The Goodness of Garlic: White Bean Spread with Sage

Celebrate 2004’s Herb of the Year.

| January/February 2004

Makes about 2 cups
This simple spread combines the protein of beans along with the goodness of raw garlic to make a delicious, nutritious lunch or tasty appetizer when served with a loaf of crusty bread, radishes and imported olives. I like cannellini beans; however, Great Northern, navy and garbanzo beans also work well. For an additional tang, I sometimes chop imported black or green olives and add a few tablespoons to the spread, or use 1 tablespoon of chopped capers.The spread also is good on bagels or pitas, or on a bed of salad greens, and it travels well. You can substitute savory or rosemary for the sage.

  • 2 cups cooked white beans or one (19-ounce) can of beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves or 4 to 5 dried sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Few pinches fresh red pepper flakes, optional
  1. Put beans in a bowl and mash about half of them with a fork or a potato masher. If using fresh sage leaves, pile them in a stack, cut the leaves crosswise into very thin strips and add them to the beans. If using dried sage leaves, crumble them into the beans.
  2. Add olive oil, vinegar, garlic and celery, and toss well. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.
  3. Let stand, covered, for about 30 minutes before serving. Taste for seasoning. Serve at room temperature. If refrigerated, allow to reach room temperature before serving. 

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