Alina’s Vegetarian White Bean Dip

I tried this dip for the first time this past December, I literally ate it with a spoon when I couldn’t get to a chip fast enough. I tried to make it promptly when I got back home, and it wasn’t even close to being as good as Alina’s.  I had obviously missed some steps.  So, I asked Alina if she would take the time to show me how to prepare her white bean dip.  She graciously said yes, and we got to work.  I wish I would have thought about taking pictures, and posting about it.  Alina’s Costa Rican kitchen is beautiful and overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

I love to bake, big surprise  …  but a lot of times when baking …   it’s all about the timing.  This recipe is great because I can get it started, and then  work on something else while it cooks, and then bake again while it cools.  I’m a stay-at-home mom and am always multi-tasking, so this flexibility comes in handy when there is laundry to fold, bills to pay or snacks to pack.

Here we go!

Mise En Place: (gathering up my ingredients)

2 cans white beans

1 1/2 small white onions (one whole-peeled, the half, sliced thin)

3/4 c olive oil (may use more or less)

1 t sweet paprika

3 t Vegata (split -can be found at specialty store or online)

1 garlic clove

I started off with 2 cans of white beans-rinsed and drained.  I bought this red strainer about a year ago from Sur La Table and LOVE it. Since it’s square, it easily fits into a cabinet without taking up too much room.  The handle is also nice if you are draining something hot, and you can “pour” from it too-easier than a big round strainer that dumps all your noodles at once!

Drained white beans

After pouring the beans to a large pan, I then added one carrot, you can use a few baby carrots or carrot “chips” if that is what you have one hand, one small onion (peeled) and 2 t of Vegata. (An all season spice from Croatia with dried carrots, onions, celery and salt.)  UPDATE!  I found Vegata at a Mediterranean Bakery/ Deli in RVA.  I am sure you can find it on amazon, too. 

White beans, carrots and an onion

After that, generously add water to cover the beans and bring to a boil for 30-45 minutes. You are looking for the beans to soften and the flavor to be enhanced. You could literally let it simmer for an hour, just make sure that your beans are always covered with water … 

Cooking the White Beans
After 45 mins

After the simmering is completed, drain beans into a big bowl, saving 1/2 cup of the bean stock for the dip. (Save the rest of broth, add a heaping spoonful of the dip and you have an amazing soup on a cool night!)  Then discard the onion and let the beans and carrots cool for about 20 mins.  

While cooling the beans, there is one optional quick step that really complements the flavor.  Slice half of an onion and place in a saucepan, add 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 t of  “sweet” paprika, 1 t of Vegata and sauté for about 10 minutes.

sliced onions

Cook down about 5 mins more after this point.

Using an electric mixer, Vita Mixer or immersion blender combine the beans and a 1/2 cup of the bean stock.  Depending on what type of mixer you use, your time will vary.  If using a hand held mixer, turn on medium for about 20 seconds until smooth, and then slowly, while still mixing, add in 1/3 cup of olive oil.    If you like garlic, and who doesn’t … add in 1 chopped, clove of garlic to the cooled dip.

Place in a serving dish and add the sautéed onion mixture on top … If you don’t prefer onions, strain out the onions and put the oil on top!  ENJOY!

Alina’s White Bean Dip

You can use this as a dip with carrots, celery, chips, pita or a “spoon!”  It also makes for a great vegetarian sandwich spread.

Thank you, Alina, for sharing your recipe with me…

Happy Cooking!

Denise