Savor the Season
White Bean & Caramelized Onion Dip

White Bean & Caramelized Onion Dip

Two Perfect Picnic Dips

Yes, I’m still talking about bean dips… I can’t help it.

Picnic season is upon us and bean dips make an excellent addition to the blanket — they’re easy to make, are best served at room temperature and can be taken pretty much anywhere since they don’t rely on mayonnaise for a rich, creamy texture.

Even better? These two tasty dips easily double as spreads for al fresco sandwich-making. The white bean dip is fantastic on crusty sourdough with marinated artichokes and roasted peppers; the green pea dip is divine with ham on pumpernickel.

Some simple tips before you dip:

  • A food processor allows you to complete a basic dip in about 5 minutes. You can’t beat that when guests are knocking at your door.

  • Try to use low-sodium beans when available so you have greater control over the end flavor of your dips.

  • Always, ALWAYS rinse and drain canned beans.

  • Keep in mind what you’re serving the dips with: I’ll use less salt in a dip served with salty chips; if I’m serving a dip with crudités, I’ll make sure to keep the texture smooth for easy eating.

  • If you can, make your dip(s) the day before! This saves you the hassle on the day of your picnic and allows the flavors to develop and combine.

  • Serve bean dips at room temperature — cold puréed beans can attain spackle status. YUM!

White Bean Dip with Caramelized Onion & Garlic
(Click here for the One-Click Recipe!)
A simple dip inspired by the classic flavors of Italy. If Meyer lemons are in season, I love to use them in place of regular lemons. Serve with crostini, sliced baguette or crudités.

1 medium onion, medium-diced
10 large garlic cloves, medium-diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 15.5oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1/2 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in sauté pan over medium-low heat.
2. Add onion and garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook until onion and garlic is softened and lightly golden (about 5 minutes). Set aside.
3. In a food processor (fitted with an s-shaped blade), puree white beans until smooth. Scrape down sides of the bowl as you go.
4. Add salt, remaining olive oil, zest & juice of lemon, and onion/garlic mixture. Puree until ingredients are completely blended and mixture moves easily around the bowl.
5. Scrape into serving dish and serve immediately; or cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Total time: 20 minutes active
Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups

Green Pea Dip
(Click here for the One-Click Recipe)
Okay, it’s not technically a bean dip, but it’s VERY tasty and delivers the essence of summer with a handful of fresh basil. This bright green dip is delicious with water crackers or lightly blanched crudités (like young carrots, asparagus spears or Romanesco cauliflower).

8oz frozen peas
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup softened fresh goat cheese, approximately 3oz
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (about 4 turns on a pepper mill)
1/2 cup cleaned basil leaves, loosely packed (about 12 large leaves)

1. In small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine peas, garlic and water. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until peas are bright green and tender (about 8 minutes). Set aside.
2. In a food processor (fitted with an s-shaped blade), cream the goat cheese and salt together. Scrape down sides of the bowl as you go.
3. Add peas, garlic and cooking liquid along with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse-puree mixture until almost incorporated. The consistency should be similar to cottage cheese.
4. Chiffonade (finely slice) the basil leaves. Stack leaves on top of each other, roll them up into a log (length-wise) and finely cut off slices across the log.
5. Add basil chiffonade to food processor and pulse-puree until basil leaves are just incorporated (1 or 2 pulses on the food processor).
6. Scrape into serving dish, cover and chill at least 1 hour. Let dip come completely to room temperature before serving.

Total time: 20 minutes active
Yield: approximately 2 cups

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