White Bean Dip with Roast Garlic, Rosemary, and Lemon

white bean dip in a bowl with garlic oil and rosemary

This cocktail hour snack is as healthy as it is delicious. 

By Erin Henderson

I used to serve cheeseboards to start my dinner parties.

Brimming with rich cheese, spicy meats, tangy olives, and crunchy crackers, my guests would dive in, after taking the respectful Instagram pic, of course, and shower me with compliments about how tasty everything was. My ego loved it. Until I realized everyone was too full to eat the dinner I spent so long planning and preparing. My effort – and money – was wasted. 

So after one too many occasions of spooning a long simmered boeuf bourguignon into tupperware, or wrapping up untouched duck confit that took days to prepare, I changed my cinq et sept tactics. Gone were the overflowing cheese and charcuterie boards, and, in their place, light dips, snappy vegetables, or simple nuts and olives were laid out. 

Enough to stimulate the appetite, but not enough to kill it. 

This easy and elegant white bean spread is among the most requested appetizers I put out. With the whir of a food processor, it comes together in five minutes – not including the time it takes to confit the garlic. But that's largely unattended, so I don't count it here. 

Served with a snappy brut sparkling wine, this is a delightful option to start a dinner party – not end it. 

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic, Rosemary and Lemon

The mellow, sweet flavour of the confit garlic and oil really make this dish pop, so don't skip it. And it's not hard to confit garlic, despite the somewhat chichi name, so there's no excuse to not including it.

Simply peel as many garlic cloves as you would like (I usually do a whole bulb), place in a small sauce pan and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Simmer over low heat (you really don't want to deal with boiling oil), until the cloves have turned golden and are smushably soft, about 30-45 minutes. Allow for everything to cool, pour into a jar and store until needed. The garlic, covered in the oil, will easily last a week or more, but I use it on everything from toast, to pasta sauce, to salads so I'm hard pressed to have it longer than a few days. 

Makes: about a 1/2 litre 

Chef level: easy

  • 1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced fine
  • 2-4 big cloves of confit garlic, to taste
  • 1/4 c confit garlic oil, plus extra for topping
  • Zest of one lemon, preferably organic and washed well
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for garnish
  1. Into a food processor add everything exept the teaspoon of rosemary and extra oil and pepper. 
  2. Whir everything for 30 seconds to a minute until smooth. You may have to stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides. 
  3. Scoop the bean dip into a rimmed plate or shallow bowl creating troughs along the top of the spread. In those valleys pour in extra garlic oil. Garnish with a few more cranks of fresh pepper and the remaining teaspoon of diced rosemary. 




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