Recipe of the Week: White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic and Herbs

Well, I'm on a semi-vacation this week. We're enjoying a week in beautiful San Diego, CA. We've enjoyed time at the beach, at the San Diego Zoo, at the Birch Aquarium, at Petco Park watching the Padres, seeing the seals (and having a great lunch with a view at Georges Ocean Terrace) in La Jolla, and a few other great activities. Oh, and overnight there ws even a 5.2 earthquake felt here in San Diego. The COMPLETE California experience! So, while I'm taking it easy a little I thought I should share a recipe that takes it easy as well. How about an easy, simple (yet still tasty!) recipe? So, in that spirit I chose White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic and Herbs from the Naturally Ella blog as the Recipe of the Week this week.

The actual recipe probably won't take you more than maybe 5 minutes or so to whip up. But one thing that could take a little time in advance is roasting the 5-6 cloves of garlic the recipe uses. Erin suggests roasting a bulb of garlic by trimming the top off the the head of garlic (by cutting across the top), rubbing with olive oil, roasting face down in a 400˚ oven for 30 minutes, turning it over and roasting for about 10 more (until it's soft).

I love how this recipe uses fresh herbs - 3 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley and two tablespoons each of dill and chives. This is a great combination of flavors.

To make this dip, break out your large food processor. Pulse to mince the garlic cloves. Add the herbs and pulse a few more times to mince them also. Put in two cups of white cannelini beans (rinse and drain them if you are using the canned ones), 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice. Then you just run the food processor until your dip is smooth. You can add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice to get just the right texture and taste you like. Then add salt to taste. That's it! A fast, easy, and delicious dip! Serve it with pita (perhaps toasted?), crackers, or toasted bread. I could also imagine it in the middle of a platter of crudités.

Erin also shares some really nice variations on this base dip (not that it can't stand by itself!). She gives ideas for an herb variation, a spicy version, and a vegetable puree addition for a different flavor and look. All very good suggestions.

And if you're not already familiar with it, let me introduce you to the Naturally Ella website. Erin started the site in 2007 and it focuses on vegetarian recipes and ideas for natural cooking. The site is basically divided into four basic areas: Cook a Meal (recipes), Explore an Ingredient (lots of info on fruits, veggies, etc. - and how to buy and store them), Build a Pantry (a work-in-progress that focuses on a whole bunch of different types of foods you should keep on hand), and Plan Your Meals (her partnership with Real Plans - an online meal planning service). Her statement of principle says it all: "I am a firm believer in two food movement principles: every purchase holds power in the food system and change starts in your own kitchen. By making time and bringing back cooking, we have the power to change our relationship with overly processed foods." I agree. And I really like this site! Be sure to check it out.

I sure hope you loved this recipe! If you want to check out ALL of my Recipes of the Week, just click on the "Recipe" category to the right or just click here:

And be sure to visit the great blogs I mention. You'll be happy you did!