Taco Layer Dip

I often see this dip sold in the prepared foods section of grocery stores. It’s very easy to make and can be prepared with higher quality ingredients at less than half the cost of the store version. So with 30 minutes of time, why not make it yourself? It’s also a bit healthier than many typical cheesy chip dips, and I’ve watched this disappear in a matter of minutes at quite a few parties. There are as many versions for this dip as there are people who prepare it, so feel free to customize it to your taste.

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. sour cream
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. cumin
1 can re-fried beans
1/2 c. your favorite homemade or jarred salsa
4 oz. finely shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese (or a combination of the two)
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. chopped lettuce
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 c. sliced olives (your choice of black or green)
1 avocado, sliced and coated with a squeeze of lime juice (about 1/4 lime)

Choose a serving dish with straight side walls at least two inches high, such as a 9×13 Pyrex pan or a more decorative deep-walled pie dish. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Mix in the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Spread the mixture as your bottom layer in your chosen dish. Next mix the re-fried beans with the salsa, adjusting the amount of salsa to your taste.  Spread it on top of the cream cheese mixture. Next, sprinkle the cheese and then the tomatoes. Toss the lettuce, green onions, and cilantro together and spread it over the tomatoes. Then drop the olives evenly over the top. Lay the avocado slices on top just before serving (so they don’t have enough time to discolor too much). Serve with your choice of fresh tortilla chips, and enjoy!

Tips and alternatives:

  • You can use a prepared taco seasoning instead of chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Start out with 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture, taste, then add more to suit your preference.
  • You can keep the beans and salsa as separate layers, or even omit the beans altogether if a bean dip isn’t your thing.
  • Instead of avocado slices, you can spread 1 cup of prepared guacamole as a layer on top of the beans and salsa.
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