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mexican-inspired seven layer dip

by Jackie Newgent  |  January 27, 2013  |  0 Comments

mexican-inspired seven layer dip

(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*

  1. In a 9- x 13-inch dish or on a large platter**, spread the Neufchatel.
  2. Stir together the refried beans and 1/2 of the jalapeno in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the cream cheese.
  3. Stir together the avocados, lime juice, onion, cilantro, salt, and the remaining jalapeno in a medium bowl and spread on top of the beans.
  4. Stir together the Quark, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl and spread on top of the avocado mixture.
  5. 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

  1. Spread cream cheese on a large platter.
  2. Spread refried beans on top of the cream cheese.
  3. Stir together avocados, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the beans.
  4. Stir together sour cream and seasoning mix in a small bowl. Spread on top of the avocado mixture.
  5. 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

Tasteover Tips

  • 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

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