Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Giada's Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip: A Healthy Snack for Getting Back on Track

We are declaring our resolutions this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs—those things we want to add more of to our lives, or do less of / take away, and hopefully this time we will stick to them for longer than it takes to announce them. ;-) Rather than calling them resolutions, I prefer looking at it as just recalibrating my goals and it doesn't have to be limited to the new year--you can do it any time. Right now I am working on getting back to some healthier eating since I lost some focus over the holiday season, and getting more vegetables--particularly those of the leafy green persuasion back into my regular diet.

You see I was eating a lot of leafy greens until a few months ago when my CSA box and I went on a bit of a break. Our relationship was getting stale, we were not moving forward anymore and we just kept repeating the same old things (namely kale), over and over, week in and week out. The mystery and all the fun went out of it and it became a chore to use up the constant flow of giant bunches of "green leafys" in different ways. So I took a little break and spent my time with other veggies. But I am ready to try again! For now I am picking up my produce from the farmers market instead of being committed to a CSA, and my goal is to find my fondness for all things green and leafy all over again.

This week it was baby spinach that was striking my fancy and this gorgeously green Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip from Giada. I have enjoyed Giada’s other white bean dips (like the ones here and here), and this version with vitamins A, C and K, iron, folate and maganese from the spinach, and of course all the fiber from the beans is a good healthy snack to nosh on, especially when paired with some toasted whole wheat pita chips that I adapted from another of Giada’s recipes, flavoring them with a little cumin and oregano.

You can find the recipe at Food Network here, and the recipe for the pita chips here.

Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip
Giada De Laurentiis
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6-oz) bags baby spinach
1 (15-oz) can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 of the spinach and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Place the remaining olive oil, spinach mixture, cannelloni beans, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.

Blend until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Serve with endive spears, crostini or pita chips

Notes/Results: Simple and tasty with a nice “green” flavor. I did add some extra lemon juice and garlic to the mix, because that’s just how I roll. ;-) I definitely recommend them for the extra flavor boost it gives the spinach and beans, as the dip is mild—not in a bad way, just mild. The balsamic adds a nice layer of flavor too--so don't leave it out and use a good one. This dip is great with veggies, or could even served pesto-style over some pasta, or used as a sandwich spread. It’s simple to make, healthy, hearty and green and I will make it again.

You can check out what the other IHCC participants are resolving to do by going to the post here, and clicking on the links.

Has the New Year inspired you to make any changes or set any goals?


  1. wow love this super healthy and vibrant color

  2. Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip is just too good to eat.I made it yesterday.Actually in my home no one likes spinach but this when i made this recipe at home it was liked by all.

  3. This green dip is just perfect to detox from all the holiday exaggerations. Happy New Year Deb!

  4. That looks wonderful! WHat a fabulous way to get a big hit of veg. Bet it'd be lovely with a grilled salmon fillet on top.

  5. Looks wonderful, Deb - amazing colour and love that you added extra lemon juice & garlic! Like the idea of the balsamic in here too :-)

  6. "Recalibrate my goals". Yes. that is EXACTLY what I need to do! Well it seems like you're off to an excellent start because this dish is super green and sounds super delicious!

  7. Excellent idea! I love both spinach and cannelinis and dip, Yum!
    I agree w your philosophy on recalibrating your diet, that's exactly what I'm attempting right now! Just more of the things that make me feel healthier! I'll have to head over to I heart cooking clubs next!

  8. Delicious and healthy .... works for me!!!!

  9. Super delicious and healthy dip, what a pretty green color too!

  10. Mmm, yummy! Who knew they grew kale in Hawaii? I thought it was a cold climate green.
    I'll send this post to my neighbour, who is newly lactose intolerant and who has just discovered the joy of whizzing a can of beans up in the fp.

  11. I love the exuberant color of this dip. The green is so pretty! I'm also curious about the addition of the balsamic vinegar. I think that would be a really tasty addition. Definitely want to try and make this recipe.

    I'd like to add more greens to my diet too. I really love them, but find that I don't cook them often enough because the rest of my family doesn't care for them. I'm getting ready to try my first Green Machine this morning. I'm crossing my fingers that I like it.

  12. Bored of kale? No way!! Gosh, I am just getting into it! Be prepared for the attack of kale salads. :)

    This dip looks incredibly tasty though. Love spinach, love beans, love lemon!

    Healthy food doesn't have to taste yucky!

  13. I made this dip a few weeks ago - mine was very spinachy! My spinach was extra strong tasting and I thought it was just a bit overwhelming. I tried to thin it out by adding more olive oil and lemon to it which seemed to work. It's such a pretty dip!


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