This luscious, light spread can be used in so many ways for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, snack. All it requires is 10 minutes, less than $5, and it keeps on giving meal after meal–gluten-free, vegan, and Jain meals that will happily feed many people. Cannellini beans are readily available in the West and any white bean, even chick peas, will work equally well.
Eating beautiful and well-balanced meals does not have to be expensive, or labor intensive. These foods are good for us, the planet, and our budget–what is not to like! As we have been life-long vegetarians for generations, putting foods together that are nutritionally balanced comes instinctively. And beans are big part of a meal.
Beans are incredibly versatile, flavorful, budget-friendly and packed with nutrition! Whole beans, dals, salads, chaats (street food with an explosion of flavors), crepes made of beans, steamed savory cakes or dhoklas, crispy crackers and snacks made from bean flours, desserts.
Fresh, natural, real food makes wonderfully easy vegan, gluten-free, Jain meals. If I want my grown sons to cook, they have to be offered recipes that are not laborious and can be prepared ahead, stored in the fridge, and popped out for lunch. My condition is that they be balanced, nutritious, and deliciously varied.
So from our home to yours…here are ideas to use this spread (and others), for a meal or snack any time of day or year. As an appetizer or snack or breakfast: spread served with raw vegetables or over a whole grain cracker. A meal: spread slices of good bread or toast (whole grain or gluten-free) with the spread and top with cooked spinach/kale/swiss chard making it a filling crostini or open sandwich; sauteed mushrooms/peppers (make ahead and keep in the fridge for more than one meal); marinated grilled vegetables; sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, or celery and apples sprinkled with chopped walnuts. Dinner: baked russet/Idaho potato, sweet potato, a good dollop of spread, sauteed vegetables all heaped on top for a balanced meal.
- 2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed with cold water (you can soak and boil your own beans about )
- 1 medium clove of garlic, grated (optional)
- zest of 1 medium lemon, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of red chili powder (or taste, can also use harissa, or hot sauce, whatever is at hand!)
- pinch of powdered cumin (if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or to taste)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water (for creamier texture use the cooking bean liquid from the can), or to desired consistency
- Mince together the garlic, lemon zest, and rosemary with a large knife.
- Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth.
- Store the spread in the fridge in an airtight container overnight to let the flavors develop.
Serves 10-12 as appetizer or 6-8 as part of a main meal. Preparation: 10 minutes.