What a Can Can Do

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Looking for a quick, healthy pick-me-up? With a can of cannellini, or any small white beans, you can whir together a nutritious and savory spread, great for an afternoon snack, a quick appetizer, or a little something to nosh with evening drinks. Though similar to hummus, this purée differs a bit with a French flair, and is particularly apropos as autumnal hors d’oeuvres. Thickened with bread, it’s a substantial snack that lends appeal to any colorful array of raw vegetables, from carrots to peppers to fennel. It’s also a high-protein cracker companion that will give you the energy to carry on. Whether you’re dancing the cancan or taking on any other part in life’s great cabaret, a can of cannellini can give you a start toward some fabulous easy entertaining.

Cannellini Bean Dip

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained (about 1 ¾ cups)

1 large garlic clove, crushed

½ cup diced bread

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon hot sauce, optional

Paprika and chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Raw vegetables, sliced baguette, or whole-grain crackers for serving

Reserve ¼ cup of the beans for garnish. Place the rest of the beans in a food processor or blender, along with the garlic, bread, ¼ cup olive oil, water, cumin, salt and hot sauce. Puree until very smooth, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to help combine the ingredients.

Transfer the dip to a shallow serving dish and create a well in the center. Place the reserved beans in the well, sprinkle the dip with paprika and parsley, if using, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Serve with raw vegetables and whole-grain crackers.

Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin’s Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.