Five 3-Ingredient Bean Dips for Smart Snacking

Five 3-Ingredient Bean Dips for Smart Snacking

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Kelli Foster
Jan 19, 2016
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Here's the thing about snacking: it shouldn't be difficult, and there's no reason why it can't be nutritious. Enter these three-ingredient bean dips. All you need are a few ingredients pulled from the pantry and a blender; in minutes, you've got a healthful, delicious treat.

So skip the store-bought dips — homemade dip is easier than you think.

3-Ingredient Bean Dips

These colorful dips rely on just three ingredients — a variety of canned beans plus two other basics that will boost the flavor way, way up.

Yes, you can certainly soak and prep dried beans to make these dips, but for the sake of simplicity and in the name of a last-minute snack, I'm relying on canned beans.

If you're wondering what to serve with these dips, the simple answer is anything and everything. Pair these dips with a tray of veggies. Serve them with potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, pitas, and bread sticks. You can even use them to liven up a sandwich.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The Important First Step

Often, when we use canned beans, the first step is to drain and rinse the beans — but not here. This is one of the few times to skip draining and rinsing altogether. You'll get a better dip for it.

That liquid is arguably the most crucial ingredient in blending these dips together. As I'll mention below, the first step in making each of these dips is separating the beans from their liquid. But don't pour it out — it's what you'll use to manipulate the texture and consistency of your dip. For some of these, you'll need at least a little bit of liquid to help the ingredients blend together.

From there, it's all up to you. Want a thick and chunky dip? Use less liquid. Want a smoother, thin dip? Add more liquid. Start out with a small amount (which I'll suggest for each dip below), and add more as you go until your dip reaches the consistency you like.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Black-Eyed Peas + Pickled Jalapeños + Bacon

Makes about 2 cups

Black-eyed peas have a distinct smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the kick from pickled jalapeños (along with some of the juice), as well as crispy pieces of bacon.

Separate the beans from the liquid (without draining or rinsing), and set the liquid aside. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can of black-eyed peas, 2 tablespoons of the bean liquid, 1/3 cup pickled jalapeños, and 2 tablespoons of brine in a food processor or blender and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Add more of the bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. Stir in 6 crumbled strips of cooked bacon, and season to taste with salt and fresh-ground pepper.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

White Beans + Charred Eggplant + Harissa

Makes about 2 cups

Think of this as a three-layer bean dip. They're not layers you can actually see, but you'll certainly taste them. The mild white beans are made even creamier and get a touch of smokiness from the charred eggplant flesh, plus a spiced (but not spicy) aftertaste from the harissa paste.

Set the broiler to high. Halve 1 medium eggplant lengthwise, place it on a rimmed baking sheet cut-side up, and brush the top with olive oil. Cook under the broiler until the top is charred, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, then scoop out flesh.

Separate the beans from the liquid (without draining or rinsing), and set the liquid aside. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, the charred eggplant flesh, and 1 1/2 teaspoons harissa in a food processor or blender and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Add some of the bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground pepper.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Black Beans + Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce + Greek Yogurt

Makes about 2 cups

Opposites attract in this creamy black bean dip, where spicy chipotle chiles meet cool Greek yogurt.

Separate the beans from the liquid (without draining or rinsing), and set the liquid aside. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, 1/2 of a canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add some of the bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Chickpeas + Avocado + Cilantro

Makes about 2 cups

Mild versions of guacamole and hummus converge in this chunky chickpea dip.

Separate the beans from the liquid (without draining or rinsing), and set the liquid aside. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, about half of the bean liquid, 1 large avocado (peeled and pit removed), and 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves in a food processor or blender and process until reaching the preferred consistency. Add more of the bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Kidney Beans + Tahini + Roasted Garlic

Makes about 2 cups

This dip is just one reason I love keeping a stash of roasted garlic in the freezer. While the traditional recipe uses chickpeas, this savory pink kidney bean dip will remind you of a garlicky hummus.

Separate the beans from the liquid (without draining or rinsing), and set the liquid aside. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, about half of the bean liquid, 1 medium head of roasted garlic, and 1/4 cup tahini in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add more of the bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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