The white beans are blended with garlic oil, rosemary and cheese for a creamy starter fit for a cocktail party.
This creamy bean dip reminds me of one of my family’s favorite Italian restaurants that closed down a few years ago in Basking Ridge, New Jersey — Due Terre. They used to serve it as a starter with fresh bread. By the time we finished all of our dip we were barely hungry for the fresh pasta.
Blend white beans with garlic oil, rosemary and cheese for a creamy starter fit for a cocktail party. This is one of my most requested recipes from friends. Every time I host book club my friend requests this dip be at the center of the spread. Make it ahead of time for easy prep.
Cannellini beans – Cannellini beans, also known as white navy beans, are used in Italian recipes. They can be used interchangeably with great northern beans and are the base of this dip. I love using them for their smooth, slightly nutty texture. I use canned beans as a shortcut but dried beans can also be used.
Parmesan – Parmesan-Reggiano is definitely one of my favorite cheeses. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese aged for different lengths of time. I’d recommend buying a roughly cut piece of wrapped cheese from the grocery store – it’s typically a higher quality cheese. In this recipe I’d recommend grating it just before adding to the pasta to get the smoothest sauce possible.
Rosemary – Sprigs of rosemary are used to infuse the olive oil with flavor before it’s blended with the beans.
Olive oil – While all olive oil comes from the fruit of olive trees, it’s not all created equal. Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and made from pure, cold-pressed olives, giving it more of a true olive taste. Regular olive oil is made from a blend of both cold-pressed and processed oils. I typically cook with extra-virgin olive oil when deciding between the two. Olive oil has a lower smoke point than many other oils, making it better for lower temperature cooking. Save pricey olive oils for finishing the recipe where the flavors will really shine – like in dips, for breads and salad dressing.
How to Make Rosemary White Bean Dip
Infuse the olive oil with garlic and rosemary. Heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary sprigs and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.
Cool and strain the oil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain into a measuring cup and set aside, discarding the garlic and rosemary.
Blend the dip. Combine the beans, ½ cup of the infused oil, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed for a smoother consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve. Spoon dip into a serving dish and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil on top (or more if desired) and garnish with chopped rosemary. Serve with focaccia or other rustic bread.
Tips and Tricks for This Recipe
How to Make White Bean Dip Ahead of Time
This dip can easily be made ahead of time, up to 4 days in advance. I happen to think it tastes even better the next day after the flavors have some time to meld together. Store the rosemary white bean dip refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
Swaps and Substitutions
If you don’t prefer rosemary, this recipe can also be made with another fresh herb like thyme.
If needed you can swap the Parmesan for Pecorino Romano cheese.
While hard cheeses like Parmesan have low-lactose content, the cheese can be omitted if needed to make it vegan.
How to Make this Recipe with Cooked Beans
I use canned beans as a shortcut in this recipe though soaked and cooked dried beans can also be used. Soak the dried cannellini beans overnight then boil in water until tender, about 2 hours. Drain and use as directed in the recipe. Substitute 1½ cups of the cooked cannellini beans for 1 (15-ounce) can of beans.
While my favorite way to serve this white bean dip is paired with grilled bread or crostini, try pairing it with sliced veggies, pita chips or crackers. You can also spread the white bean dip as you would hummus on wraps and sandwiches to add additional flavor.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this white bean dip recipe, I recommend checking out some of these appetizers:
1(15-ounce) can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans)
⅓cupgrated Parmesan cheese
1tablespoonfreshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt,to taste
Freshly ground black pepper,to taste
Focaccia or other rustic bread,for serving
Heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary sprigs and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain into a measuring cup and set aside, discarding the garlic and rosemary.
Combine the beans, ½ cup of the infused oil, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed for a smoother consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon dip into a serving dish and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil on top and garnish with chopped rosemary. Serve with focaccia or other rustic bread.
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