Recipe: Cannellini Bean Dip With Roasted Red Peppers

A delicious taste of Tuscany
A bowl of Canelli Bean Dip with roasted red peppers on top with a butcher block background

This spread from Marwan Sabbagh, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, fits into a Mediterranean diet. Cannellini  beans are a staple legume in Tuscany. Polyphenol-rich peppers and onion and Brain-Boosting Broth add additional benefits.

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2 bacon slices, diced
2 tablespoons diced celery
2 tablespoons diced yellow onion
2 tablespoons peeled, diced parsnip
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained  
5 cups Brain-Boosting Broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
2 red bell peppers


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp (4-6 minutes).
  2. Add the celery, onion, parsnip and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the beans, broth and thyme.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, until the beans are tender (1 to 1.5 hours).
  5. With an immersion blender and using a pulsing action, puree the bean mixture in the pan, stopping when the dip has a nice, chunky texture.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool.
  8. Roast the red bell pepper at 375 degrees F on a baking sheet, on the grill or held over a flame on a gas stove using tongs. Char the skin, rotating it for even charring for 5-8 minutes until the skin starts cracking.
  9. Place the peppers in a small bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. The skin will separate from the peppers so that you can peel it off easily.
  10. Once the peppers are cool, peel and seed them. Then cut them into strips.
  11. Arrange the peppers on the dip and serve.

Nutritional information (per serving)

Makes 16 servings. 1 serving = 2 Tablespoons

Calories: 100
Total fat: 2 g
Saturated fat: 0.5 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 155 mg
Total carbohydrate: 15 g*
Fiber: 8 g
Sugars: 1 g*
Protein: 5 g
* = plus a small undetermined amount from the broth

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Source: The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Boost Brain Health (© 2012 Ten Speed Press)

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