(Click on photo for full-size image!)
Makes 16 servings
Super Bowl party, anyone? Or maybe an Oscar soiree? Whether you’re hosting a gathering or going to one, here’s an app that’ll disappear before the end of the evening. It’s basically a Mexican layer dip with a few new twists. Frankly, I make dip for casual get-togethers more often than anything else because they’re always crowd pleasers. This is my newest translation. The grapes on top … love! And the quark in it will surely raise some eyebrows. (Quark is simply a fresh European-style cheese that’s like a super creamy cottage cheese.) Let me know if your dip gets demolished!
Calories Saved: 40
1 (8-ounce) package organic Neufchatel cream cheese
1 (16-ounce) can organic vegetarian refried black beans
1 jalapeno pepper, with some seeds, minced
2 Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
Juice of 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
8 ounces plain quark (creamy European-style fresh cheese) or 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups shredded organic Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)
5 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced on diagonal
1 cup red seedless grapes, thinly sliced*
- In a 9- x 13-inch dish or on a large platter**, spread the Neufchatel.
- Stir together the refried beans and 1/2 of the jalapeno in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the cream cheese.
- Stir together the avocados, lime juice, onion, cilantro, salt, and the remaining jalapeno in a medium bowl and spread on top of the beans.
- Stir together the Quark, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl and spread on top of the avocado mixture.
- Sprinkle with the cheese, scallions, and grapes. Serve at room temperature with organic tortilla chips or fresh veggies.
Per serving: 160 calories, 10g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25g cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 9g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 7g protein
*Grapes from California are available May through January. You can replace the grapes with thinly sliced grape or cherry tomatoes or diced mango.
**Are you playful in the kitchen? Make individual servings in jars or glasses.
The “Before” Recipe
mexican seven-layer dip
Makes 16 servings
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
2 avocados, peeled, diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, without seeds, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
4 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
- Spread cream cheese on a large platter.
- Spread refried beans on top of the cream cheese.
- Stir together avocados, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the beans.
- Stir together sour cream and seasoning mix in a small bowl. Spread on top of the avocado mixture.
- Sprinkle with cheese, scallions, and tomatoes. Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.
Per serving: 200 calories, 15g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40g cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 7g protein
- Go for taste depth by using a layer of spicy refried black beans rather than traditional pintos
- Punch up the cilantro for more herbaceous goodness
- When opting for a better-for-you replacement for sour cream, try quark—it’s delicious and velvety with a just-right tang
- Rather than a spice mixture that may contain preservatives, hydrogenated oil, sugar, MSG, and way too much salt, keep it real—choose real spices, like ground coriander and cumin for warm earthiness
- Opt for a surprise factor by topping this dip with grapes instead of tomatoes—the sweetness is perfectly balanced here with a touch more “heat” and earthy spices