Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Bean-Cilantro Dip

Last Friday, I was weary of eating hummus and needed a new fiber rich, but smoothly pureed alternative. Hmmmm, what flavors and ingredients could I marry today?   Inspired once again by what I had available, I quickly pronounced nuptials for white beans and cilantro, and they lived happily ever after.  Valentines Day is definitely on my mind.  Hopefully, the garlic in this dip won't squelch that too much.  

I brought a batch of this dip with me when I stayed with my friend Tahirih this weekend. (She kindly offered to take care of me while my husband was away.)  Tahirih thought the dip was so delicious  that we made another batch of it this morning.  Rather than using canned beans, she soaked  beans yesterday for several hours, then cooked them.  There are many benefits of soaking and cooking beans rather than using canned ones.  First, of course, is the improved taste.  Secondly, the linings of most cans contain Bisphenol A (BPA) that is known to be harmful to one's health and recent studies have confirmed that the BPA in can linings often leaks into the food, thus use of canned foods should be minimized.  Third, the sodium content of most canned beans is quite high. Fourth, soaking and cooking your own beans is vastly cheaper than buying them in a can.  So you might be wondering why I had canned beans in my pantry.  Well, the convenience of canned beans for days when my energy is low is the primary reason.

The dip was a hit with Tahirih's husband, Ron, and daughter, Malika as they ate it with fresh vegetables. I ate mine with tasty whole wheat crackers.   It was fun to arrange Tahirih's beautiful platter with the dip, vegetables and crackers and to know that "my food" is often delicious to other palates, too.   

1 16-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked white beans)
6 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon olive oil (use a light rather than heavy tasting variety)
2-4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 clove minced garlic (or 1/4  teaspoon garlic powder)
(If you cook your own beans, add sea salt to desired taste)

Combine all ingredients and process with a food processor or with an immersion blender.  Kiss your sweetie.  

Nutrition: (calculated using canned white beans)
Servings per recipe: 12
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Calories: 47
Total Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 147 mg
Total Carbs: 7 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 2 g

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