Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip with Fresh Basil

Mariel here. I’m in the midst of moving from the city to the suburbs, so my mom has been spearheading the blog while I sort through my life… But I’m back this week and I’ve got another recipe in the hopper for next week so I won’t be neglecting Feast for too long!

On Easter Sunday, my step-mom and dad graciously hosted me, my husband and my brothers for dinner. Since I co-manage a food blog, I offered to bring a little something, but because my schedule has been somewhat obscene as of late – tax prep, myriad meetings with contractors, electricians, HVAC guys and painters, plus an endless stream of magazine deadlines – I opted for a quick and easy app. What’s easier than White Bean Dip? Healthy, delicious and it practically makes itself.

Ugh, why did I have to mess with a classic…

While I’ve made my own tried-and-true brew many times (as transcribed below), I “stumbled” across a concoction that also incorporated a bit of tomato paste. The author noted that the concentrated toms added a sweet depth to the beans and a pretty rosy hue – perfect for Easter, I thought smugly. Unfortunately, because white beans are so mild, the small amount of tomato paste completely overwhelmed the dip and I found it almost inedible. Despite my proclamations to steer clear of the offending appetizer, my dad and step-mom were kind enough to eat it. But I’m no dummy, it was garbage, which is doubly embarrassing when you allegedly know what you’re doing in the kitchen.

To reboot my own ego, I decided to remake the dip this week and was reminded how simpler is often better. This versatile spread is wonderfully creamy with a bright hint of basil and the warm sweetness of a whole head of roasted garlic. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar for a little acid – and a generous crack of black pepper – and I love to use this as a condiment on sandwiches, though it works just as well with plain old pita chips. The next time I head to dinner with the family, I’ll be sure to bring this rendition rather than the last…

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Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip with Fresh Basil
Makes about a pint

1 head of garlic – stock
19-oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – $1.39
6-8 medium-size fresh basil leaves – $2.50
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper – stock
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus some for brushing the garlic) – stock
1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar – stock
Salt, to taste – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $3.89

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove the papery outer layer of the garlic bulb (just enough so that the whole bulb stays intact), cut off the top ¼-inch of the bulb and brush with a little bit of olive oil. Wrap entirely with two layers of aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes, or until garlic is nice and soft. Let cool until you can handle comfortably and remove the individual skins off each clove.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, toss in the cannellini beans, roasted garlic cloves, basil leaves and black pepper, then puree. Gradually pour in the olive oil and Balsamic while the processor is running until you create a creamy paste. Taste and season with salt (to your liking).


  1. says

    Darlin’ daughter, I watched Dr. Oz at the gym this week while treading on the treadmill. The guru of all-things-good did a piece on the top 4 anti-cancer foods and guess what? White beans were at the top of his list! So well done on a gorgeous dip/photo and timely recipe ala Oz! When do I get a sample, BTW? xo

    • feastonthecheap says

      I’ve never used pink beans in this dip, so I can only recommend the white variety. Cannellini’s are so delicate and mild I’d stick with them to let the roasted garlic and basil shine through

  2. says

    A couple of us on Twitter were just sharing last night how much we LOVE roasted garlic…and then this is delivered to my inbox today. Perfect timing. I justify buying a gazillion garlic bulbs at Costco because I roast half of them and guess what I bought yesterday? I would eat this now for breakfast if they were done!

  3. Marci L. says

    I love white bean dip, and will definitely try this one! I agree, simple is good.


    P.S. I love the dip server it’s in! Where can I find one?

    • feastonthecheap says

      I love the server too! It was actually a wedding gift a few years ago so i have no clue where it’s from. I’ll pull it out and see if there are any logos on it and let you know!

      • Stacey says

        This sounds so good, can’t wait to try it. I would also like to find out about the server. It is really lovely.

  4. JKCinDC says

    Hi there, I’ve been following your blog for a while and have tried a few recipes from time to time. This one, by far, has been the best! I whipped it up in less than 15 minutes for a dinner party that I was going to and it got fabulous reviews! It was such a good party that I left it in the car overnight but since it was chilly out it was still good to go in the morning when I realized my mistake! In fact, it was even better after the flavors married! Thanks for a great and easy idea. I will make this again!

  5. says

    Well, rats. I just used up the last of my white beans last night, and now I’m seeing your wonderful dip. Looks like I need to get more beans – this looks really, really wonderful! And I’m always on the hunt for a good use of sriracha! And I love, love, love the photos.

  6. Terra says

    I love your blog!
    This recipe is so simple and yummy!!!
    It’s one of my new favorites to bring to parties :)
    Also, I love the serving tray in the photo. Where can I find one like it?

  7. says

    I love love love cannellini beans, this is so economical compared to making hummus and buying tahini! I am having a wine tasting and this is the perfect appetizer for all that comes after!!


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