This easy 7 layer dip is quick to put together and always a hit! Refried beans, salsa, and veggies snuggle under a blanket of cheese. Serve it with tortilla chips for a great party starter, or take it along to your next picnic, campout, or potluck dinner. (Skip to recipe.)
Sometimes I think how unbelievably lucky I am to have the life I have, and other times I think; how can there be one more stress or another bad thing that happens to me?
Right now, though, I'm thinking how unbelievably lucky I am.
By this time tomorrow I will be on a plane, heading away for a whole month of wonderful, exciting, relaxing, invigorating vacation in Spain, Portugal, and France. Yes, we're leaving it all behind - all that last minute stress and preparation and craziness - for a chance to just explore and adventure. Raymond and I are flying to Barcelona and renting a car, then driving a winding route all around Spain (Madrid, Seville, Santiago de Compostela), spending a week in Portugal (Porto and the Douro Valley) then spending some days in the French and Spanish Basque country and back through the Pyrenees for a few days in Barcelona before we head home. We're even staying in some nice hotels this time (we usually tend to rough it in youth hostels and simple B&Bs)! We're going to be traveling like grown-ups!
I am soooooo excited. I'll be taking a few cooking classes, too, so I'll be sharing some of those experiences and photos here, once I get back.
Before we head off on this grand adventure, I want to share with you a very tasty, easy dip that is always a hit.
It's unassuming and simple to put together, yet always seems to be the first dish scraped clean when there's a selection of appetizers on offer. My friend, Elsa, has been serving it for years and we've always gobbled it down greedily at her parties and gatherings. She always told me how simple it was to make, and I meant to make it more often, but never got around to it. This spring I finally did, and I've made it several times.
Yum, yum, yum. It will now be a staple for us, too. It's the kind of appetizer trick you can easily pull out of your bag to feed a crowd while you're busy cooking the rest of the meal.
Let's Get Making This 7-Layer Dip!
It's easy peasy. Just open a tin, chop a few veggies, grate some cheese, and pile it all in a dish. You can heat it or leave it to eat at room temperature. You can cover it with plastic wrap and pack it to take on a picnic, potluck, or barbecue. Bring along a dish of this tasty Southwest 7-Layer Dip and you'll be invited back again any time!
Spread a can of refried beans in the bottom of a dish. Add a layer of your favourite salsa - mild or spicy - your choice.
Then sprinkle on some chopped tomatoes and bell pepper,
and green onion. Slice up half a block of cream cheese (or spread on a layer of sour cream if you plan to serve it without heating it),
and sprinkle on a few generous handfuls of grated cheese. Pop in the microwave or under the broiler, and hola, hola, hola! You've got a fantastic dip to dig into with crispy tortilla chips.
Happy summer feasting everyone. See you when we get back!
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: 7 Layer Dip is also delicious served without heating it up. Use sour cream instead of cream cheese. See the note below the recipe for making the fresh version.
For the heated version, make sure not to cook it too long, or the vegetables release some of their liquid, making the dip a bit more watery (but still tasty).
This dip is also easy to customize to your liking. Feel free to change up the vegetables, add canned corn kernels, diced avocado, or red onion instead of the green onion. You can add diced pickled jalapeño pepper, or add a sprinkling of chipotle pepper powder for kick.
7 Layer Dip
gluten free, egg free, nut free, vegetarian
- 1 can (400ml) refried beans
- 1 cup (240ml) salsa, your favourite kind, spicy or mild
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 1 sweet bell pepper, any colour
- 3 to 4 green onions/scallions
- 125 gms/4 oz. cream cheese (½ of a regular package)
- 2 cups (200gms) shredded cheddar cheese (old or extra old give the most flavour)
Remove the seeds from the tomatoes: cut them in half horizontally across the 'equator', then use your fingers to dig out the seeds and juices from each section. This will prevent your dip from being watery. Dice the remaining tomato flesh in small dice (about ¼"/.5cm). See here for photos of how to de-seed a tomato.
Dice the bell pepper into small cubes, about the same size as the tomato.
Slice the green onions thinly.
Cut the ½-block of cream cheese into thin slices.
Now layer all the ingredients in the order given into a large pie plate or baking dish. Spread the beans on the bottom, then spread the salsa over the beans. Sprinkle on the diced tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Lay the cream cheese slices over the top, then cover the whole thing with the shredded cheese.
You can finish the dish off in either of two ways:
1.Microwave the dip for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. (If you cook it too long, you'll start cooking the diced veggies and they'll release water into the dip. Still tasty, but just a bit watery.)
2. Or set the dish under a preheated broiler and broil for 4 to 5 minutes (only if you use a broiler-safe dish), just until the cheese is melted. Again, don't cook it too long or the vegetables will release their water.
Fresh version of 7 Layer Dip: Make the dip the same way, except replace the cream cheese with a layer of sour cream (1 to 1½ cups) which you dollop over the vegetables and spread around as well as you can. Top with the shredded cheese and serve the dip without heating it. This works well if you want to bring the dip to a picnic or potluck, or if you just don't want to be bothered heating it.
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We just made this dish and sat down to chow down; DELICIOUS! With a Munich beer and great company we are happy right now.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. We look forward to the stories and ideas to create some good eats when you return from your travels.
I love to picture you enjoying the dip with a good beer and friends! That's the best way to celebrate anything. I'm sure enjoying the food here, and making lots of mental notes to share.
I hope you're enjoying your journey and all the new impressions, tastes and people! It's wonderful picturing you on your way through south-western Europe right now. But one thought immediately came to me - what about your garden at home? A whole month is a lot of time... Sorry, I'm always so curious about your garden, I love when you talk about it, how it changes throughout the year.
Have a wonderful time touring Portugal, Spain and France and tasting all the food! Greeting from Germany, Sina
Hello Sina! We ARE having a wonderful time! We are in Portugal right now: after 3 fantastic days in Porto (walking up and down the hilly streets) we are heading out into the country next to spend a few days in the beautiful wine-growing region of the Douro Valley, then back into northern Spain for our last week. I have been eating my way through this fantastic region and took a cooking class in Seville which was so much fun.
Thank you for thinking of my garden - it is in good hands. A friend of ours is cutting the grass (it’s a big job and we really appreciate it). We are lucky because my mother moved to our town (15 minute drive) last year, and she is taking care of our vegetable garden, flowerpots, and chickens. She is 81 years old and loves gardening - she is still very active! We planted the garden a few days before we left and are hoping it will all just be up and starting to grow nicely when we get back home. We’ll have lots of work to do then, but after all this delicious food, I’ll need to wear it off in the garden!!!