Thanksgiving has come and gone, so we can all finally focus our collective excitement on the winter holidays – if you hadn’t skipped Thanksgiving and already started! This time of year has a very specific food culture: lots of sweets synonymous with the season like gingerbread and shortbread, whites, greens and reds.

Last year, we suggested a couple recipes to help get you in the holiday spirit and we are back for more this year! These four fabulous recipes are perfect for this season, delivering on the familiar tastes, smells and feelings we all know and love about this magical time of year. All the while, pushing your culinary boundaries with some surprises along the way!

Surprise Pecan Shortbread

Shortbread is the perfect dessert to pair with coffee! It’s firm and crumbly texture is great for dunking and it’s smooth taste a playing well off the bitterness of coffee. It is also one of this season’s staple sweet eats. So what’s the big surprise with this recipe? It’s made with beans, of course!

Great northern beans help form the base, and when mixed with flour, brown sugar and cornstarch turns into the dough. If you like nutty desserts, this is definitely the treat for you! The beans and pecans give it some nuttiness to begin, but one of the hidden secrets of this recipe is browned butter. By melting butter and leaving it in the pan to cook down – try not to burn it! – the butter is injected with some additional nutty aroma and flavor. Just imagine sitting in front of the fireplace with some coffee or cocoa and a slice of this!

White Bean Hummus

I’ve been dreaming of a white… hummus!

We have found and introduced different varieties of hummus for all seasons, so why stop short in the winter time? A creamy bowl of white hummus will conjure up images of snow covered hills you can sled down with the help of pita chips or the dipping utensil of your desire!

The recipe calls for cannellini beans, but we prefer great northern white beans! They help give this recipe it’s rich creamy texture and flavor, as well as it’s white coloration. Top it off with some red pepper flakes to give it a little kick and more holiday color and you have a seasonal appetizer that is a real gift!

Ginger Spiced Bean Cookies

Like shortbread, gingerbread cookies are another treat that really comes to people’s minds during this time of year. It’s certainly one of our favorites, so we were thrilled to find this divine recipe for gingerbread cookies using garbanzo beans!

Not just a dessert, these cookies make for a great guilt-free snack because their contents make them low in sugar, high in protein and gluten free! Applesauce and freeze-dried apple slices give these cookies a little extra natural sweetness that will melt in your mouth. Easy to prepare and only requiring about 10 minutes of baking.

Red, White and Green Three Bean Salad

No three colors are more closely associated with the holiday season that red, white and green. Snow and ornament-covered trees, wreaths, mistletoes, wrapping paper and even the ugliest of Christmas sweaters all come to our minds with this trio of colors.

Now you have a tasty and healthy side dish to match the color palette as well! Red kidney beans, green beans and we substitute the light kidney beans with great northern beans all come together to present a playful and nutritious salad perfect for a side dish or a hearty and healthy lunch. If you want to get even more festive, you can try replacing the yellow peppers with red and green peppers too!

It’s a light, yet festive, salad that will help break up the heavy meals and desserts we will all no doubt be taking part in this year!

For more great original bean recipes be sure to check out our recipe page. If it is more holiday-inspired treats you are looking for, you are in luck! Download our free cookbook below for decadent desserts to make for the family this season.

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Transform your holiday left overs into something new and exciting with Great Northern White Beans

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