Even if we aren’t hosting in-person dinner or cocktail parties these days, we can still make tasty, pantry-friendly dips and appetizers for snacking on during quarantine. If you’re self-isolating with a lot of dried legumes in your pantry, then this super-smooth white bean dip is another great way to put a pot of beans to good use.
For this dip, we keep things simple by buzzing up cooked white beans with a little bit of their cooking liquid, garlic, and lemon juice, before streaming in a healthy amount of extra-virgin olive oil to form a smooth purée. To temper the harsh bite of raw garlic, we steep a grated clove in lemon juice before processing it with the beans. As we found with our tahini sauce with garlic and lemon, combining lemon juice with processed raw garlic prevents harsher garlic flavors from forming, allowing the garlic to lend a more subtle aroma to the dip rather than a pungent bite that would overwhelm the flavor of the beans.
The dip is paired with a bright and assertive puttanesca-inspired roasted cherry tomato salad that plays off the earthy richness of the beans. Cherry tomatoes are roasted with a little olive oil until their skins just begin to wrinkle and split, and then are tossed with briny black olives, anchovy, fresh parsley, and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. The juices and drippings from the roasted tomatoes form a sweet and tangy dressing without the need for additional oil or vinegar.
Both the bean dip and the roasted tomato salad will keep for a few days in the fridge, so you can dole it out at your leisure as a healthy snack, light desk lunch, or Zoom happy hour appetizer. And hopefully some day soon we’ll be able to go back to being stressed out about hosting cocktail parties again, and we can make this recipe in between trips to the bodega to pick up more ice and chips.