I learned about this Mediterranean bean spread earlier this year. The original recipe is titled White Bean Spread with Sage. It is from Susan Belsinger and was printed in the Herb Companion in 2004. I have seen another variation of this recipe that has a few more ingredients that add a lot more flavor to it, so that is the way I make it.
I am not going to print Susan Belsinger’s recipe here, you can click on the above link to read it. I will, however, tell what is in it and what else I add.
Basic Main Ingredients:
- Beans (cooked)
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
Other things that I add:
- Green Olives – rough chopped
- Capers – rough chop to release flavors and juice
- Red Onion – thinly sliced
- Red Pepper Flakes – or fresh finely chopped peppers
Get out your potato masher or simply use you hand or fork to mash things up. Mash a little or mash a lot, whatever you like. When you are done, cover it up and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
I prefer eating this at room temperature. The flavors just stand out more. Now, if you aren’t a fan of one or more of the ingredients – just leave them out and see what you think.
I use Northern Beans. They are my bean of choice for this recipe and also when I make baked beans. I tend to keep several bags of northern beans (Chickpeas and Black Beans too) already cooked and in the freezer ready to use. Over the past two years I have been cooking up a lot more beans and grains for our meals. With the beans, I find it is easier to make a huge batch and freeze them so they are ready when I want them. This makes it a lot easier to me to cook with them and get the added benefits of the fiber and protein into our meals.
The base of this recipe lends itself to so many options. Why not add sun dried tomatoes with black olives and chives. Go a completely different route and add cilantro. I love that I get to use fresh herbs straight from the garden. How about – thin this out with more olive oil to make it more into a hummus-like texture and eat it with pita bread. You could add finely chopped kale, spinach or chard – that’s almost a complete meal right there.
My favorite way to eat this is take a piece of fresh warm crusty toast, add a nice layer of chard (or any green) and pile on the bean spread.
Yesterday I made up a nice big batch so I would have some to take on a little road trip today. I am heading up to Austin for the day. I will pick up a friend in South Austin and we will hit the road to go check out an organic farm up there.