During the 9 Days before Tisha B’Av, we refrain from eating meat. After a day or so, we get sick of fish, and are hardpressed to come up with meals that supply sufficient protein and still satisfy our carnivorous druthers. This white bean dip with roasted garlic and gremolata, an Italian term for a mix of lemon zest and chopped parsley, offers some mighty tasty protein, especially if you serve the dip with warm pita triangles on the side. Combining beans with grains, for example wheat, as in bread, has long been a staple tactic of the vegan diet, as the two together form a complete protein. Add some crudités and you’ll have a complete meal, too!
White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip with Gremolata
- 1 head of garlic
- 4 cans Cannellini beans, strained and rinsed
- 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon or more lemon juice
- Zest (yellow part only) of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (flat parsley), finely minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Take a thin slice off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Place garlic head in a disposable aluminum cupcake holder, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake one hour, or until cloves are soft and translucent. Cover and cool at room temperature.
- When garlic is cool, pull cloves apart, one at a time, and squeeze the contents onto a saucer. Place the beans in a food processor. Pulse the beans a few times, add the squeezed roasted garlic, and while the food processor is running, gradually add the oil through the feed tube, stopping to scrape down the bowl 2 or 3 times. Add 1 T. of lemon juice and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Scrape the contents of the food processor into a mixing bowl.
- Gently combine the lemon zest with the minced parsley to make the gremolata. Reserve 1 ½ tablespoons of the gremolata for the garnish. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining gremolata into the bean dip.
- Taste dip for seasoning, and correct if necessary with a bit more lemon juice, and/or salt and pepper. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with the reserved gremolata, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve the dip with triangles of warm pita bread and/or crudités.