It’s 9:12 a.m. on Saturday morning.

I have already baked a cake, eaten breakfast, gone out to get groceries, and whipped up a chocolate chip cookie dough. The chocolate-chippy-delights are now baking up in the oven, as I take a moment to sit down and to enjoy my first cup of coffee.

Despite having vowed to sleep in this morning (which usually means 8:45 a.m.), I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on the nose. Ugh. Clearly, my body is too well-trained to divert from its regularly-scheduled programming.

Funny how that works, though; I have had immense difficulty waking up all week, and then on the day that I have the opportunity to ostracize my alarm (believe me, these days are rare): failure.

Oh well, onward with the productivity!

As my sleep-deprived mind is failing to craft-up any form of natural segue, I’m going to ask that you kindly bear with me as I juxtapose my sleepless-sob-story with my love for all-things-bean.

Black beans (well, beans in general), are one of my most favourite things to eat. I use them all the time, in a variety of applications: mexican bean salad, hummus, dessert hummus, black bean & salmon tostadas, vegan veggie burgers…the list is endless…(I could Bubba-Gump the heck out of the world of beans).

They are just too delicious and they are also extremely healthy; beans are packed full of protein and fiber, and are incredibly low in fat.

A while back, I came upon this recipe for black bean dip with caramelized onions. INSTANT BOOKMARK. I knew that it was going to be fabulous, and, indeed, it did not disappoint.

This dip is a wonderful alternative, or compliment, to hummus. Serve it with pieces of fresh, homemade, baguette or pita, crackers, or veggies. It is also a wonderful sandwich spread. *salivates*

Versatile, yummy, and different; this dip is a winner.

Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Dip

Adapted from Spa Bettie

1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 (15 oz) can black beans (or 2 cups cooked)
1/3 cup light (or regular!) cream cheese
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper, optional
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté onion in oil, butter, maple syrup and salt. With frequent stirring, the onion should caramelize within 20-30 minutes. As the onion starts to become more caramelized, progressively turn down the heat to avoid burning.
2. Add basil and remove from heat, set aside to cool.
3. In food processor,  mince the garlic cloves. Add the beans and pulse until smooth. Continuing to process, add cream cheese, cumin, onion powder, and cayenne. Add a modest amount of salt and pepper, pulse to combine, taste, and adjust the seasoning to suit your palate.
4. Reserving 1/4 cup for garnish, add caramelized onion to bean mixture, combine.
5. Transfer to serving bowl and top with reserved caramelized onion.