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Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan

Most baked dips, while usually delicious, aren’t exactly healthy.  I love a nice creamy baked artichoke dip or a warm pinto bean dip covered with melted cheese, but they aren’t something I feel like I can indulge in all the time.

That’s why I’m so happy I discovered this Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan from Faith Durand’s new cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles.  It satisfies my craving for a decadent warm dip, but is healthy enough to enjoy whenever I want.  The dip is a snap to make and uses pantry staples like canned beans, olive oil, and bread crumbs so it’s easy to throw together for unexpected guests or impromptu gatherings.

I’m pretty picky when it comes to accepting review copies of cookbooks because I just don’t have room for more books.  But I love casseroles, and I really liked the idea of a casserole book with 200 recipes, not one of which calls for a can of condensed soup.

Not Your Mother’s Casseroles was written by Faith Durand, managing editor of Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, so it should come as no surprise that the book is fantastic.  There are a few classic recipes like Basic Potluck Baked Beans with Bacon and then there are fun new twists on classics, such as Mediterranean Tuna Casserole with Olives and Capers and Twice-Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Ricotta and Ground Sausage.

I especially love the “Baked for Breakfast” section that includes recipes for Basic Baked Polenta with Maple Syrup and Lemon Brioche French Toast. Next on my list to try is Bacon and Lentils with Egg, which is located in the breakfast section but could easily be turned into lunch or dinner.

Although some might be disappointed by the complete lack of photos, Faith’s creative recipes had me hooked as soon as I started thumbing through the book.  If, like me, you believe that casseroles can and should involve more than a can of this and a packet of that, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles just might be the book for you.  I’m happy to say that it will take up permanent residence on my already crowded cookbook shelf and I can’t wait to try more of the recipes.

Baked White Bean Dip with Rosemary and Parmesan
(reprinted with permission from page 70, “Not Your Mother’s Casseroles,” author Faith Durand, Harvard Common Press, Jan. 2011)

Casserole Dish: 1-quart gratin dish
Bake Time: 18 to 20 minutes
Servings: 4

one 15-ounce can cannellini or Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
one 3-inch sprig fresh rosemary (leaves only)
1 small shallot or 1/4 small red onion, chopped*
1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Pita chips, small rye toasts, or fresh cucumber slices, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease the gratin dish with olive oil.

2. Put the beans into a food processor along with the garlic, rosemary leaves, and shallot.  Blend in pulses until well pureed.

3. Add the yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper, and blend until creamy.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

4. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle evenly over the pureed white beans.  (At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)  Bake, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the dip is hot.  Serve immediately with pita chips, small rye toasts, or cucumber slices.

*The original recipe calls for two shallots, but I have found that one small small shallot works best.