Lemon Garlic White Bean Dip & Pita Chips

Need an appetizer idea for Superbowl Sunday? This smooth Lemon Garlic White Bean dip whips up quickly in the food processor (or blender) and packs a whollop of flavor due to the soft cannelli beans, the garlic and lemon, and of course the hot peppers.

Lemon Garlic White Bean Dip

White bean dip flavored with garlic, lemon, and a kick from pimientos (or jalapenos)

You can serve the dip with chips or crackers, but I prefer to use pita crisps, which you can make easily and for far less than the cost of a bag of chips. Just cut pitas into wedges, brush with a bit of oil, and season with your choice of flavors. Bake for a few minutes. That’s it! Easy peasy.

Oh, one more tidbit about the dip: it tastes fantastic spread onto toast and suffices quite nicely as a quick snack between meals.

Lemon Garlic White Bean Dip

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannelli beans, drained and rinsed (cannelli beans also go by Northern Beans or white beans)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest (from one medium-large lemon)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimiento (I used 1/2 of a pickled jalapeno instead, finely diced + 1/2 tsp. of the jalapeno pickling juice)
  • 2 tbsp. minced parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (I used Himalayan Pink salt)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, zest, lemon juice, and oil; blend until very smooth.
  2. Place in a small bowl, then stir in pimientos, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  3. Serve at room temperature with pita crisps, tortilla chips, or crackers.

SOURCE: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

Pita Chips

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package pita bread (about 8 pitas), white or wheat
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper into a small bowl. Stir to thoroughly  mix. Using pastry brush, spread mixture onto both sides of each pita.
  2. Stack pita bread, then use a large knife to cut pitas into 6-8 wedges. Arrange wedges in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, though!

Spicy Refried Beans (Stovetop or Crockpot)

Homemade refried beans–easy, easy, easy! Basically, just dump pinto beans into a pot and simmer in water for a few hours, then add a few spices and salt and voila!

Seriously, it’s that easy.

Okay, so you have to blend it, too. Still easy.

The beans taste quite bland until enough salt is added, so don’t ignore this ingredient. However, add it gradually until the desired taste to suit your buds.

I sauteed finely chopped onions and minced garlic to enhance flavor in addition to the salt. I also sprinkled on some cumin and added some red pepper and paprika to kick up the spiciness. Next time I make this I might try simmering in chicken or veggie stock to see how that impacts the flavor.

Originally, I made this in the summer for the Mexican-themed party we had. Simmering 5 cups of beans makes waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much refried beans for 15 guests! Guess what we ate for days and days and days…

I did go for variety, though, by making a batch of 7-layer dip, tostadas, and refried bean taquitos with the mega leftovers. And I even packed some of it in a Ziploc bag and froze it, which tasted just fine once thawed. Now that was a happy discovery, for it means I can still make large batches and freeze most of it for later use.

Spicy Refried Beans (Stovetop or Crockpot)

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 3 quarts water (9 cups for crock pot method)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste (use 5 tsp. for crock pot method)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the dried beans in water, making sure to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Add beans to a Dutch oven or large pot and cover with water–about 4 inches above the beans.
  3. Cook the beans for 2 1/2 hours by bringing the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered. Check periodically to make sure water isn’t completely absorbed; otherwise, beans will burn. For crock pot, combine all ingredients and cook on high for 8 hours.
  4. Once beans are cooked, drain and reserve excess water.
  5. In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions along with the red pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin for about 5 minutes. Add to drained beans along with 1 cup of the reserved water. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend beans until desired consistency, adding more water as needed.
  6. Season with salt as needed (unless you included salt in the crock pot). It will take 2 or more tbsp.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings: diced tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole…

Yield: about 6 cups

SOURCE: adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking and The Curvy Carrot and Real Mom Kitchen

Bean & Veggie Soup–Quick and Easy

Scratchy throat + runny nose + pounding head = miserable way to end the school year, especially during finals week when I had about 165 essays to read!

Driving home, all I could envision was a piping hot bowl of soup–any kind of soup would do, as long as I had a bowl of nutritious goods to heal my aching body and get me through grading finals. And something that I could quickly whip up (other than soup from a can).

Luckily, I had chopped up onion and diced chile leftover in the fridge, along with a bit of chicken. I then enlisted hubby’s help to chop up carrots, celery, and zucchini while I opened and rinsed cans of various beans found in the pantry. After tossing in a few spices (I just used the same spice ratios as the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe we love), we had a robust, healthy pot of soup ready in minutes.

BEAN & VEGGIE SOUP

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup (or more) of diced, cooked chicken (cook and flavor it any way you like)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, stir onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and pepper until spices are fragrant, about one minute.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.

SOURCE: adapted from the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe