Snacks in this house often include a spread or dip that can be lathered onto crusty bread with some salad greens and tomato slices, or just on its own. Most spreads can be thinned a little and used as a dip with crackers or vegetable sticks. They can even be served as a sauce to accompany falafel, lentil balls or other vegetarian fritters or patties. Try adding them to salad dressing too, for creaminess and flavour. They can even be thinned out to form a great basis for soup!
This recipe is a classic White Bean puree with sage and garlic – some garlic is roasted, and some cooked with the beans for layered garlic flavours. Deborah Madison includes a recipe in her book, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
Similar recipes include Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese, Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, White Bean Puree with Harissa, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Broad Bean and Mint Puree, Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread, and Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs.
White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread
1.5 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight – use cannellini beans or haricot beans
5 cloves garlic
5 sage leaves
3 bay leaves
3 Tblspn olive oil
1 whole head garlic, cut a slice from the top so the top of the cloves are exposed
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and stalks discarded
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover the beans by 4cm. Bring to the boil, then add the garlic cloves, sage leaves, bay leaves and 1 Tblspn olive oil. Turn the heat down and simmer, covered, until the beans are soft. This will take up to 1.5 hours, depending on the quality and age of the beans. After about 20 mins of cooking, add a tspn sea salt.
When the beans are soft, remove the bay leaves and drain, reserving the cooking water.
While the beans are cooking, heat the oven to 170C. Place the head of garlic in a small baking dish, pour 1 Tblspn olive oil over the garlic and add 0.33 cup water. Bake until soft and lightly caramelised, about 45 minutes. Allow the garlic to cool a little and then squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves. They will come out like toothpaste from a tube. Add the garlic’s cooking water to the bean’s cooking water.
Puree the cooked white beans with the roasted garlic, 1 Tlspn olive oil, and enough of the bean broth to give the beans a spreadable consistency. Season to tastes with lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Freeze the remaining cooking water for soup stock.