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Monday, September 13, 2010

White Bean Dip, Healthy Appetizer

Beans are a great source of protein, the B group of vitamins, folic acid, iron and starch. They are also packed full of healthy fibre, which cuts down levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in your blood, thus protecting you from heart disease.   Here is a quick recipe that adds some love to your diet and heart!

1 can (or made fresh from dried) 15 oz white (cannellini) beans,  or use black, red, or chick peas rinsed and drained
8 garlic cloves, roasted
2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped spinach

In a blender or food processor, add the beans of your choice, roasted garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until smooth ( I love to leave the chunks in so just pulse a few seconds), fold in spinach and herbs. Serve on top of  slices of toasted  baquette bread Italian bread or French bread.  This is also excellent placed on top of red (sweet) bell peppers cut into squares

Legumes are one of the most versatile, nutritious and inexpensive foods available. You can buy legumes dried or already cooked in the can. If you buy them dried, you need to cook and soak them first. To save time, use the quick-soak method. Place washed beans in a large pot with three times the volume of cool water. Bring beans and water to a boil for two minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for one hour, then drain and rinse in a colander.

My favorite way to make dried fresh legumes is to use the crockpot overnight. Wash them, cover with water, turn on the pot and go to bed. Next morning there are beans ready!