White Bean Dip with Zesty Courgettes

4 June 2024 Dairy Free Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
Arguably one of those plates that underpromises yet over delivers in its deliciousness, this dish moves from a winter dip to a full on summer staple when topped with blistered, zesty courgettes. Using ingredients that are sometimes considered a little lacking in flavour and texture, they come into their own when blitzed and seared with the golden trifecta of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs, creating a hefty amount of magic that will keep you coming back for more.

This dish is a little gift.  There are two simple elements – the white bean dip, which takes only moments to whizz up, and the super quick zesty courgettes, both fantastic in their own rights, but when assembled together as a dip/warm salad/ vegetarian/vegan option they sing.  

Hummus and tahini regularly provide the perfect base or dip around here, but I just need to shake things up a little. This white bean dip is a fantastic alternative – simultaneously creamy yet delicate and somehow both light and deeply rich. 

Feel free to separate out these two elements and enjoy them in their individual glory to shake things up from time to time.  The courgettes are delicious stirred through pasta or grains and can be seared on the bbq if your coals are already hot.  

As courgettes tend to be bitter when out of season, I really only make this when they are peak sweetness.  During the cooler months I either serve the beans with a simple drizzle of olive oil and a little of the sesame sumac salt I used here or with some roasted red onions and all their jus.  You can also make this dip with cannellini beans if you happen to have them to hand. They tend to be a little less creamy but just as delicious. 

This is just as good when the courgettes are warm fresh out of the pan or served at room temperature.  

I cannot wait to hear how you make yours.  

For the White Bean Dip

  • 400g drained butter beans (I prefer the jars)
  • 1 garlic clove or 2 cloves confit garlic
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil (deepening on your beans – this helps the creaminess)

For the Zesty Courgettes

  • 750g (approx 3 medium) mixed courgettes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (use confit garlic if you have any to hand)
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • zest & juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp mixed chopped basil & mint (parsley and tarragon are also great)

Start by blitzing the beans.  In the small bowl of a food processor (or using a handheld blender or blender), add everything apart from the olive oil and give it a little whizz.  Add the olive oil and keep blitzing until everything is smooth and creamy.  Add a little more olive oil if necessary.  Taste for seasoning.  Depending on beans, they may need a little more lemon and salt. Put this to one side while you make the courgettes. 

For the courgettes, slice one of the smaller ones (of if they are all large, the thinner top sections) into rounds on a mandolin (if you have one) and leave aside in a colander until you are ready. To cut the remaining courgettes, slice the end at a 45 degree angle. Turn the courgette towards you and cut the opposite way to get a triangle.  Keep cutting at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock until you have a collection of pointed almost triangular shapes.  If the courgettes are slightly on the larger side, slice them in half lengthways before you cut into pieces. Thinly slice the garlic or grab a couple of confit garlic cloves.

Place a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the olive oil. Allow the pan to get a little hot (but not smoking).

When it is ready, add the courgettes, preferably in one layer, and wedge the garlic slices (or confit) in between.  Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, a good pinch of salt.  

Do not move the courgettes until they are browned on one side, and then start to shake them around in the pan.  They will cook for 3-4 minutes before shaking them around and then only keep them on the heat for another two minutes or so, removing them before they become too mushy.  

Remove from the heat and stir through the reserved courgette slices and the chopped herbs.

To assemble the dish, I like to use a plate with a good lip or a shallow bowl.  Generously schmear the dip on the base, making sure that there is more around the sides than in the middle.  Pile on the courgettes making sure you waste none of the seasoned oil in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with  lemon zest, a little lemon juice and a pinch more salt.  If you feel you are lacking in pan juices, drizzle over a little more oil.  

I like this with garlic toasts or crusty bread, fluffy pita or even foccacia to scoop and devour. 

Have you made this dish?

Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on info@buildingfeasts.com