Some appetizers are healthier than others, but healthy doesn’t have to inherently mean less tasty. My family got together over the weekend to celebrate my mom and sister’s birthdays, and since I knew my mom would be providing plenty of crowd-pleasing cheesy, chippy snacks, I thought I’d take the opportunity to make a bean dip.
The ingredients are simple — 2 cans of white beans, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh basil. Add to it a bowl of homemade baked pita chips and fresh veggies and you’ve got a healthy alternative (or addition) to your appetizer offerings.
Moosewood suggests serving the dip (or spread) with crusty bread, fresh mozzarella, and roasted plum tomatoes, which sounds delicious, but I opted to serve mine hummus-style with some cut up vegetables and a bowl of homemade pita chips.
Homemade pita chips are also easy to make, and in my opinion, taste a whole lot better than the ones from the store. By seasoning and baking them yourself, you can control the flavor and texture. I like to leave my pita bread “double thick” so the resulting chip is hearty, and sometimes even the littlest bit chewy in the center. Seasoning options are endless, but some good places to start are Italian (a regular Italian seasoning mix works great), Mexican (adding chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes), or Cinnamon-Sugar for your sweet tooth. Alternatively, you can stick with just olive oil and sea salt.
I’ll definitely be making both of these again, and I can’t wait to try a few more recipes from the cookbook!
White Bean Dip and Basil Dip
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites
3 cups cooked white beans (or 2 15 oz. cans), drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
Combine the minced garlic and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is pulverized. Add all remaining ingredients except the basil and puree until the beans are smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the minced basil. Chill until ready to serve.
Yield: 3 cups
Homemade Pita Chips
4 rounds pita bread (1 package)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the pita rounds into eighths. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Arrange the wedges on the sheets in an even layer, then whisk together all of the ingredients and brush onto the chips. For best results, coat both sides of the pita. Sprinkle with seas salt, if you like, then bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
Yield: 32 thick chips