On cravings and bean dip

Confession time: I get cravings for bad foods. My naughty brain tries to lead me off the path, into a forest full of donut trees and bagel bushes. It doesn’t always succeed. I find I’m weakest when there’s an activity I associate with certain foods. The dog’s nightly walk is strongly correlated with a trip to Tim’s* for toasted bagels with cream cheese. A session of playing Civ V goes with pizza and wine. Going out for coffee wants a snack, like a cookie or croissant.

There are two things at play here. One is being able to identify a craving. For me, at this point, that’s the easy part. Any thought about food, especially outside of mealtime, is a craving. Period. Hunger is when you’ll eat just about anything, but a craving has specificity.

That’s where the second thing comes in: habit. I think a big part of knocking out cravings for good has to do with breaking habits. That means not giving in, which is easier said than done.

For awhile now, our general habit has involved going off plan because it’s the weekend. However, the past couple of weekends’ indulgences have left me unsatisfied and filled with regret. I still have cravings, but none of the foods those cravings cry out for are very enjoyable anymore.

So, now what?

Redefine indulgence and make new cravings.

My new obsession is this bean dip recipe I concocted a couple of years ago. Last week, as I was culling recipes from my collection, I rediscovered this little gem and decided to give it another go. Thing was, as is often the case in my kitchen, some modifications were necessary – and, it turns out, delicious! The batch I made most recently turned out so well I nearly sat down and ate the whole thing. Not to oversell it, but it’s pretty good.

Thus far, I’ve tried it with canned black beans, and with a roughly equivalent amount of really well-cooked white beans (extra left over from trying out this recipe). I adjusted seasonings for each, as noted. Give it a try and let me know how you went.

Bean Dip

1/3 C neutral-flavoured oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 C)

1 can no-salt beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp ground coriander (black beans) or dried parsley (white beans)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp each ancho chili powder and smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

For Black Beans: juice of 1/2 lime plus red wine vinegar to make 1/4 C

For White Beans: juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1/4 C)

Heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Carefully add spices, onion and garlic; turn down the heat so the oil is at a bare sizzle. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is translucent and spices are aromatic. Remove from the heat and CAREFULLY add the beans (ensuring they’re well drained helps limit oil splashing). Stir in salt and let the mixture cool down. Then, tip the whole lot in a food processor (or vessel for stick-blending), along with the citrus/vinegar. Puree to desired smoothness, ensuring the oil is well-combined.


(Makes about 2 C)

*That’s Tim Hortons for those beyond the borders of Canada.