White Bean And Red Pepper Spread

One fine fall day in 1983, my best friend KG had a scathingly brilliant idea. We would, in the tradition of children from time immemorial, combine in a gross orgy ingredients from her mother’s pantry and vanity, and feed this unholy concoction to her neighbor and, I knew, friend when I wasn’t around, the very freckly Tommy Smith. Since that red head was my sworn enemy, I was happy to act complicit in her wicked plans. KG was a naughty little girl and I was invariably her quiet minion. It was not until the cup of Oil of Olay and coffee grinds was in Tom’s quivering hands that I raised my voice in dissention. I couldn’t let him do it. And I cried and asked to call my mother and go home.

Since that day, I have learned to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I have also realized it’s hilarious and awesome to mix up food items and feed them to your little sister. So long as you get the ingredients from the kitchen – nothing from under the sink – you’re in the clear, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve refined my method as the years have passed, and eventually, found an appetizing end result is more interesting than one that was inedible; though it doesn’t always go that way, despite my best intentions. I am not neither cook nor chemist. I read a recipe, discern ratios and change proportions according to taste and whats available. That’s what I’m working on today.


  • one can cannellini beans
  • two jarred roasted red peppers
  • two garlic cloves
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Drain and rinse peppers and beans, pat dry. Into the food processor, drizzle oil oil while it whirs the other ingredients into the desired consistency. I made mine on the thin side, a proper dip for chips and veggies. Next time I would add less oil, so that it is more of a spread for bruschetta, with parmesan or other hard and nutty Italian cheeses, various cured meats, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, etc. You get the idea. This makes a pretty party snack, if it lasts that long.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. Haha – I was always the kid who, after hitting the baseball through the window, ran and told my parents instead of running and hiding. I’m sure Tommy Smith is thankful you’ve got such a strong moral compass!

    And as for the spread, as per usual, it looks outstanding!

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