Balsamic Bean Dip

 

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Sometimes you just gotta dip! Bean-based dips used to sound a little odd to me but really are delicious and are far healthier than anything mayo-based, and importantly, on the whole much friendlier. Many people veer towards hummus, but the sesame makes it unsuitable for some (including us) so we needed a good basic alternative. This tangy bean dip is a great option – it whizzes up in seconds and the tang of vinegar works wonderfully with my homemade ritz crackers. I would advise to add a little balsamic at a time as varieties differ so much and you definitely want the right level of acidity for you. Very easy to keep dipping into this one.

Balsamic Bean Dip (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 1 big bowlful

  • 1 tin white beans, I used haricots but cannellini would be good
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder, or 1/2 clove garlic, crushed

– Whizz together all the ingredients in a food processor, except the balsamic – Add half the balsamic, taste and add more or not depending on taste – Pour into a bowl and drizzle over a little extra oil and balsamic and (if desired) scatter over a few basil leaves

Crudités with Ranch Style Dip (aka Creamy, Beany, Dreamy dip)

Here’s an antidote to all the rich, filling and wintery Christmas foods that have been on offer in excess over the last few days. How about reviving yourself with a platter of tempting crudités or raw vegetables with a creamy and zingy dip? This is my take on a ranch style dressing or ‘bagna couda’ – a thick, easily dipped into sauce that has all the creaminess and tang but with no cream in sight. The blitzed cannellini beans add all the creaminess you need, all with a good dose of beany protein!

The veg could be lightly cooked, but I prefer a range of raw vegetables for crunch and somehow it just feels healthier – this is after all, a lunch to get you back on track after all the festivities! Radish, cucumber, carrot, celery and pepper are no brainers, but if you haven’t tried it before give the cauliflower and little gem leaves a go – perfect for dipping. Serve the dip at room temperature or for a bit of a difference serve it warm to contrast nicely with the cool vegetables.

Ranch Style Dip/Creamy, Beany, Dreamy Dip (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 1 generous bowlful

  • 1/2 – 1 clove garlic, crushed to a puree with some salt
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tbsps water
  • 2 1/2 tbsps vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mld flavoured olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • balsamic vinegar to taste (i used about 1 tsp)
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

– In a food processor, whizz together the beans with the water until smooth.

– Add the capers, salt, vinegar and oil. Whizz.

– With the motor running, add the oil until the mixture resembles a thick mayonnaise

– Add the parsley and balsamic. Taste and adjust to taste.

– Serve cold, room temperature or warm with any vegetables of choice

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