Post update: In the time of quarantine and “pantry cooking” I wanted to resurface this post from awhile back. This bean spread is a versatile workhorse. It can be an appetizer, dip, sandwich spread, or pasta sauce — and you likely have most, if not all of the ingredients already.
I used to buy hummus. Then I realized I could either make it myself at half the cost, or do a variation of it using white beans. You could make it the traditional way… but white beans serve as a platform for greater variety without the traditional hummus tahini overpowering other ingredients.
True… You could soak dry beans overnight and then spend the next day simmering them for hours. I admit it. I do this, but only for stocks and soups that require using bean starch liquid. But how often do you make those? Not often. For a quick bean spread, canned beans are your “rinse and drain” kind of friend. This can be made in five minutes.
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Here’s the recipe:
Pantry White Bean Spread or Hummus
- 1, 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans (or two cans if you’d rather not use garbanzo, below)
- 1, 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans (also called chick peas)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (not table)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (scale up or down per your preference)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
NOTE: If you want to make hummus, use two cans of chickpeas (garbanzo), add 1/4 cup of tahini paste and omit the rosemary. To loosen it, you may want to add a splash of water)
- Rinse and drain beans
- Roughly chop the garlic clove
- Finely chop rosemary
- Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse until roughly puréed. (If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can mash the beans in a bowl, and then press through a sieve with the back of a rubber spatula or spoon. Scrape the beans off the bottom of the sieve, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Ensure you finely mince the garlic.)
- With the motor running, slowly add in olive oil. Puree until desired consistency. Add additional oil or water by tablespoon if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Taste for salt level. As needed, add more in 1/4 teaspoon increments and mix. Your bean dip/spread recipe ends here. But…
- If making a pasta sauce, boil your pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. (A bean sauce for pasta?! Starch on starch?! Yes. Trust me. Molto delizioso!)
- With the food processor running, slowly add an additional 1/4 cup olive oil. Pour bean spread over al dente (firm to the bite) pasta in a sauce pan. Add the pasta water in 1/4 cup increments until you reach your desired sauce consistency and continue stirring gently until pasta is cooked through. If using the full recipe of the bean spread, this sauce is enough sauce for 6 entrée-sized pasta servings (1 lb of dried pasta). For added deliciousness, sprinkle crispy bacon bits or pancetta on the pasta before serving.
Serving suggestions for bean spread: Add any of roasted or raw cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, diced red onion, diced cucumbers, or roasted red pepper strips to the top of your bean spread with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with slices of pita or any hardy bread.