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Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme

May 12, 2018 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Looking for a delicious appetizer that is not only super quick to make but also really good for you, too? I love to bring these crostini to events and they are always a hit. I was thinking of a perfect recipe to serve at my wine club when it was my turn to host. I wanted something quick and easy that I could make for a crowd when I’ve got 30 minutes between getting home from work and when folks start arriving at my house. I wanted an appetizer that can be out to grab, a simple dinner that people can serve themselves, and then a fruity, summer dessert. I think this Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme is the perfect appetizer for a wine event – or really any occasion!

Why Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme is a Great “Drinking” Appetizer

Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach

Did you know that 20% of the alcohol you drink can get absorbed straight through the stomach, heading to the liver for processing more quickly than any nutrients absorbed lower down in the small intestine? Studies have shown that when people drink on an empty stomach, they’ll eat up to 25% MORE at the next meal so make sure to drink with something in your stomach to help balance your appetite and blood sugar. This Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme appetizer offers carbohydrate, fat, and protein in one bite for a very complete little snack.

About the Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme

What I really like about Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme is that the flavors are balanced. The fat in the ricotta and olive oil are supported with the bright acidity from the lemon juice and balanced with sweetness from the honey. Hearty beans add structure and the salt and pepper make the flavor combos pop. Using fresh thyme adds an unexpected summer flair that I think will be really fun to pair with wine.

About the Ingredients

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans have a delicate mild flavor and work great in soups, stews, and spreads. Like all legumes, these white beans have many health benefits. Beans are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. They are low in fat and high in plant-based protein and fiber. Great Northern beans are a good source of important minerals including iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. They also have B-vitamins and are a particularly good source of folate.    

Ricotta

Ricotta cheese is a protein packed cheese. Just ½ cup has 9g of protein. It is high in whey protein – an easily absorbable dairy protein that may help to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. Ricotta has a mild flavor and is great in salads, pastas, lasagnas, and spreads!  

Honey 

Honey is a great choice for sweetener because, unlike table sugar, it is high in antioxidants from the plant compounds collected by the bees as they move from flower to flower. These compounds, including flavonoids, are associated with anticancer, antidiabetic, antifungal, and antimicrobial activity. 

Let’s Make the Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme Recipe! 

The Beans

The first step is to drain and rinse the Great Northern beans. Then place them in a saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until warmed through. Then remove them from the heat and place them in a small mixing bowl. Mash them with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You can leave some beans whole to have a nice textured spread. Flavor the bean mixture with the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to meet your preference.    

The Crostini

To make the crostini, preheat the broiler to high with the oven rack in the highest position. Slice the baguette diagonally to make about 18 bread slices. Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle them with olive oil. Place them in the oven and broil until just golden brown around the edges. This should take about 1-2 minutes to make the baguette golden and crispy. Remove the crostini from the oven and let cool.

Putting it all Together

When the crostini are cool, top each slice with a heaping tablespoon of ricotta cheese. Then add the same amount of the white bean mixture. Drizzle them with the remaining olive oil. Then drizzle them again with honey. Sprinkle them with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Garnish them with the fresh or dried thyme. 

Substitutions

If making this recipe dairy free, you can simply leave out the ricotta altogether, or use a dairy free alternative. There are a few brands that make a dairy-free ricotta, including Kite Hill. You can also make a homemade dairy-free ricotta that is soy or nut based like this one Whipped Almond Ricotta. If you’d like to replace the honey you can use another sweetener of choice, like maple syrup.    

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme and if you need other simple apps, check out my Garden Cherry Tomato Bruschetta, Smokey Black Bean Pineapple Salsa, and Spicy Vegetarian Fresh Rolls.

Crostini with Beans, Ricotta, Honey and Thyme

This super simple, super HEALTHy appetizer is so perfect for your next party or gathering if you need a balanced, delicious snack.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: appetizer, crostini
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories:
Author: Ginger Hultin

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/2 large fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 1 sourdough baguette (cut diagonally into 18 quarter-inch slices)
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh or dried thyme for garnish

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse the beans then place them in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
  • Place the beans in a small mixing bowl and mash with a fork, leaving some beans whole for texture. Then add the lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • Preheat the broiler to high with the oven rack in the highest position. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle them evenly with 2 tablespoons of oil. Broil until just golden brown on the edges, about 1-2 minutes.
  • When the crostini are cool, top each with a heaping tablespoon of ricotta and then the same amount of the bean mixture. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and then honey. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and garnish with thyme.
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition

3 Comments

  1. Melanie on March 15, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Such a simple way to use white beans – so good!

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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