White Bean Hummus Style Dip with Basil, Pine Nuts and Meyer Lemon

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This post is part of a group called Progressive Eats, a virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month is hosted by Jane Evans Bonacci, the author of The Heritage Cook. We’re featuring aphrodisiac-filled dishes perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day meal. At the end of the post you will find all the delicious recipes including drinks, appetizers, main course, sides dishes and dessert!

White bean basil hummus style dip with pine nuts and meyer lemon

White Bean Hummus Style Dip – A New Twist on an Old Tradition

In the United States, hummus is generally eaten as a dip for carrots and pita chips. In Israel and other countries in the Middle East, hummus is a meal to be shared with friends and family, accompanied by pita bread fresh from the oven, bean or meat toppings on the hummus, and sometimes falafel and the ubiquitous Israeli chopped salad. I’ve served this dip as an appetizer but white beans are high in protein and you could certainly turn this into a vegan or vegetarian main course.

Is it Hummus if you use White Beans?

The word hummus, in both Arabic and Hebrew, actually means chickpea as well as denoting the spread made from the protein-filled bean. When I developed this recipe for white bean hummus and called it so, my social media friend and brilliant chef and co-author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook, Sami Tamimi was quick to correct me – if it’s not made with chickpeas, it’s not hummus. But what I do borrow from hummus, is the method for making it. Using ice water as part of the liquid and letting it whir in the food processor for several minutes – not just until smooth. I taught this dip to a cooking class and they were amazed by the change in texture from “just combined” to several minutes more of whizzing in the food processor.

White Bean Hummus Style Dip with no toppings added

Basil and Pine Nuts – A LOVEly Addition

But where does the aphrodisiac part of white bean hummus style dip come into play? Well according to some of my online research basil and pine nuts both fall in the “love food” category. And if you are already a pesto lover, you know they marry well together. As for finding basil year round, I have seen it here in Northern California even when it is far too cold to grow it, so I’m hoping you can rustle some up year round where you live too. If not, see if your grocer carries Gourmet Garden lightly dried herbs – you can substitute in some of their basil instead using the equivalents they suggest on the package – about half as much dried as fresh.

White Bean Hummus Style Dip topped with Toasted Pine Nuts, Marash Pepper, and Olive Oil

Optional Toppings and Delightful Dippers

Toppings are the best part of making this dip – use your creativity. Toasted pine nuts are highly recommended – adding great flavor and texture – but if your pantry includes some middle eastern spices – try za’atar, Turkish/Syrian peppers like marash and aleppo, sumac, and of course don’t forget a good glug of your favorite olive oil – one that you would use in a salad dressing uncooked.

As for what to dip in it – fresh vegetables are perfect such as persian cucumbers, carrots, radish, snow peas. And some pita chips or fresh pita bread pairs beautifully as well. Leftovers? Don’t forget to spread it on your sandwiches or make a really hip “toast” with this dip, some avocado, and finish it with za’atar, dukkah, or just some salt and pepper.

Hope you enjoy this month’s #ProgressiveEats menu and have a LOVEly Valentine’s Day.


White bean basil hummus style dip with pine nuts and meyer lemon
5 from 3 votes

White Bean Hummus Style Dip with Basil, Pine Nuts and Meyer Lemon

This hummus-style dip is like a burst of sunshine in the winter and a perfect celebration of the season in warmer months. Using the method used by many modern chefs for making a super creamy hummus, you let this whiz in the food processor for far longer than it takes for it to "just combine". The result is texturally sublime, a perfect foil for fresh veggies, crispy pita chips or fresh baked pita bread.
Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 149 kcal


  • 2 15 ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans or white kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice regular lemon works too
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic, roasted roasting is optional
  • 1 ounce fresh basil or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin OR oregano if possible, use whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground OR use dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons ice water

Optional Toppings

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 4 teaspoons za'atar
  • 1/2 teaspoon marash pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sumac


  1. Pulse the white beans in the food processor 10 - 15 times until partially mashed.
  2. Add tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, cumin (or oregano), and salt and pepper to the food processor and continue to mix for 1 minute. Pour in ice water and continue mixing for an additional 3 - 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and texture, adjust if necessary, and pulse to combine.
  3. To serve, spread hummus in a serving bowl and top with olive oil, za'atar, marash pepper, sumac, and pine nuts to taste. Serve with fresh pita, pita chips, and/or vegetables for dipping.


Love Foods: Aphrodisiac Foods / Foods for Valentine’s Day



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White bean basil hummus style dip with pine nuts and meyer lemon

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23 Responses to White Bean Hummus Style Dip with Basil, Pine Nuts and Meyer Lemon

  1. Ashley I bestreviewofproduct February 5, 2018 at 8:32 am #

    5 stars
    Great ideas for Valentine’s preparation. Nice use of white beans in hummus, it makes it all the more nutritious and flavorful. Perfect dip for carrots and cucumber.

    • Beth Lee February 5, 2018 at 8:35 am #

      Thanks Ashley! Let me know if you give it a try. Have a great week.

  2. Hannah February 1, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    What an inspired dip, Beth! I love that it’s nutritious as well as tasty. I’m not surprised that it has been a hit. A nice spin on traditional hummus! Meyer lemons and basil sure add some bright flavor, especially for this time of season. xx

    • Beth Lee February 3, 2018 at 8:19 pm #

      Always nice to see your name in the comments. Miss your posts (and I’ve missed mine.). Trying to find the joy and the energy.

  3. Ansh February 1, 2018 at 10:32 am #

    Anything topped with pine nuts is my “crack” ! But white Bean “hummus” just makes it crack plus crack for me. Wonderful texture and I would probably eat it on everything!

    • Beth Lee February 3, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

      Crack plus crack – Love it. Yes definitely a great sandwich spread aside from the ultimate vegetable and pita dipper.

  4. Rita January 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    5 stars
    Great, tasty idea Beth! I’ve made “hummus” from lima beans, but never thought to do the basil and pine nut part. Yumm

    • Beth Lee January 31, 2018 at 9:44 pm #

      Try it, you’ll like it! And I’m sure you’ll think of another clever twist.

  5. Barbara | Creative Culinary January 31, 2018 at 3:06 pm #

    I am a hummus virgin but how ironic that I bought the ingredients last week to make some! I did buy chickpeas because I wanted to use my pressure cooker to make them but using canned beans? How much easier…what a GREAT idea!

    I will take with me some of your tips for how to serve it though, I had yet to put everything together. And I will have to make this next; I so love basil and pine nuts together. Great job Beth; I’m inspired!

    • Beth Lee January 31, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

      So here’s the story on the beans – no doubt that starting with dry beans is always the best. And I could write a short post just on skin on or skin off with the beans. But my hope is that people will make their own hummus and if starting with canned beans gets them to do that, then I’m all for it. And if you use this technique, it is almost as good as the dry. Let me know how your “real hummus” comes out!

  6. [email protected] January 30, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

    It may not technically be hummus but it sure looks yummy. I’ll have to follow your advice about adding ice water and processing for minutes, not just seconds. I’ve never done either of those steps. Can’t wait to try them – love tips like these, especially when the final product is so enticing.

    • Beth Lee January 31, 2018 at 10:57 am #

      Let me know how it turns out when you try it. It was a huge hit at a recent cooking class with moms and daughters!

  7. Jane, The Heritage Cook January 30, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    5 stars
    Absolute perfection Beth!!! Bold, sexy, healthy, and delicious!!

    • Beth Lee January 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm #

      For a second there, I thought you were talking about me :-). Thanks Jane – I wasn’t sure people would think it’s sexy but you know what — it is. Big flavor, great options for dipping which means sharing, and it’s healthy too.

  8. The Food Hunter January 30, 2018 at 9:15 am #

    I can’t wait to try this

    • Beth Lee January 30, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

      Easy, healthy, yummy – I hope you like it!

  9. Liz January 30, 2018 at 8:20 am #

    Even though this dip may not “officially” be hummus, it sounds incredibly flavorful and delicious and would be an equal contender if placed next to a bowl of the classic version!

    • Beth Lee January 30, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks for your confidence in the recipe Liz. It’s really yummy – even taught it at an informal cooking class over the holidays and it was a big hit.

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