Several months ago, I posted a cheesy bean dip, which is super simple, cheap, and which we love. It uses pinto beans (in their refried form). But not everybody loves pinto beans. In fact, I've found in my vast study of people's bean preferences (and by vast study I mean just watching various family members), that pinto beans rank a little low on the bean favorites list. Perhaps you've met these folks--they'll eat a white chili, but won't touch one with pinto and kidney beans. White beans do tend to have a milder flavor and a thin skin (as opposed to, say, a kidney bean). Or maybe it's a psychological thing--those white beans just tend to blend in better. When your loved ones eat them, they don't have to confront the fact that they are eating something from the magical fruit food group; all they see is cheese. Whatever the reason, there was a need for a cheesy white bean dip. I, my friends, have answered that call. I have to say that I like this one even better than our last bean dip (although--in all fairness, Kip says the original bean dip is his favorite, and the truth is we both like both).
I realize that dips often get relegated to the appetizer or "super bowl foods" categories, but I like to pluck them from their aperitif status and knight them into full main course glory (best metaphor ever). Bad metaphors aside, however, dips really are a great, easy dinner. All you need is a bag of corn chips (and maybe something cruciferous on the side if you want to be all righteous about it) and you've got a fairly healthy dinner on the table. Think of it as a casserole if it makes you feel better about things.
White Bean Cheesy Bean Dip
adapted from Heartbeet Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $8.00 with chicken and peppers; $6.500 without (about $1.00-1.50/serving)
beans: 1.25, sour cream: .70, lime: .25, chicken: 1.00, corn: .50, cheeses: 3.00, peppers: .50, salsa verde: .80
2 14 oz. cans white beans, drained (or about 2-2 1/2 C of your homemade white beans)
2/3 C sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of a lime
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 C shredded, cooked chicken (optional--it's good with or without)
1 C corn (1 can, drained works for this, or fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 C mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 C cheddar cheese
2/3 C red peppers, diced (optional; I love them, but Kip hates them, so I skipped this time around; they make it pretty though)
2/3 C salsa verde (note: I was running out when I made this and only used about 1/2 C--the world did not stop spinning)
Preheat oven to 375. Brush oil onto the bottom and side of a casserole dish (or a cast iron skillet--about 12-inch or an 8x8 inch square pan)
Add beans, sour cream, garlic, lime juice and cumin to a food processor. Puree until smooth. Taste and salt if needed. Stir in chicken (if using), corn, cilantro, and 1 C of cheese.
Spread this on your casserole pan. Then sprinkle on red peppers (if using) and top with the salsa verde. Cover this with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it's bubbling and just browned on top.
Serve with corn chips or carrot sticks or whatever sounds good to you.