Need a Top 8 Free Dip this Thanksgiving?

Need a Top 8 Free Dip this Thanksgiving?

by Shahla Rashid

When my daughter, now five, was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies at the age of 2, one of the foods we missed dearly was hummus. She is contact allergic to tahini. Like many parents of children living with food allergies, I was bound and determined to recreate something similar in allergy-friendly form.

This cannellini bean dip is a favorite in our house. The recipe was adapted from Jacques Pepin’s wonderful book, “Heart and Soul”.  It is made with cannellini beans, garlic, EVOO, lemon juice and gluten free bread. I have adapted the recipe to make it top 8 free.  

It was very easy to make with simple ingredients. The cannellini beans impart a mild earthy flavor similar to garbanzo beans used in traditional hummus. The bread adds some depth and provides a creamy, smooth texture to the dip. And since we used canned beans, it took only about twenty minutes to make.

Now that summer is approaching, it is the one dip I bring to a friend’s house so that our daughter can be safe. I’ve also brought it to countless school events as a substitute for traditional hummus. Parents have exclaimed to me how much they love it. One parent confessed that she loved it better than regular hummus!

Providing a safe substitute can be daunting for many people. As allergy-parents, we are constantly tweaking and recreating recipes to match the needs of our children. As many of us know, with a little thought and planning, it takes minimal effort to create something that everyone can enjoy together. Happy summer everyone!

Cannellini Bean Dip

Serves 6 and is Top 8-Free

For the dip:

  • 2 cans (15.5) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained. Reserve and set aside 1/3 cup of the beans.
  • 2 small garlic cloves (about 1/4 teaspoon), crushed
  • 1 cup gluten free diced bread, packed (about 2 ounces), crusts removed.
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons wate


  • 1/3 cup reserved beans (see above)
  • 2 teaspoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil (a few good glugs)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika, or to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons parsley and/or cilantro, chopped
  • sunflower seeds (optional)

For the dip, reserve 1/3 cup of the beans for garnish. Set aside.

Place the remaining beans in a food processor or blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and process until very smooth, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times if need be to help combine the ingredients. The dip should be creamy.

Taste and adjust for consistency, adding a pinch of salt or water, if desired. Pulse until mixed.

Transfer and smooth the dip to a shallow medium size round serving dish.  

For the garnishes, place the reserved beans along the curve of the bowl or in the center. Next, add the cilantro/parsley and a sprinkling of paprika.

Drizzle with a few good glugs of high quality extra-virgin olive oil. Do not skimp on the quality of the oil, you will taste the difference!

Serve with a platter of cut vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, crackers and pita.


  • Add 1 tablespoon extra water only if needed to thin out to desired consistency.
  • You can make this dish up to a day before serving. Store in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature and garnish with herbs, paprika, seeds of choice and EVOO when ready to serve.

About the Author

For more allergy-friendly recipes, please visit Shahla’s blog, My Berkeley Kitchen. You can also follow Shahla on Instagram and Facebook.