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July 13, 2010

Cannellini beans (Recipe: Greek hummus with white beans and feta) {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Greek hummus 

Looking back on the foods we ate when I was growing up, I don't remember beans.

No black beans and rice, no chunky vegetable soup with cannellini beans, no baked kidney beans infused with molasses.

Can you imagine?

Even in high school, when I flirted with teenage vegetarianism for a few months, I don't remember beans. In fact, I didn't "get" beans until I moved into my first apartment, junior year of college, with no meal plan and no money. I didn't know anything about amino acids or complex proteins. I'd never heard of "the three sisters" (beans, corn, squash). I knew that beans were inexpensive and hearty, and I could afford to fill my pantry with them.

Now I know more about nutrition, and my food budget is a bit higher than it used to be, but I still like a bowl of beans more than just about anything.

What are cannellini beans?
A variety of mild-flavored white beans, also known as white kidney beans because of their oblong shape. Available dried or canned.

How/where to store:
Dried, in their original packaging or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, for up to one year in the cupboard; cooked, for one week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. Canned, unopened, in the pantry indefinitely; once the can is open, do not store leftover beans in it. Transfer them to an airtight container.

More facts about cannellini beans, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Cannellini beans (Recipe: no-cook summer antipasto)


Greek hummus 

Greek hummus with white beans and feta

This smooth and tangy appetizer or sandwich filling starts with cannellini beans (Italian), and adds classic Greek flavors of feta, lemon and oregano. As a dip or spread, this "hummus" takes one minute to make, and you'll eat it just as quickly. Serve with pita chips, crackers or celery sticks, or spread on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Makes 2 cups.

Ingredients

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
1 small clove of garlic
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Greek seasoning (I like Greektown Billygoat Seasoning)
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a standing blender, and process until smooth (if necessary, add one or two teaspoons of water to help get everything blended). Serve with crackers or crudites.


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Cannellini vinaigrette
White bean garlic dip
Pasta e fagiole
White chili
Easy cassoulet

Other recipes that use cannellini beans:
White cannellini bean salad, from My Life as a Reluctant Housewife
Crockpot recipe for sausage, peppers, and cannellini bean stew with parmesan, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cannellini bean chili, from The Well-Seasoned Cook
Leek and cannellini bean soup with couscous, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Cannellini bean and coconut curry, from The Culinary Chase

Comments

This sounds so good. I love anything with white beans but I bet the feta puts this over the top!

Pass me the pita bread. This is one of my favourites Lydia.

We didn't have beans growing up either! But my friend (who also introduced me to cilantro) showed me the way.

I like the addition of feta to your 'hummus'. I bet it adds a wonderful depth of flavor.

You have shown me the way when it comes to beans. I now keep cooked beans in the freezer ready to go, and there's a batch of cannellini beans just waiting to go into this recipe!

I never had beans until I grew up either. My parents are just NOT fans. But now I adore them, especially cannellini beans and especially in hummus form! This looks absolutely delicious.

I love this dip with Feta added, great idea. Perfect summertime snack for me.

The only beans in my childhood were in the Hormel chili cans my dad would open when he was "cooking" - as an adult I love them but my husband is not so fond of them - so....I slip them in when I can!
This seems like THE EASIEST party food ever! thanks!

why haven't i added feta to my hummus all these years? hello? wow. thanks for this!!!

What is in Greek seasoning? I sure have not seen it around here.

You can't go wrong with feta!

I think this is the recipe my cannellini beans have been waiting for. ...My mother made barbequed lima beans -- I wish I knew how!

I'm interested to see what's in this "Billygoat" seasoning. Maybe it can be emulated at home?

The beans and Feta sound delish.

I have fond memories coming in from cold afternoons out in the snow to the smell of a giant roasting pans full of baked beans with a side of boston brown bread as a kid. They were delicious and an affordable way to fill up the tummies of 4 young children.

This sounds delicious, and like just the recipe for the feta left over from last night's greek salad.

We ate home cooked beans at least once a week when I was a kid, in the 50's. They helped a family of 5 make ends meet. I like all varieties, and never even considered buying beans in a can other than pork and beans, until I bought my first canned black beans about 8 or 10 years ago. Now I buy several types of canned beans to add to soups and salads. I love to cook dried red beans (and rice), pintos, black beans, navy beans. All are staples and are in every pantry in the South and have been for a long time. Cannellini beans are not available in my supermarket, so I am not that familiar with them. I have had them in soup before. Your hummus sounds good!

Maris, Julia, Kalyn, Vanillasugar, Angela: the feta is the key here. It's truly delicious and adds a nice bit of saltiness to the bland beans.

Bellini Valli, I know how much you love Greek food, and this definitely has all of the Greek flavors in it.

TW, frozen beans are perfect for a dish like this, because texture isn't important. So glad you've joined the frozen bean brigade!

Joanne, judging by the comments here, some parents were totally into beans, but like yours, mine were not.

Carol, I'm giggling. My dad did that kind of "cooking", too, with canned beef stew!

Carole, Peter: The Greek seasoning I use has salt and pepper, oregano, lemon peel, garlic powder and onion powder.

Susan, if you ever find the recipe for barbequed lima beans, please share. Sounds intriguing.

Rachel, that sounds like a New England childhood?

Barb, if your supermarket has a section of Goya foods, you might be able to find canned white beans there. You're lucky to have grown up in a bean-eating family, I think!

This sounds delicious and like just this recipe

This dip/spread would be nice and smooth and creamy and full of flavour!

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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