Butter bean dip with crudites

The butter bean dip makes a filling salad meal tor 4, or a starter foFinishing off the dip with extra oil drizzled on top is usual in Middle Eastern countries, where dips and pates made from pulses are very popular. If you do not like too oily a taste, this can be easily omitted.


serves 4
100 g (4 oz) dried butter beans, soaked in cold water overnight
4 - 6 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cucumber, cut into sticks
2 celery stalks, cut into sticks
2 carrots, cut into sticks
1 small green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
1 small red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips bunch of radishes


1. Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Put them in a large saucepan, cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, half cover with a lid and simmer for about 1 1/4 hours or until the beans are tender. Add more water to the pan during the cooking time if necessary.

2. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Put the beans in a blender with 4 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, garlic, if using, a little salt and pepper and 4 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Blend until thick and smooth, adding a little more liquid if the mixture is too thick.

3. Taste and adjust seasoning, then spoon the mixture into a small bowl and fork over the top; or heap the mixture up in the centre of a large flat serving plate.

4. Serve the crudites in a shallow basket or salad bowl, or stand the bowl of dip in the centre of a large plate and arrange the crudites around the edge of the plate. If you like, drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the top of the dip just before serving. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving and serve the dip chilled.

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