Cannellini Bean “Pesto”

Healthy, flavorful sandwich spreads can double as a quick and easy appetizer or snack are a mainstay for me so I’m always on the lookout for different flavor combos to spice things up.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe for a pesto-flavored bean spread on the Om. Nom. Run. blog earlier this month and I’ve made it numerous times in just the past few weeks. It’s amazing how much it tastes like pesto without all the fat from the cheese and this recipe calls for a just a fraction of the oil normal pesto requires.

If there’s no kale in the fridge, I use whatever greens I have on hand or in my mini-garden. I’ve eaten it on toast, pita, with red pepper strips and even in a veggie wrap during a hike.  It takes just minutes to whip up and stores well in the fridge for a few days– if it lasts that long.  To spice up the presentation, top the dip with a few toasted pine nuts or a drizzle of olive oil and a sprig of fresh basil.

Cannellini Bean “Pesto”


2 cups cooked cannellini beans

2 cups kale, loosely packed

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

2 cloves garlic, pressed

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

dash cayenne pepper

small handful fresh basil (or, if you don’t have it, substitute for 1/2-1 teaspoon dried basil)

Sea salt to taste


Gather all ingredients. Wash greens and basil thoroughly. Drain beans and rise well.

Place beans in bowl of food processor or blender.

Squeeze in lemon juice.  Add oil, water and seasonings.

Tear basil from stems and add to the beans.

Process  to incorporate liquids and basil into beans.

When mixture starts to blend easily, tear greens into pieces and add to beans in three batches.  Process in between additions to ensure greens are fully incorporated.

Once all greens have been added, continue blending until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with veggies and pita or cover tightly and refrigerate.


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