If you're entertaining and need something green to snack upon, here are some lovely and simple spreads to put out with carrots or crackers of your choice. Radishes offer a gorgeous color contrast to these verdant springtime dips.
Homemade dips and spread are great make-ahead appetizers. Any leftovers are perfect for vegetarian sandwiches. I love how these dips have variations of green color.
Our friend Becky of The Organic Dish in Boulder shared her green pea hummus with us a while back. Kimberly has made Becky's recipe with 1/2 green peas and 1/2 edamame and happily reports that it was super yummy. I have also made it with fresh mint and no tahini with equally refreshing, delicious results.
This lima bean skordalia was inspired by one I bought at Market Hall in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, CA. Like the green pea hummus, it's easy to make and yummy. Fava bean puree takes a bit more time as you need to shell the fava beans.
Lima Bean "Skordalia" with Feta
1 bag frozen lima beans
Juice from 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp., more to taste)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp freshly chopped oregano
4 to 6 Tlbs. best quality EVVO
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces Feta cheese (I recommend a French Sheep's Feta), crumbled
Cover the lima beans,and 4 cloves of garlic with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let limas cool in the water.
Strain off the water, reserving at least 1/2 a cup for adding to the puree later. Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor.
Add the garlic, oregano, lemon juice and the EVVO. Process until smooth, adding some of the hot water to make the puree smooth. Remove to your serving dish and stir in the crumbled feta. Season with salt and pepper.
Fava Beans Puree
This recipe is adapted from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. This puree has always been a harbinger of summer for me. Fava beans are very earthy, do not try and make this with the canned variety. You will be disappointed.
2 lbs. fresh fava beans, parboiled, cooled in iced water and shelled
Splash of dry white wine
1 small leek, white part sliced very thinly
1/4 cup EVVO (preferably a different one from the lima bean skordalia, something fruity like Puget from France.
2 cloves garlic
1/4 of a bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pan under medium to low heat, add the leek and cook until soft. Add the minced garlic and fresh thyme and bay leaf. Now add the shelled fava beans and splash of white wine.
Once you can smash the favas with the back of a spoon easily, remove from heat. You can now either smash the mixture with the implement of your choice or remove the bay leaf and place the beans in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust seasoning and serve.