, if you can't cook them during the day. The beans taste even better if you add an onion and piece of sweet pepper while they are boiling. If you do this, discard the vegetables after you cook the beans. If you are not a vegetarian, a smoked ham hock also adds flavor. Like the salt, do not add this to the beans until they have been boiling for about an hour, as the salt from the ham hock will toughen the beans.
White Bean Dip or Spread
This recipe can be used as a spread on bread or crackers, or a dip for veggies. It is a tasty, sustainable, wholesome snack or appetizer. You can also use it instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich with cold cuts, cheese, or vegetables.
1 cup cooked white beans
1 garlic clove
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp walnut oil
½ tsp sea salt
4 pinches dried rosemary leaves
1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Chop garlic clove in food processor. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, and process until smooth. Transfer into small serving bowl. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top for garnish, if desired.