An easy, herby summer vegetarian recipe that can dress up as an appetizer or a main!
A good friend of mine has switched to a mostly veggie diet, so when I invited him over for dinner, I was excited to try to come up with a menu that was A) meatless and B) delicious and filling. I think I did it, dudes! Yes, the meatloaf lady rocked a vegetarian recipe!
I had gifted my pal Justin some Rancho Gordo beans for Christmas (what, you guys don’t give people beans as gifts?), and he mentioned he wasn’t sure what to do with them yet, to make them the star of a meal. So that’s where I started. I tossed around an herby, vegetarian recipe cassoulet situation, but it’s hot out, so that felt off. Chili – same. So I ended up landing on a white bean and garlic-y puree on fresh grilled bread and topped it with fresh herbs from the garden and some cherry tomatoes. Look at this beauty!
Lucky for me, everyone seemed to dig this dish! The grilled bread was the perfect landing pad for the creamy white bean and garlic spread (if you have three hours of lead time, I highly suggest you make Life as a Strawberry’s Easy Crusty French Bread – it’s easy and fantastic tasting). The fresh basil and Mighty Vine tomatoes were the perfect addition for that summer kick. I topped with more olive oil and finishing salt and voila – a new toast thing I’m majorly into! Huzzah!
Just in case you need any suggestions on what to serve with this thang, we started out with incredible celery soup from Feasting at Home. And then as the main with the toast, we also served Rodney Scott’s grilled vegetable salad (yes, you have to buy his book to get the recipe!) – which is an absolute game changer for summer salads. It’s incredible. It does require a lot o’ ingredients, but it is WORTH IT. Yum yum yum.
We all had a lovely night (and noshed on some berry crumble for dessert too)! I’d definitely make all of these recipes again, we were all full and happy by the end of the night. Win, win!
White Bean + Roasted Garlic Puree on Grilled Bread with Basil + Tomatoes
- Blender or Food Processor
- 1 Cup Dry Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca Bean Can substitute other white beans, but recommend dry beans.
- 1 Head Roasted Garlic
- 1 Tsp Herbs de Provence
- 1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil + More as Needed
- 6 Slices Fresh French Bread Can use store bought
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil (For Grilling Bread)
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Basil
- 1 Cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
- Rinse the beans under tap water, then place them in a large dutch oven.
- Fill the pot with water so that there are at least two inches of water covering the beans.
- Put the beans over high heat on the stove, and bring to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer (this will cook for approx. 2 hours).
- About an hour into cooking the beans, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Then, slice off the top 1/4 of the garlic head so that it remains intact, but you can see the garlic cloves inside. Pour a tbs of olive oil over the top, then wrap in foil (sealing it) and place it in the oven. Cook this for 40 minutes, then remove and set aside.
- After approximately 2 hours my beans were done, but this will vary based on the type of bean you are using (and whether you soak or not – I did not). You want them still with a bit of bite, and definitely not mushy. Once yours are done, drain the beans and set aside.
- Next, add the beans, the roasted garlic cloves (removed from head of garlic), 1 tsp of herbs de provence, and 1/2 tsp salt to the food processor or blender.
- Pulse the mixture on low to start, then turn to medium speed as you slowly add the olive oil until a smooth texture develops. The amount of olive oil you need will depend on the type of bean you chose to use, but add enough olive oil so the puree is still slightly thick in consistency, but spreadable. Scrape down the sides a couple of times to ensure all the beans get mixed in well. Taste for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.
- For best results for the bread, brush the fresh bread with olive oil and grill for just a few minutes until each side has a nice char to it. If you don't have a grill hot and at the ready, you can also toast in a toaster oven or the oven.
- Now to stack it on up! Top the grilled bread with a healthy few dollops of the bean puree, the fresh sliced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and a splash of olive oil and some finishing salt.
- Enjoy outside on a hot summer day with some crisp white wine! Cheers!