It's less than two weeks till I head back to school to start my masters degree in nutrition. I've been experiencing the mildest flutters of anxiety which I'm sure over the next week or so will blossom into a full blown panic attack, but for now it's still all very far away and surreal. We'll can talk about it later.
I've more or less started my new work schedule; mainly afternoons, evenings, and weekends to accomodate for attending class during the day, but haven't started class yet (September 3rd is the big back to school day!). This leaves a fairly signifiant chunk of the day with which I have been puttering around trying to get organized and getting stuff done which I know I won't have as much time for once September rolls around. I'm trying to do a good, deep clean of the apartment (triggered partially by arriving home after nearly 4 weeks away to an infestation in our cupboards - yuck!). I'm also taking stock of what we've got stashed away in the freezer, trying to eat it down a bit so I can fill it up again.
When I cook beans for a recipe I almost always cook more than I need so I can stash some away in the freezer. Frozen cooked beans are total convenience food in my books. I had a bag of cooked white beans in the freezer leftover from this recipe, and when I came across them they were practically begging to be made into a puree. I was more than happy to oblige.
Think of this white bean puree as a gentler, mellower cousin to hummus. If garlicky hummus isn't your thing (I hope it is, we're going that way soon too) I encourage you to give this a go. If garlicky hummus is your thing, I still encourage you to give this a go.
Thin sliced garlic is poached gently in olive oil to take away the bite. I also added fresh thyme leaves to the warm oil to infuse the flavour. The flavourful oil gets blended with white beans, along with the aromatics and a squeeze of lemon juice. The resulting puree is smooth and creamy, soft and mellow in flavour. It's nice warm or cold, on your dinner plate instead of mashed potatoes, or served as a dip with crunchy fresh vegetables.
White Bean Puree Recipe:
Think of the white beans as a blank canvas; you can take this in any direction you want to. Want an extra garlicky puree? Add more garlic. Want it spicy? Throw some hot pepper flakes into the warm oil. Have fresh rosemary on hand? Toss it in.
2 cups cooked white beans
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used three)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems (about 2 teaspoon leaves)
2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice from ½ a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste
Combine olive oil, garlic, and thyme in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Allow the oil to heat and gently poach the aromatics for about 10 - 15 minutes. The garlic should be soft but not at all brown. If the thyme leaves start popping, the oil is too hot and you should remove the pot from the heat. Allow the oil to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine white beans, olive oil along with the aromatics, and lemon juice. Whirl everything around, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. This puree should be very smooth and soft. Taste it, and then add a sprinkling of salt and pepper, then whirl around again. Taste it again, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K. Extra virgin olive oil is an amazing healthy oil, rich in antioxidants (it is particularly rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E) and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Olive oil is a unique plant oil in terms of its fat composition, about 75% of the fat is found in the form of oleic acid (a monounsaturated, omega-9 fat). There have been a myriad of studies pointing to the benefits of consuming olive oil related to fighting and preventing certain cancers, cardiovascular health, digestive health, and more. One recent study found that when laboratory animals consumed too many overall calories and too much total food, the heath benefits from olive oil were not seen; olive oil needs to be consumed as a part of a balanced and healthy diet in order for it's benefits to be realized (source).
Do ahead: You can make this white bean puree in advance and it will last in the fridge for about 5 days in an airtight container. You can keep it in the freezer for a few months.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012