Dilly White Bean and Beet Napoleons

by Gena on November 3, 2011

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Great response to my pumpkin and chocolate parfait! For those of you who asked, Irish Moss can be found through specialty stores and online; it’s not typically available at Whole Foods (yet). Right now, it’s available through The Raw Food World and Amazon. My personal favorite source is One Lucky Duck, where you can also purchase a host of other incredible raw food specialty items. It is not cheap stuff, but a little can go a long way, and I think it’s worth investing.

In addition to all of the pumpkin love going on on this blog, we’ve also been sharing in some major enthusiasm for beets lately. Most significantly, my sweet potato and beet nori rolls were an unexpected hit (I’m glad so many of you like them!). One reader even told me that it had been his first time using beets. That’s great, and I hope it’s the start of a trend! Beets are tremendously healthy vegetables, for oh-so-many reasons:

  • Beets are rich in anti-inflammatory phyto-nutrients
  • Beets are extremely rich in antioxidants
  • Rich in folate
  • Rich in manganese, potassium, and other minerals
  • An excellent source of betaine, a compound that is shown to lower homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that, in excessive quantities, has been linked to heart disease; not incidentally, a buildup of homocysteine is often attributed to meat eating.

For all of these reasons, and because beets are absolutely delicious, I eat them frequently, and even more when they’re in bloom at autumn farmers’ markets. I’m often asked how I prepare beets: the short answer is that I like them best when they’re raw and grated into my nutrient dense salads! But I also love to roast them at 400 degrees in tinfoil for about an hour, slipping the skins off in cold water when I’m done. They’re also easy to boil, and they make for fantastic soup bases, raw or cooked (check out my raw borscht if you’re curious!)

The following meal is actually inspired by borscht, but only insofar as it contains both beets and dill. It features a new dip—dilly white bean dip—that I’m kind of in love with, and it’s altogether a joy to eat. You can use either raw or cooked beet layers: I’ve made it twice now, with both varieties, and I preferred the raw one, but I’ll warn you that you have to slice the beets incredibly thin if you want to avoid cooking them. No matter what, I guarantee that this is a quick, easy, and beautiful part of a meal.

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Dilly White Bean and Beet Napoleons (vegan, can be semi-raw, gluten and soy free)

Serves 3-4

For the white bean and dill spread:

1 can cannellini beans, drained
1/4 cup cashews
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Water
1/3 cup dill, tightly packed

1) Grind the cashews in a food processor till finely ground.

2) Add cannellini beans, lemon, salt, and pepper. Run the motor, drizzling in water until the dip reaches a consistency you like. This will probably be 1/3-1/2 of a cup. I like this dip slightly thinner than hummus.

3) Add dill, and pulse to combine.

For the napoleons:

About 10 thin slices of beet, raw or cooked

Layer one slice of beet on a plate, and cover with a layer of dilly white bean dip. Add another layer of beet, another layer of dip, and top with one final beet layer and a dollop of white bean dip. Serve, garnished with fresh dill.

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Look, for a moment, at the insane, silky creaminess of this fresh and tasty dip:

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Like clouds. But tastier than clouds.

I loved this dish, and I know you guys will, too. Serve it with a big salad, a medley of vegetable sides, and/or a whole grain of choice (I suspect quinoa or cous cous would be lovely here). And I’d even double the dip, which is so tasty that it’s sure to disappear from your kitchen quickly.

Have a lovely evening, everyone!

xo

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie @ Serenity in the Storm November 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

That dip looks amazing! I go back and forth about how I feel about beets, but dill is one of my favorite herbs! Can’t wait to make this. Thanks for sharing!

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Amanda November 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

I love beets and was just trying to figure out what I could make with the cannellini beans in my pantry. This is going on my must make list! The flavor combination sounds outstanding.

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Ali November 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Wow! Those look beautiful! It is funny, I just made a dip with dill, only it had a base of zucchini instead of beans. I wonder if yours would be good that way too? I might just be a touch thinner, but the flavour would be there, and it would be all raw that way!

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Gena November 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

You could certainly use zucchini, though if you did that, I’d honestly increase the cashews by quite a lot (I’m talking a cup here) because it’ll be really, really watery otherwise. That’s actually the reason I don’t make my zucchini hummus more (plus I like the protein in the beans).

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

This: “Most significantly, my sweet potato and beet nori rolls were an unexpected hit” <– Im not surprised b/c those rolls looked awesome. The crunchy/smooth and contrasting textures and flavors I think I would adore. Must make.

And beets..one of the highest sources of plant-based iron. Although some people need to take iron pills, and some people don't process certain forms of iron as well as others, when I was pregnant I couldn't tolerate iron pills b/c of bad morning (all-day) sickness so instead ate beets like they were going out of style and my iron levels were always great. So I am a big believer in the power of beets.

Love your dip too…great flavors!

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Lauren November 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I love beets and cannelni beans! I must have this! :)

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BroccoliHut November 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Yum! I love finding creative uses for beets–thanks for this!

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Ela November 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Beautiful and so elegant! I’m assuming that you’re referring to fresh dill in the recipe–in which case, those of us who no longer have access to fresh dill could probably use dried, at about a tablespoon or so. I love beets and dill together, and both visually and taste-wise, the bean dip as part of that ensemble looks great.
Happy evening to you!

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Gena November 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

Indeed, fresh dill, but dried would be fine if you diminish the quantity as you suggest :)

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Hannah November 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Ooh this dish looks like something we would serve at the vegan restaurant I work at! Our chef did a special of cashew almond cheese layered between thin raw beet slices with a sundried tomato pesto. It was out of this world.

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Gena November 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

Oh good lord, that sounds good. I want to visit your restaurant!

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Hannah November 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm

You should!! If you ever get up to Massachusetts, haha

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Christine (The Raw Project) November 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

This looks fabulously tasty and simple! Perfect for holiday gatherings, thanks!

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Hannah November 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Beetroot and dill has always been one of my favourite combinations! I make a beetroot risotto where I grate some beetroot and cook it with the rice to create a glorious colour, and then roast cubes of beetroot to stir in at the end. Which really, is just me rambling pointlessly, because right now this is what I want in my beetroot-lovin’ life.

And yes, as an Aussie I believe in the necessity of the root ;)

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Casey November 4, 2011 at 12:50 am

Beets + Casey = Love Forever.
‘Nuff said. ;)

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Heather November 4, 2011 at 6:27 am

These photos are stunning – enough to turn a beet-fearer into a beet-lover, if I do say so myself. :-)

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Jess @ Jess Go Bananas November 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

It looks beautiful! Beautiful Beets! :D

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Redhead in the Kitchen November 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

Sadly, I just ran out of hummus. But happily (!) now I plan to make both this bean dip and hummus this weekend. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

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Eat Hike Sleep Repeat November 4, 2011 at 9:36 am

I’m feeling pretty excited about this dip. Beautiful presentation too!

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Hannah November 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

I’m thinking that the dill sauce might work beautifully over regular wheat pasta, too… Since I’m craving warmth, I think that would really hit the spot!

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Heather @ Better With Veggies November 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

This looks delicious – I love beets and never have any good creative ideas for how to work with them. I can’t wait to give this a try, it looks so fancy! :)

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FoodFeud November 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This sounds really awesome. I love beets with dill, but a creamy sauce must take this to a whole new level!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) November 5, 2011 at 6:03 am

That dill sauce/dip looks so creamy! Just a question – are the cashews soaked before you grind them up?

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Skye November 7, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hmm… I actually don’t like beets. But I could be convinced to give them another try with this recipe!

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles November 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I love all these beet recipes! I’ve been wanting to use more beets but was unsure how except in borscht and juice. I’m also glad you linked to your raw borscht recipe. Dill is one of my favorite herbs, can’t wait to give this a try!

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Melissa (Be Delicious) November 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I’m going to make this tonight, and I must say, I’m incredibly excited :) I love your recipes, so simple, yet so delicious.

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Jill Z November 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

So flavorful! i roasted the beets, and added very little water to the white beans, so it ended up being more of a paste, but it was very filling and good. I’ve been serving this as a side dish with new entrees, and friends and family are loving it! I have a lot of leftover dill if you have any more ideas for that =)

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