Cannellini Bean Dip with Pan-Fried Mint

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Cannellini Bean Dip with Pan-Fried Mint

Cannellini beans are incredibly soft when cooked, which is why they lend themselves so perfectly to dips. (And does this dip ever turn out flavorful!)

Serve this robust dip with fresh bread slices, croutons, crackers, endive and radicchio Treviso leaves, or raw vegetable sticks. It makes for a sensational hors d’oeuvre or antipasto.


For the pan-fried mint

  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 Cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, large leaves torn in half

For the dip

  • 3 Cups cooked cannellini beans or navy beans, drained
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 Teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Four canny cannellini recipes: cook once, eat all week

This cannellini bean and lemon puree is just one of the quick and convenient recipes you can make in advance and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days. Recipe below. Photograph: Helen Cathcart/The Guardian

This cannellini bean and lemon puree is just one of the quick and convenient recipes you can make in advance and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days. Recipe below. Photograph: Helen Cathcart/The Guardian

Welcome to Get Ahead, our new column for the busy home cook. Our mantra here is: cook once, eat all week. You could save time and effort by cooking one main ingredient and fashioning four completely different meals each weeknight. First up, we suggest four meals fashioned from the same pan of slow-simmerered cannellini beans.

Last modified on Tue 9 Jul 2019 09.45 BST

A s cook-ahead staples go, cannellini beans are a particular favourite in this house of mangia fagioli (bean-eaters). Tinned beans have saved our supper on many occasions, but they are incomparable with those soaked and cooked at home. It’s not just the beans, which have a better flavour and consistency, but the cloudy, suspicious-looking bean cooking liquid. This bean broth, full of starch and flavour not only preserves the beans well, it’s an ingredient in several of the recipes, giving flavour, body and consistency. I learned to love and cook cannellini beans with Graziella, a cook and cookery teacher from Maremma in Tuscany. She taught me most beans don’t need soaking, just a long, slow simmer (really long if the beans are old). Soaking though, speeds up the cooking time, which is why I soak. It was Graziella who taught me too to cook-up a big batch of beans then use them over several meals, to keep the simmer at a blip-blip quiver and to add couple of bay leaves to the pan.

Of course half the satisfaction and reassurance of batch cooking is finding your own rthymn, discovering how much you want to cook in advance and which dish works best on which day. I’m suggesting a soup, a stew, creamy beans, a puree and a salad, but only you know best how these could fit into your week of lunches, packed lunches and suppers. Four meals of beans is a commitment, so you might find it reassuring to know you can put the soup, the puree, or simply a portion of beans in the freezer, giving you a headstart on the following week. Of course there is a chance you forget to do this, and a portion of beans lies fizzy and forgotten at the back of the fridge. When this happens, I remind myself that three out of four isn’t bad . The recipe I haven’t written out properly is my favourite, which isn’t really a recipe, simply a dish of warm cannellini beans dressed with good extra virgin virgin olive oil and salt to be eaten with bread and a glass of good, everyday red wine.

To cook the batch of beans
750g dried cannellini beans
3 bay leaves

1 Soak the beans in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hours or overnight (for me this is usually Saturday and then I cook the beans on Sunday). Rinse the soaked beans, tip them into a large heavy pan, add enough cold water to cover them by at least 10cm and add the bay leaves. Bring the pan almost to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the beans are tender, which should take about 1 hour, depending on the age of your beans. Once they are cooked, stir in a generous pinch of salt and leave them to cool in their liquid. You will have about 1.9kg of beans – enough for four meals for four people.

Beetroot and Cannellini Bean Dip

You know the occasions when you have asked people for supper, then you get home 5 minutes before they are due to arrive and nothing is prepared? I think that a bowl of dip is the perfect casual starter. Easy to throw together from store cupboard staples and the contents of my co-op veg box, the colour is guaranteed to make anyone smile. Rather than using tinned beans all the time I usually cook dried beans then freeze them ready to be used, it is cheaper and better for the environment and I prefer the taste. However tinned beans are undeniably highly convenient and I keep a few tins in the cupboard ready for instant useage.

I am a huge fan of the vacuum packed cooked beetroot, they will keep for ages, taste great and add a vibrant splash of colour. The dip was actually far more colourful than the photo shows.

This is another contribution to my series of easy, economical and healthy recipes of what to do with the contents of the co-op “boxes” for the Food Co-ops and Buying Groups project run by Sustain – also part of the Making Local Food Work programme funded by the Big Lottery.

Tried this recipe? If you try this recipe please tag #FussFreeFlavours on Instagram or Twitter. It is amazing for me when for me when you make one of my recipes and I really do love to see them. You can also share it on my Facebook page. Please pin this recipe to Pinterest too! Thanks for reading Fuss Free Flavours!


From creamy delicious soups to flavorsome salads, bruschetta, pasta recipes, toasts and much more!

There are so many occasions when you’re tired, hungry and you crave something filling, satisfying, but simple and quick. And that’s when the convenient Italian cannellini beans, with their fluffy texture and hearty flavor, will save your meal in no time.

Healthy, cheap, packed with nutrients and so convenient, canned cannellini beans are a great cupboard essential. They are so versatile and make the perfect, quick, delicious midweek meal for the whole family.

And I’m sure here you’ll find the cannellini bean recipes you’re looking for!

This creamy flavor-packed cannellini bean soup will blow your mind!
It’s vegan, thick, comforting, tastes amazing, and it’s one of my favorite cannellini bean recipes!

Not only vegan cannellini soup recipes but also amazing bruschetta! These little crunchy toasts are topped with scrumptious smoky beans, thyme, chili flakes, fresh garlic, and olive oil. Delicious!

This hearty cannellini and kale soup is chock full of veggies and filling. It’s the kind of soup that warms you up, healthy and full of flavor.

This easy canned bean salad recipe combines cannellini beans and their amazing texture with juicy tomatoes, savory olives, and refreshing parsley. All tossed in a fantastic homemade lemon garlic dressing. So simple and so good!

This quick white bean pasta turn canned cannellini beans into a wonderful 1-pot family meal ready in less than 15 minutes packed with fresh ingredients.

This one is a luscious lemony white bean dip that whizzes up easily in the food processor, perfect for any party. Another fabulous vegan cannellini bean recipe!

This is not an average bean soup, this is an awesome vegan soup with big flavor. I cook it the way my mum used to, loaded with chili flakes, parsley, and garlic, a burst of flavor. Needless to say, this is one of the best cannellini soup recipes I’ve ever had!

What about a cannellini bean salad recipe with punchy and tangy sun dried tomatoes and ready in less than 15 minutes? Serve as a simple side, as a starter or enjoy as a light lunch or dinner.

Farmhouse Cabbage Soup with Cannellini Beans and Kielbasa is rustic, hearty and some of the best cannellini bean recipes you’ll make all fall and winter long!

This creamy and luscious soup is topped with crunchy bacon, some fresh herbs, and croutons. Delicious!

A delicious pasta dish with a garlicky lemon dairy-free white bean sauce served alongside roasted asparagus. It comes together easily, perfect for a weeknight dinner.

This leek & cannellini bean mash takes 5 minutes, is packed with protein and nutrients and tastes incredible. So creamy! Then top with vegetables like Tenderstem Royale which adds amazing color and crunch.

Lots of aromatics, crushed tomatoes, Tuscan kale, and pasta turn this cannellini bean recipe into a hearty meal-in-a-bowl situation. It’ll warm you right up on cold days, and tastes even better the next day.

This vegan cannellini bean stew recipe is savory, satisfying, and comforting. Requiring less than 10 ingredients and this soup comes together in a pinch. It’s the perfect meal for those busy winter weeknights.

Vegan white bean soup, made with potatoes, carrots, onions, rice, cilantro, and cannellini beans. This soup is nutritious, comforting and delicious!

Quick, easy, and delicious! This super side pairs slightly bitter chard with sweet honey, cannellini beans and toasted almonds and comes together in easily in under 15 minutes.

How to cook cannellini beans in instant pot? This recipe makes flavorsome cannellini beans in instant pot, served with crumbled feta and fresh basil.


You can find either canned or dried cannellini at your local store. And even if the dried counterparts deliver more flavor and a better texture, for convenience and zero prep time, canned cannellini beans are definitely a must-have staple in any cupboard.


Yes, they’re an excellent source of fiber and important micronutrients. Plus, they’re packed with protein and contain zero fat. Big bonus if you’re vegan or if you simply try to throw together a delicious meat-free meal from things readily to hand.


Although canned cannellini beans work fine in any recipe, if you have the time, it’s worth the effort to make your own beans at home, mostly because:

  • They’re cheaper
  • They taste better
  • They freeze beautifully
  • You can use the bean cooking water as a flavorsome broth


To speed cooking time, dried cannellini should be soaked before cooking.
Soak them in lots of cold water from a minimum of 5-6 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse, then put them in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and cook until tender (it might take from 30 to 50 minutes).

Plus, cooking a big batch of beans, and freezing the rest, will save you energy and money!

TIP: it’s a good idea to add a few bay leaves and pieces of vegetables such as carrots, celery or onion, into the cooking water. They will make the thick and nutrient bean broth delicious, which you can use to add flavor to soups and stews.


NO, canned cannellini beans are so convenient and already cooked, that means they can be eaten without additional cooking. However, before using them in any recipe, drain and possibly rinse them.

In conclusion, canned or dried, in soups or in salads, in stews or in toasts, vegan or not vegan, the hearty and creamy cannellini beans are just delicious!

And if you enjoy one of these amazing cannellini bean recipes, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!

How to Make the White Bean Dip

Cannellini beans are white kidney beans. They have a naturally creamy texture and neutral flavor that serves this recipe very well. If you can’t find cannellini beans, you can substitute navy pea beans or Great Northern beans.

This recipe uses canned beans for convenience, but you can easily substitute Cannellini dried beans. Use 2 cups of cooked beans instead of the canned beans. Preparing dried beans ahead of time assures you will always have some in the freezer for recipes. Thaw frozen beans before adding to the food processor.

Roast your garlic: Roasting mellows the sharp garlic flavor into one that is milder and sweeter. Roasted garlic will dissolve and infuse in the dip. Roast extra garlic bulbs while you are at it and freeze for other recipes.

No time to roast garlic? Grate your raw garlic first using the fine holes of a box grater, then add to the food processor and puree with the rest of the ingredients. Grating helps avoid unexpected chunks of raw garlic but still allows the flavor to disperse into the dip.

Zest and juice your lemon: The colored layer of lemon’s skin is filled with concentrated flavor. Lemon zest adds a bright essence to this recipe. Zest your lemon with a box grater or micro plane. Juice the lemon using a fork or juicer. One medium lemon should give you about 2 tablespoons of juice.

Chop your herbs fine: The flavor of lemon and rosemary go together very well in this recipe, but feel free to explore using your favorite Italian herbs such as thyme, parsley, basil, or oregano. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, substitute one teaspoon dried herbs for the fresh.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender: A food processor makes it easy to whip up this recipe in about 5 minutes. Simply add all your ingredients and puree until smooth. If the dip is a little too thick, add a little water or olive oil a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Adjust seasonings: Taste your dip and adjust seasonings. Some canned beans are saltier than others add more salt and other seasoning to taste.

How do you make 7-Layer Bean Dip?

Make sure you’re using good-quality ingredients for this dip, since most the ingredients are store-bought. Grab a good freshly made guacamole, your favorite brand of salsa, creamy sour cream, etc! Then let’s get started:

  • Put a cup of salsa in a sieve to drain extra liquid and keep the dip from getting soggy.
  • Stir the remaining salsa into the refried beans. This will be the base level.
  • Top the beans with the guacamole level mix the taco seasoning directly into the container of sour cream (so you don’t have to dirty another bowl). Spread that over the guac layer.
  • Add the reserved cup of salsa on top of the layer of sour cream sprinkle a generous layer of cheese over that.
  • Spread on olives and green onions/cilantro.
  • Make sure you have your favorite tortilla chips and get ready to dip!

Cannellini Bean Dip with Lemon and Parmesan

This is a very simple 10-minute bean dip that comes together with pantry ingredients - a nice change of pace from hummus.

These days we are putting those cans of beans to work. I’ve never felt so happy to see a little stockpile of beans in my pantry, and I’m guessing you feel the same. Cannellini are one of my go-to favorites.

Not only is this dip fast and easy, but it’s also really inexpensive. This cannellini bean dip tastes fresh and lush at the same time, and there’s something very special about a homemade dip or spread, versus the store-bought stuff.

A food processor or blender makes this come together ridiculously quickly. Place the beans, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice and zest in a food processor or blender and pulse to combine well.

Add the Parmesan, cayenne or hot sauce, and salt and pepper and puree until smooth. If the dip is thick, you may add another tablespoon or two of olive oil or water. Make sure to season generously with pepper, and add salt judiciously—you can always add more at the end, but the Parmesan adds salt as well.

If you like, top the dip with a sprinkle of parsley or paprika. If you happen to have a couple of fresh herb sprigs lying around, tuck those into the side.

This is a very simple 10-minute bean dip that comes together with pantry ingredients – a nice change of pace from hummus.

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Cannellini Bean Dip with Rosemary & Garlic

This rosemary-garlic cannellini bean dip is like supercharged hummus. It’s so easy to make, and it’s best served warm with crackers or vegetables!

I’ve been eating hummus since long before I ever knew what cannellini beans were…probably before I really knew what chickpeas were. In fact, the first hummus that I ever ate I made myself. Philip and I were newly married and I read a hummus recipe in a weight loss book that I bought. I went to Target after work one day and bought the cheapest food processor I could get my hands on. It had a 2-cup prep bowl and it cost $13. It was barely big enough to make a single batch of hummus and every time I used it some piece of plastic would break off of it. As cheap as it was, I don’t regret buying that piece of junk, because I never bought another cheap kitchen appliance.
Wait, sorry…I forgot that I was talking about hummus, not food processors (I promise that I’ll get to cannellini bean dip soon). Anyway, I used to make hummus at least once a week. When California Pizza Kitchen was open for a pretty brief period of time at Hamilton Place, we would frequently order their “Tuscan hummus“, which was made with “Tuscan white beans”. It had different flavors than the hummus that I made at home (which turned out to be cumin) and it was really smooth. And I could not figure out what on earth Tuscan white beans were. Turns out those were cannellini beans, which are essentially white kidney beans. And suddenly, because of this cannellini bean dip, my feelings on white beans changed. I had never cared for white beans because I associated them with the Great northern beans that my mom cooked Southern style, which always seemed way too mushy and soupy to me.

Turns out that for a long time cannellini beans were really hard to find around here, but these days I can find them no problem at Publix or Harvest Grocery. They’re firm but super-creamy inside, and I love cooking with them. Briefly sautéed with garlic and fresh rosemary then pureed, they are perfect in this simple cannellini bean dip.
Rosemary-garlic cannellini bean dip has a different flavor profile than hummus, but it has the same creamy texture. You can definitely eat this cold or at room temperature, but cannellini bean dip is best served warm (interestingly enough, I found out a while back that hummus is traditionally served at least at room temperature, if not warm…and it’s so much better that way). It’s so easy to make, healthy, and only has a handful of ingredients.

Not to mention – this rosemary-garlic cannellini bean dip is delicious, so MAKE IT!

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups dip

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Spicy garlic cannellini bean dip recipe

What could be simpler than this delicious cannellini bean dip? Blend all the ingredients together to make a terrifically tasty dish. Whether spread on crackers, enjoyed with tortilla chips and crudités or used as a sandwich filling, this versatile vegetarian dip is sure to please. The zing of lime and smoked paprika, with a generous portion of garlic all add up to a fabulously full-flavoured choice. Easy, quick and inexpensive to make, who could ask for more? So, if you have 10 mins to spare, why not try rustling up this dip?

Cannellini bean dip

A basic dip can be dressed up to look fabulous. You can accessorise it with herbs, seeds and oils. You can match it up with different breads and give it different themes so no-one will ever know it’s all part of the master plan to keep things simple. Urvashi shares her recipe for a trusted New Year's Eve dip.

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I’m at home for New Year’s Eve this year. Truth be told I am too tired to go out partying. It’s been an incredibly busy year and Christmas and so I’m looking forward to a night in front of the fire without the worry of babysitters, dogsitters and taxis home.

Food and fizz will play a big part in celebrations even though I‘m at home. For me preparing nibbles for everyone to enjoy is like getting dressed up to go out. The best bit in my view.

I always start with a basic dip. Like a faithful old black dress, a basic dip can be dressed up to look fabulous. You can accessorise it with herbs, seeds and oils. You can match it up with different breads and give it different themes so no-one will ever know it’s all part of the master plan to keep things simple.

You can serve this Mediterranean style by pouring over a little olive oil, toasted sesame seeds and dried thyme or oregano and pair it with some toasted pitta bread.

Or go Mexican and serve with some Cumin and Smoked Paprika Potato Wedges. Chop the potatoes into wedges, toss in vegetable oil and then sprinkle over some salt, cumin powder and smoked paprika before baking in a 180C oven til brown. Add some chilli flakes and cumin to the dip too.

Bruschetta are a great platform for dips and layering flavours. I use sourdough toast. Butter is the first layer. Then on this version I’ve spread some sundried tomato paste. Then some cannellini bean dip and topped that with some rocket leaves and chopped tomatoes.

If you don’t fancy making these in advance, place the toasts on a platter with the dip and the other ingredients and then let your guests build them as they want to eat them. I find a few other ingredients from the shelves creep into their accessorising - all part and parcel of a homely night in with family and friends!

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