Feta, White Bean, Spinach Dip with Toasted Pine Nuts and Basil Pesto

Gluten free

Serves 12 as part of a selection of starters

Such a great dip, top with fragrant, fresh basil pesto, a drizzle of olive oil and toasted pine nuts and see it disappear off the plate


19seventies girl loves a good dip at a gathering and this one definitely trumps them all. It is full of Mediterranean flavours, with a smooth creamy texture, crunch on top from the pine nuts followed by the oozy fresh flavours from the basil pesto. I have used tinned beans as a time saver but you can soak and cook your own beans ahead. Fresh pesto is really the only way to go. Just the colour of bought pesto in a supermarket makes me want to run the other way. Pesto is quick and easy to make or you might be lucky and have a market like I do that sells a variety of fresh pesto.

You need

2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, steamed lightly for 2 minutes

1 x 400g tin cannellini or butter beans, drained and rinsed

Zest and juice of one large lemon

1 ½ tablespoons of unhulled tahini

Pinch sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

To serve:

2-3 tablespoons fresh basil pesto

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1-2 tablespoons olive oil for drizzling

To make:

Place beans, tahini, 1 tablespoon olive oil. Lemon juice and zest, feta cheese, steamed spinach leaves in food processor and blend until smooth.

Season to taste and add more lemon juice if needed.

Heat a heavy based frypan on medium heat. Add pine nuts and toss to lightly toast, don’t leave these unattended as they change colour very quickly.

Spread dip mix thickly onto serving platter and drizzle with pesto,  toasted pine nuts and extra olive oil.  Serve with gluten free crackers.

Basil Pesto

Pesto is quick and easy to make, especially in summer if you have basil growing in the garden. There are many versions using rocket, coriander and different nuts but 19seventies girl likes the more traditional Italian basil pesto. It really is the pièce de résistance of this recipe drizzled over the feta/ bean dip at the end. The fresh pesto will glisten with a beautiful green colour of the basil combined with the fruity virgin olive oil. I keep pesto for up to a week in the fridge using it with chicken,  rice dishes, such as green peas with rice and turkey meatballs.

You need

A mortar and pestle or a food processor or blender

2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves washed and removed from the stalk

1 large clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of pecorino cheese, I use sheep’s but any will do or you can use parmesan or Romano depending on your taste.

1 tablespoon of pine nuts

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

zest  of 1/2 lemon

sea salt to taste

To make

Roll up your sleeves and use some muscle power.

Using a pestle and mortar crush and grind the garlic and salt to a paste.

Grind the rest of the ingredients gradually, drizzling in the olive oil as you go.

Store in a screw top jar in the fridge.










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