Showing some love for legumes: A trio of bean dips (recipes)

Difficulty level: 1/5

Tuscan white bean dip

1-15 oz can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed

6 cloves roasted garlic (instructions below)

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons roasted garlic oil

salt and pepper to taste

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings and chill. Serve with sliced, toasted ciabatta bread.

To roast garlic - in a small sauce pot add peeled garlic cloves and just enough oil to cover. Simmer on low heat until cloves are soft. Save leftover oil for sauteing and flavoring - store in refrigerator.

Smoky black bean dip

1-15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 clove fresh garlic

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce ( very spicy - add a little at a time to your taste)

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Puree all ingredients in a food processor, adding a little water as needed to get a smooth consistency. Adjust seasonings. Serve chilled or hot with tortilla chips.

Asian spiced edamame dip

2 cups frozen shelled edamame (soy beans)

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoonp fresh grated ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon red miso

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon five spice powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a pot with boiling salted water, blanch edamame for 5 minutes. Drain well. Puree all ingredients in a food processor, adding a little water as necessary for a smooth consistency. Chill well. Serve with wonton chips or veggies.

I am a hard core "snacker" and have a great fondness for salsas, dips and fondues — just about anything I can plunge a chip, a piece of bread or a carrot stick in. The popularity of hummus is inarguable, but there are other humble legumes out there that can be made into tasty appetizers.

Here are three very different, delicious bean dips to try the next time you've got the munchies.

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