1 lb (2 cups) Great Northern beans, soaked overnight (or 2 cans prepared Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Za’atar
Zest of two lemons (1 Tbsp storebought Lemon Zest)
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp of sugar (if spread is too tart)
If preparing white beans from scratch: In a large, heavy pot, combine dried beans and garlic, with just enough water to cover plus 1/2″ or so. Bring pot to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for two minutes, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook garlic and beans until beans are done — 90 min or more. You’ll know beans are done when skin of a single bean splits apart when you blow on it. Once beans are done, remove pot from heat, add a little salt to taste, and allow to cool.
Drain beans, reserving 1/2 Cup of the cooking liquid.
If using prepared beans: open, drain and rinse two 15 oz cans of white beans.
Transfer the beans to a food processor, pulse until smooth. Through the food processor’s feed tube, slowly add the reserved cooking liquid and olive oil. (If using canned beans, use additional olive oil or water to achieve desired spread consistency.)
Add the za’atar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the mixture, then pulse a few times to combine. Adjust seasonings and lemon juice if needed. A tiny bit of sugar can help boost the flavor, if needed.
Transfer the white bean spread to a serving bowl, garnishing with some za’tar and a drizzle of olive oil. Allow the spread to cool to room temperature before serving with crunchy raw vegetables and/or flatbread.
To make ahead, or to store leftovers, top the spread with a thin layer of olive oil, and store it in a sealable container in the freezer.
[Note: Serve as a dip for chips or crunchy vegetables, or as a spicy sandwich spread with fresh or roasted vegetables. Is a surprisingly good companion on a hoagie roll with spicy sausage.]