I used to enjoy snack foods such as nachos, cheese, crackers, and spicy salsa dip—in my pre-diet and pre-gluten intolerant state. Recently, I asked myself: Could I replicate, to some degree, those great snacks in a bean bake?

Here’s what I had on hand:

  • Cooked cauliflower leftovers
  • A jar of mild salsa
  • Soft, creamy goat cheese that needed to be used up or else…!
  • Four olives that had taken up residence in a dark corner of the fridge
  • Nostalgia inspired by the jar of salsa

This cooking adventure was of the taste-and-test variety. I threw in the basic ingredients plus the cauliflower and then, ¼ cup by ¼ cup, I added the salsa from which I had drained most of the liquid. I knew from previous experimentation that too much liquid will create a pudding rather than a bake.

After using up all the contents of the salsa jar, I had a pale red batter that tasted like it was heading in the right direction. I added the cheese and, with a what-the-hell feeling, threw in the olives.

The result? A rich, salsa-flavoured bean bake with a creamy texture which suggested to me that this particular dish could be a dip as well as a bake. Hence the rice crackers in the photo.

Besides, the more a dish can multitask, the better it is, right?

Update: This recipe, along with savoury “Butternut Squash Bean Bake with Coconut,” into the “My Legume Love Affair” event, hosted by The Well-Seasoned Cook and Girlichef. Wish me luck!

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups white navy beans (19 oz. can), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower
  • 3 eggs (no substitutes)
  • 1½ cups salsa (I used mild but if you like hot, go for it.)
  • 4.5 oz. (120 gm) soft goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 jumbo black olives (optional)
  • Hot sauce (optional: I didn’t use any but if you like it hot…just use the add-a-little-and-taste method)
  • ¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • Cooking spray

Directions 

  1. Drain the salsa. (You should have about ¾ of the original amount.)
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Spray a 9″ x 9″ square pan or 8″ or 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.
  4. Pour mixture into pan. The batter will flow easily.
  5. Bake in 350° F oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Best served warm the next day.
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