Roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip

By • January 16, 2011 158 Comments

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Author Notes: I have always loved the White bean dip from Williams Sonoma. It was always a go-to dip for when guests came over. One day I was making it and I had some leftover roasted fennel from the night before and I pureed it into the dip; it was amazing! The next time I broiled some Parmesan cheese on top to create a crunchy texture and it was perfect. You could serve this with crostini, pita chips, or tortilla chips. Basically anything works. - singing_bakersinging_baker

Food52 Review: Most dips involve dumping a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and mixing them until smooth. If the ingredients are good quality, you'll end up with something worth dipping a chip into, but if you're like singing_baker and you tweak some of those ingredients, you'll end up with an unforgettable hors d'oeuvre. First, you roast the fennel and garlic, to bring out their sugars and intensify their flavors. You simmer the white beans (we used canned) in a fragrant garlic-and-rosemary oil. You blend the beans and fennel with more oil so the mixture lightens like a good whipped salt cod and potato puree. And, finally, you spoon it all into a baking dish, cover it with cheese, and slide it into a hot oven so the top of the dip toasts, leaving you with a crisp veil over the pillowy dip. You won't even remember the work that went into it once you're showered with praise. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 12 as an appetizer

For Roasted Fennel

  • 1 Large or 2 Small Fennel Bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic still in papery shell
  • Salt and Peper

For the Cannellini Bean puree

  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and minced
  • 2 1/2 cups Cooked Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice, Freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • Crostini
  1. First make the roasted fennel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fennel and garlic cloves in the olive oil and spread on a sheet pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning twice during cooking. Take out and let cool. When cool squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins.
  2. Start the cannellini bean puree. In a small frying pan heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until lightly golden, add rosemary and cannellini beans and cook for one minute more. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Take it off the heat.
  3. In a food processor combine the garlic bean mixture, fennel, roasted garlic, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons of the parmigiano-reggiano. Puree until smooth.
  4. Raise oven temp to 450 degrees. Transfer puree into a small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Feel free to add more. If your dish is near full, place it on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over in the oven. Bake until cheese is golden on top, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with crostini. Enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Fennel|Cheese & Dairy|Vegetables|Appetizers|Hors d'oeuvres

Topics: Holiday Entertaining

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Comments (158) Questions (6)


3 months ago Daniel Thurman

Not to add another voice to the choir - but I served this for my friends and they were definitely fans! I was too. I will definitely work on roasting more fennel.


4 months ago verborgenheit

I wonder if a splash of Pernod liqueur at the end would intensify the fennel flavour?


8 months ago Chef Tracy D

I made this on Christmas and it was a HUGE hit with the family. Everyone asked for the recipe.


9 months ago stephanieRD

Fantastic dip! I have a little leftover from a party and I smeared it on some crusty bread and topped it off with a fried egg & pickled red onion I had in the fridge....made a DELICIOUS breakfast.


9 months ago Carolyn V

I've made this twice and both times were fantastic!

First, I followed the recipe exactly. Very well received as a Thanksgiving appetizer.

The second time, I was going to a dairy-free friend's house, so I left out the cheese and didn't bake it. I roasted the fennel bulb a bit longer to get some char for more flavor. I also added more salt to balance the lack of cheese. Served at room temperature. Also fantastic! Everyone loved it!


about 1 year ago Food odyssea

Anyone serve this cold/room temp?


about 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

Yes. Hot, cold, room temp, as a dip as a sauce on a sandwich, you name it I've served it and it's delicious.


about 1 year ago Lauren

I can attest. This stuff is good any way you serve it.
I would eat it in a boat!
I would eat it with a goat...
And in a car. And in a tree.
It is so so good you see!


about 1 year ago Sarushka

SOOOOOOO GOOD I want to use it as body lotion!


over 1 year ago ghainskom



over 1 year ago Gcvlee

I made this for a close group of friends, and we all loved it. I also backed the oil down a bit and it was delicious. Needless to say, everyone wanted the recipe. Thanks!


over 1 year ago TriBeCa

OH MY! Probably the best surprise I have ever enjoyed in my kitchen. I was hosting a fundraiser for 100 women at my house, cooking the entire dinner from scratch. When choosing my menu I was looking for items off MY beaten path. Not only did I love it, but it was gone in about 5 minutes. The touch of lemon brought the whole dip to perfection. Before I cooked it with the cheese I tasted it (for salt) and thought that as is this would be a delicious soup. So next time, soup without the cheese your delicious dip will be. Thank you!!


over 1 year ago Margaret Lohr

I used a 9" deep dish pie pan.


over 1 year ago shayma

I am sorry if this question has already been answered below - but what size baking dish did everyone use? I am just doing a bit of prep work before I make this. Thank you.


over 1 year ago Margaret Lohr

This is delicious and perfect for a larger crowd. I used the juice of 1/2 a lemon and slightly more rosemary. Everyone including the guys loved it!


over 1 year ago Charlene

Delicious! I added the zest of 1/2 lemon, s & p. I cut the oil in half, but decided it needed the flavor, so probably added as much back in. I spread half the puree in my baking dish, poured oil over, added the remaining puree and finished with more oil. I will be making this as a side dish and can't wait to make it for my son who eats mostly low-carb. Thanks for a great recipe!


over 1 year ago miznoodles

I made this for New Years's Eve and it was a huge hit. I used the juice of whole lemon to kick up the tartness, and baked it with a rosemary sprig pressed on the top. Beautiful and so tasty.


over 1 year ago Calie

I made this as an appetizer for Christmas Dinner and it was possibly the biggest hit of the evening. I added more garlic, lemon, and rosemary plus added some more herbs that I had lying around and needed to use up. This dish will becoming a staple in our household. I have been craving it since Christmas.


over 1 year ago Patty Brite

I've made this several times and am totally addicted to this dip! I usually double the fennel and use juice from an entire lemon. If you cut the oil by a third it is still delicious but not as creamy. Thank you Singing Baker for this recipe!


over 1 year ago jslade

Wow! Amazing. This was absolutely delicious. I loved the mellowed flavor of the roasted fennel. I did cut the oil by 1/2 and it still had a creamy consistency. Will serve it over and over again.


over 1 year ago Lauren

Would this go well on a crudite platter- with red peppers, cucumbers and carrots? I already have several crostini planned and need something fresh and crunchy for the table, but am unsure whether the flavor of the dip would work with veggies?


over 1 year ago singing_baker

I think it would go great with a crudite platter! I remember someone recommended serving it with raw fennel that might be nice to add as well.


over 1 year ago SKK

Question to you singing_baker. Love, love, love your recipe and have made it many time and shared your recipe many times. Am considering making it for Christmas gifts. Do you think it would freeze well? Assemble it all to the point of baking? Thanks in advance.


over 1 year ago singing_baker

Hello and thank you! I haven't tried to freeze it yet but I feel that it would affect the texture and the oil may separate from the beans. I have made this up to three days in advance and then sprinkled it with cheese and baked it at the last minute and it was fine. Let me know how it goes if you freeze it. Happy Holidays!