Prep Time 5'PT5M
Total Time 7'PT7M
Comfort foodWhen we were little, heaven was the sofa bed folded out, the entire family on it watching a movie together and eating chips and dips. Now we're grown up, heaven would be... well, pretty much the same. Except this time we've upgraded to this delicious, healthy bean dip recipe. Hummus gets all the credit in the dip world, but white beans make an equally luxurious texture. When mashed with a fork (or, if you can manage a bit of extra effort, whizzed in a blender), they reveal an unexpectedly creamy consistency. It's the kind of creaminess you can usually only get from dairy, or, in the case of hummus, an almost embarrassing quantity of olive oil. Here, it's just the natural quality of the beans. What's more, this dip is good for you, which is not something you can say about most shop-bought dips. Scoop it up with home-baked tortilla chips or Erbology Personalised Crackers. It'll fill you up and provide some much-needed plant-based protein.
Home-made is always betterWhile there are many store-bought options, making your own bean dips means you can control both flavour and wholesomeness. Besides, the consistency of ready-made bean dips is often too thin for real, dippable satisfaction. Here, we've suggested keeping chunks of bean intact for a more toothsome texture. Any white bean will work well for this smashed bean dip recipe. We've given a few types to try below, but they're all good for you and all produce the lovely creamy texture we're aiming for. As with (almost) everything, variety is good. Make our dip with cannellini beans one day and haricot another, to maximise your intake of their different minerals.
Beyond the baked beanIn our opinion, beans are seriously underrated. Not only are they full of healthy fibre and protein, they're cheap and incredibly versatile. Few foods are quite as chameleonic as beans. Layer them with herbs, condiments and oils; mash, bake or pan-fry. Voilà, you have wildly different flavours and textures every time. And, while many of us will always associate beans with those of the tomatoey 'beans on toast' variety, there are a huge amount of options available in most supermarkets. Black-eyed beans, cannellini, haricot, kidney beans, black beans... most of them are available pre-cooked in tins, or dried in large, pantry-friendly packs.
Cannellini beansThese mild, pillowy beans are widely used in Italian cooking. If you like minestrone soup or Italian white bean salad with herbs like sage and rosemary, you'll be familiar with cannellini beans. They have a nice firm yet creamy texture. In the US, they are sometimes called white kidney beans.
Butter beansThese beans are actually baby lima beans. Butter beans are quite starchy, something to keep in mind if you are aiming for a creamy texture. Bean connoisseurs might detect the slightest hint of graininess, which will differentiate the butter bean from the cannellini, but most of us mere mortals will struggle to tell the difference.
Haricot beansThese beans, also called navy beans, are smaller than butter beans or cannellini beans. They are oval rather than kidney shaped. Unlike cannellini and butter beans, which do have an identifiable flavour, haricot beans are pretty neutral. They are ideal in herb-heavy recipes. If you like Boston baked beans, haricot beans star in this recipe. They are widely used in Mediterranean and Latin American cooking. Appetisers