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The 7-Layer Bean Dip

June 2024

In anticipation of the neighborhood pool-parties that Jolene the Party-Beagle will be crashing, I’ve decided to prepare a hot-weather favorite:  the 7-layer bean dip.

 

Jolene won’t be partaking in any of the repast, but I might have to offer up a savory spicy compensation treat to our neighbors.  They own Whiskey, the female Brittany spaniel who has become the best canine buddy of my not-quite one-year-old hound.  Jolene keeps running up and over the hill, then into the adjacent property to filch her favorite toy belonging to another dog:

 

The stuffed fabric avocado.

 

We bought Jolene her own stuffed avocado, but she quickly gutted the guacamole-stuffing out of it.  She now makes a routine return trip to visit Whiskey, and execute another quick catch-and-grab of the avocado.  The children on-site break into the Jolene song, which, though comical, is serving as unintentional positive reinforcement!


A real avocado, the California kind, figures into this recipe.  The California variety, in my taste-bud opinion, is vastly superior to the Florida one, but the substitution can be made, given the unpredictable nature of finding produce from the Golden State anywhere in the USA.

 

I’m happy enough with the abundance (for now) of Golden State avocados.  One of my favorite meals is the split-avocado half, with the seed (the big ball in the middle) taken out.  I then plop a big spoonful of cottage cheese into the veggie crater.

 

But I do not tell Jolene that I am eating an avocado!


I shall never forget the first time that I sent this frijoles refritos concoction into The Office of Dear Hubby for a Friday potluck.  One of his co-workers raved about it and asked if he could have a copy of my secret recipe!

 

I explained that it’s not a secret recipe, nor a family recipe, or even an original creation of mine.  It’s a quick and easy throw-together meal that I picked up somewhere along the way to wife-life.  It’s also cheap, convenient and practical.  Depending on the size/quantity made, the layered-fare can serve as dinner, then lunch the next day.  By day 3, the layers are not looking or tasting their best.


Start with an 8x11 ceramic baking dish.  Add the following in order:

 

— 1 large can or 2 small cans refried beans (I use Rosarita Vegetarian).  Cover the bottom of the dish.

 

— 1 small can of pinto beans.  S&W is my preferred brand.  Drain the beans and then press them evenly into the refrieds.  You can add more or less, according to your taste.

 

— 1 16-oz. jar of salsa.  I use Pace Chunky.  Spread evenly on the bean layer.

 

— 1 16-oz container of sour cream, spooned onto and spread evenly over the salsa.


—  1 8-oz. can of chopped and cured black olives.  I chop my own because the pre-sliced ones are inferior in taste and texture.  Arrange them uniformly onto the salsa.

 

—  Combined shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  Use at least one 8-ounce package of each cheese.  For the cheddar, I prefer Tillamook.  Monterey Jack is a California cheese that’s none too flavorful.  In fact, it can taste bland and feel rubbery, but for this recipe it’s a perfect complement to the cheddar.  I’ve also used Gouda, or Tommy Noire of the Pyrénées, both specialty cheeses that bump up the flavor, and the cost, a few notches.

 

— Freshly sliced green onions.  Sprinkle freely over the cheese.


The 7th ingredient (discounting the pintos, which I combine into the bean-category) is THE AVOCADO.  A ripe one or two will do.


I used to smush the inner fruit and layer it beneath the sour cream, but the avocado does not bake at the same rate as the other components, which adversely affects the flavor.  I slice the peeled fruit, arrange it on a plate, squeeze some lemon juice over it to prevent browning, and serve it with the bean dip.


Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325.  Allow at least 30 minutes for the cheese to melt, but not bubble.  Remove from the oven; let cool.  Serve with tortilla chips and some root beer on ice!

 

As delicious as this repast is, right out of the oven, it’s much much better the second day/night, after having been stored, covered in the frig and then re-heated.  The 7-layer bean dip is a meal that keeps on treating!

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