Jacob's Cattle Bean Dip with Cucumbers

Ah, the weekend.  It's turning out to be a snowy one -- we've got at least 6 inches here in Portland, Maine.  Weekends are my favorite time for cooking.  I usually don't have to be anywhere during the day, so I have plenty of opportunities for experimenting and getting ideas from cookbooks and websites.  I also like to make meals more special because I get to eat all three with Andrew - we finally have the same days off together now! 
One thing I love to make for weekend meals is a hummus platter.  There's just something about having multiple communal dishes at a meal -- you can share and savor the different tastes together.  This dish is also great to whip up if you're having friends hang out at your place for the evening.  When I made this bean dip, I used some Jacob's Cattle Beans that I bought at the Farmers' Market.  If you don't have access to Jacob's Cattle beans, you can get the same brilliant purple/pink color from kidney beans.  The smoothness of this dip counters the crunch of the cucumbers, which I drizzle with a bit of salt. 

Local Bean Dip:
2 1/2 cups cooked beans If you're using canned beans, drain the liquid and rinse the beans1/2 cup water Jacob's cattle beans are THICK, so you might want to add in the water a little at a time if you're using kidney beans -- they might not absorb as much2-3 cloves garlic, smashed2-3 tablespoons tahini1 teaspoon paprika1 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon cumin1 teaspoon saltThrow all ingredients into a blender.  Blend well until completely smooth.  Taste.  Add more spices if desired.  Repeat until spiced to your liking.  You can probably guess that I usually add more spices.  But I'm also the one who "couldn't taste the ginger" in my overloaded with ginger wedding cake.  So proceed to add spices with caution!  Serve with veggies, homemade tortilla chips, or smear on sandwiches.  I like to add a dollop or two of this dip to any vegetables that I eat over the weekend.

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