This post is lovingly dedicated to stepfather, who seems to have a real love affair with butter. I have seen him on several occasions eat it sliced on crackers like cheese – it’s amazing. Don’t get me wrong, butter is totally a delicious indulgence for me once in a while, but we all need to be aware that it is one of the most concentrated forms of animal fat that makes us, well, fat too.
Since the last post, which included butter beans, I experimented with the ones left over from the salad recipe. Pondering over their creamy texture and rich flavour, I came up with this simple alternative spread to butter! Now obviously beans will never be butter, nor can you cook with them like butter, or bake with them like butter, but you can whir them up with a few other ingredients to make something worthy of your most discriminating cracker.
Butter beans, also referred to as lima beans, are a total super food. They are loaded with protein (much like other legumes), and when eaten in combination with whole grains and whole grain products they provide the protein comparable to that found in meat or dairy foods without the high calorie content or saturated fat. And when you eat butter beans instead of animal products, you also experience the health benefits of dietary fiber, which lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, prevents constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. Just one cup of lima beans will give you 65.8% of the daily value for fiber.
This recipe is incredibly versatile, so I have just laid out a basic version for you to experiment with. Because this is essentially a bean dip, you can add as many flavours as you like – try roasted garlic, fresh herbs, spices, chilies, steamed vegetables, other oils (flax, for example would be a great choice!)…the list goes on as far as your imagination.
I chose to put in a few pinches of turmeric because it turns the dip a slightly yellow colour, just for kicks! It does not add any flavour, but as a bonus turmeric’s anti-bacterial properties help to retard food spoilage, for a longer life in the fridge. Pretty neat, eh?
You can use canned butter beans if it’s all you have available, but the flavour is far superior when you cook them yourself.
1 cup dried butter beans
3-4 Tbsp. cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
sea salt to taste
a couple pinches of turmeric (optional)
1. Soak beans for 8 hours (or overnight) in pure water. Drain, rinse well and place in pot with enough water to cover them by a few inches.
2. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until tender.
3. Drain and rinse. Allow to cool.
4. Place cooled beans and other ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Done!
5. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps for about a week.
And I couldn’t help but include this picture. The other day as I was rinsing off my beans after cooking, I noticed the veins running though them so closely resembled lungs! Wow! Just when I think food has amazed and inspired me to very the limit, it pulls out one more jaw-dropping detail that brings me to my knees.