It is a Bean-tastic Sunday and I've got a wonderfully easy, tasty and healthy spread for you that even a non-bean lover, like myself, would enjoy. I'm not saying I hate beans, but there are some that I really don't prefer. And there are some that are pretty darn good. I'm not sure if it's a texture thing or what but I have to say, I prefer bean spreads such as hummus and other dips over whole beans.
But...because beans are so good for you, being low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and high in fiber, protein, folate, magnesium and iron, I do try to include them in my menu on occasion.
If I'm going to be honest, I must admit that beans are really versatile. They can go in soups and stews, salads, or just as a stand alone side. Why, they can even be an ingredient in a dessert (especially if you include the vanilla bean). Proof of this is in the line-up we have for you today, which you will find at the bottom.
I really love the combination of tomatoes and basil is this spread. They bring such a freshness to the palate that offsets the hardiness of the beans, while the olives have the supporting role of balance with their salty tang.
You will notice that the ingredients calls for the tomatoes to be seeded. Plum tomatoes have very few seeds and "juice" (which is also why they are preferred in salsas). If you don't remove the seeds for this spread, it will be too runny. So please, do not skip this simple step.
White Bean and Basil SpreadRecipe from: What Can I Bring by Anne Byrn
1 15 oz can great northern beans, drained
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped, divided (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 chopped fresh basil, plus more to garnish
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used a tomato and basil seasoned feta)
salt to taste, if needed
3 - 4 dozen toasted slices of french bread
Place the beans and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth. add 1 1/4 cups of the tomatoes (saving the rest to garnish with) olives, olive oil, and basil and pulse until everything is finely chopped but not completely smooth. Stir in some salt if needed.
This can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Just before serving, garnish with the cheese, remaining tomatoes and some basil. Serve with the toasted bread slices.
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