Wednesday, November 14, 2012

White Bean Spread with Fennel

Fennel is in season, and it's worth incorporating this cousin of celery into your culinary repertoire. Lightly licorice-flavored, fennel is good cooked or raw. I'm normally not a huge fan of raw fennel, but it's just right here, stirred into a chunky white bean spread for contrasting crunch and flavor.

  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) rinsed and drained can cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and cannellini beans in a food processor; pulse 5 to 10 times, until the beans are coarsely chopped.

2. Combine the bean mixture with the fennel bulb, fennel fronds, and red onion in a serving bowl.

Try the spread as a dip - it works great for raw veggies:

Or for bagel chips. A good vegan option is the melba snacks from Devonsheer:

My favorite way to enjoy this spread though, was on bagels, whether plain:

Or turned into a toasted bagel sandwich with slices of tomato:

It works equally well as a sandwich spread on your favorite sliced bread:

Nutrition Info:
5 servings (1/4 cup), Calories 130 

Tasting Notes:
I enjoyed the novel texture of this dip compared to other bean spreads, with chunky fennel and red onion in each bite. Great, subtle licorice undertones from the fennel. I've never used the fronds in this way, and they reminded me of chopped dill. The spread could use a bit more salt and a touch more lemon juice, but was enjoyable on every veggie dipped into it, from snow peas to bell peppers to carrot sticks.


I made a second batch and served with the Everything Bagel Chips from Trader Joe's. Although the company doesn't helpfully mark products as vegan, as Whole Foods does, they do have a printable pdf of vegan products, including these bagel chips.

The salty, onion-y flavor was fantastic with the bean spread, helping to offset my desire for more salt and lemon juice in the tasting notes above.

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