Meet the seven-layer dip of my dreams, which is actually… five layers. Let me explain. I’ve encountered quite a few Tex-Mex seven-layer dips at parties and potlucks. They’re fun and festive, and I can’t resist swooping in with tortilla chips. They feature some of my favorite ingredients: beans, guacamole, salsa and tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with any of those. They also include a few of my not-so-favorite ingredients, like pre-shredded cheese that’s all powdery on the outside, and so much sour cream that I feel weighed down afterward.
Then there are the canned, sliced black olives on top. My parents always ordered cheese pizzas with those black olives on top for themselves when we were kids. (Was that so we wouldn’t eat their pizza? Well played, Mom and Dad.) I’m forever haunted by the squeak of those olives between my teeth, so I can’t bring myself to use them in recipes. I substituted chopped pickled jalapeños for a similar, briny effect. If you don’t have nightmares about those olives, you could certainly use those instead.
Here’s my dream version of traditional seven-layer dip, which starts with a base of “refried” black beans, which despite the name, only contain two teaspoons of olive oil. Black beans (a pulse variety!) are rich in protein and fiber, a combination that helps regulate blood sugar levels. They’re also high in folate, magnesium and other essential goodness.
The beans are topped with simple guacamole, salsa verde, fresh pico de gallo and pickled jalapeños, making it a healthy party dip. The only trick is to try to avoid watering down the dip with excess tomato juice from the salsa and pico de gallo, so I have suggested draining them in a fine-mesh strainer in the recipe below. This dip makes a fantastic taco filling, too. Just add some chopped romaine lettuce for crunch.