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Recipe for slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive dip or spread {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker white bean and olive dip or spread.

To be honest, I had a hard time deciding what to call this slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive concoction. Dip? Sandwich spread? Pizza topping? Yes, yes, and yes. If you love assertive flavors, this dish will make you happy. The creamy white beans serve as a base for plenty of garlic, and just a few kalamata olives, and, of course, for lots of cheese. The slow cooker does most of the work, with a quick zap from an immersion blender at the end (a potato masher will get you to the same result, with a bit more elbow grease). I haven't tried it, but I'm thinking that some flatbread spread with this white bean mixture, topped with fresh arugula and maybe a sliced fig, would be divine. You can make this white bean dip a couple of days in advance, and reheat in the microwave before serving.

Slow cooker white bean dip, perfect for entertaining.

Slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive dip or spread

From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, garlic, cannellini beans, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, thyme, olives, lemon, cooking spray.

Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight!, this recipe makes 16 servings.


1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 15-oz cans cannellini or small white beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup water
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
3 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, rinsed, drained and finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Spray the inside of a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the olive oil and sliced garlic. Cover, and set to HIGH. Cook for 15 minutes, to infuse the oil with garlic.

Add the beans, water, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, thyme and black pepper. Reduce the heat to LOW. Cover and cook for 3 hours.

Unplug the cooker. Use an immersion blender (carefully!) or a wooden masher to  process the dip to the consistency you like. I like it a bit chunky, but you can pureé until it's very smooth.

Plug in the cooker again. Stir in the olives and lemon zest, and cook on LOW for 30 minutes. Taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper.

Serve warm, with crackers or pita bread triangles.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More creamy beans in The Perfect Pantry:
Greek hummus with white beans and feta
Farro and kale salad with white beans and slow-roasted (or sun-dried) tomatoes
Turkey and white bean chili
Pasta bow ties with broccoli, white beans, pine nuts and feta
Slow cooker lemon-garlic chicken and white bean stew

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
White bean and tuna salad, from Simply Recipes
White beans and cabbage, from Steamy Kitchen
White bean and roasted mushroom soup, from She Wears Many Hats
Spicy Sriracha hummus bean dip, from White on Rice Couple
White bean and garlic scape dip, from Brown Eyed Baker

Slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive dip or sandwich spread recipe.

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Could I substitute dry beans? How much and would it change the cooking time?

Mary, you would either need to cook the dry beans first, or adjust the cooking time and order of ingredients. Dry beans will take all day to cook in the slow cooker (I usually cook my dry beans, without presoaking, for up to 18 hours). It's best to pre-cook those dry beans, then continue on with this recipe.

I'm intrigued by this idea and the flavor combination sounds like a winner!

Kalyn, I think this would be a great holiday party appetizer, especially for olive lovers.

Perfect for those mini "dip" size slow cookers that sometimes come bundled with your purchase of a larger one! yum!

Carol, yes indeed. I wish I had one of those mini slow cookers.

A recipe for 2 ? No. Maybe for 4.? No.
Love the ingredients. Can I freeze it?

Gary, this isn't a small quantity recipe -- more the kind of dish you'd make for a party -- though you could cut it in half and make it in a very small slow cooker. I've never tried to freeze it, so if you do, let me know how it works out.

its surprisingly tasty, and yes, you can taste the all flavors and yes, they do work together. since the base is beans, it is a little pasty, but i'm thinking a little more cheese will take care of that when i reheat it. :-) i've used it as a spread on warmed tortillas that i then top off with shredded cabbage and ... intriguingly good.

oh, and i did do a half batch in a 1Q slow cooker. it worked just fine. and used a little less garlic, but that's just me.

Janis, I love when readers take recipes and make them their own. And now I really want to get one of those little one-quart slow cookers!

Great post!

I recommend checking out a slow cooker review site before purchasing any slow cooker.

I just love white beans and olives. This is going to the top of my list for a holiday appetizer!

Lydia, this sounds delicious. I picked up a little slow cooker from a catalog (I never shop from catalogs any more either, but they had a lid that would fit my massive skillet so I couldn't resist) because it was cheap "buy this and get this for some ridiculous price". It's the most useful thing! On the days I'm running kids hither and yon until dinnertime, I can fill it with leftover soup to keep warm so we walk in the door and eat. I can fill it with pasta sauce, or sloppy joe sauce, and have my son fix the rice or noodles as we're heading back home. I never expected the little crock pot to be so useful.

Now this dip--I'll make my own using rosemary, because I had a wonderful white bean, garlic, and rosemary salad at Whole Foods many years ago and love that flavor combo. For the spouse, I'll make it with olives.


Kirsten, I can't remember life before slow cookers, even though, for me, that was just a few years ago. I use mine constantly!

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