Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip (Gluten-Free)

2:05 PM

Appetizers have always befuddled me. I could never figure out what to take to parties that would be easy to fix, gluten-free, and not require keeping warm. I also want an appetizer to at least look like I spent a bit of time making it without actually spending the time.
Last night at a neighborhood tailgating party I turned again to this tried-and-true favorite. This recipe hits the mark especially if you are  -- *ahem*-- not a particularly motivated cook. The finished dip tastes like you've gone to a whole lot of trouble when in fact it can be put together in about 10 minutes. The only time involved is softening the cream cheese to make it spreadable so plan ahead for that.
Easy directions:
Take a block of softened cream cheese and spread it into the bottom of a 1-quart serving dish. I use a pretty glass 9-inch deep dish pie pan, but any similar size container will work. (I think a regular pie pan may be too shallow).
Next spread a 16-oz jar of spicy black bean dip on top of the cream cheese. I use Desert Trading Company Spicy Black Bean Dip because it's gluten-free and the original recipe said they tested with this brand. Any brand you like would be fine, but be sure it's gluten-free if that's your goal.
Here's the part that I discovered on my own. Take it and pop it in your microwave for about 15 seconds to soften the cream cheese a bit more. You're not trying to get it hot and runny, just a little more "dip-able" to avoid the broken chip misfortune.  I nuked it for 15 seconds, checked it, and then nuked it for 10 more seconds. Microwaves vary so you may want to do this in 10 second intervals. I knew it was perfect when the bottom of the dish felt warm.
Next you just start layering. I put almost a whole 8-oz bag of finely shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend all over the top. You can use more or less depending on the size of your dish. The object is to cover the top. If you want more, go for it. Life is short. (This probably would be a good dish with melted cheese if you are serving it immediately, but I've found that when melted cheese cools it's hard to dip. If you want a hot dip then feel free to add the cheese prior to microwaving and nuke it until it's hot and melted.)
Next put fresh Pico de Gallo all over the top.
Cheater Tip: I use an 8-oz carton of Del Monte Pico de Gallo that is found fresh in the produce section. It has chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and sea salt (no preservatives). Any Pico would do, but only use fresh. You can make your own Pico if you're not as lazy as me. Also, be sure the juice is drained. You don't want juice soaking into your cheese.
Lastly, drain a 2.25 can of sliced black olives and sprinkle evenly across the top.
That's it! A no- fuss appetizer in about 10 minutes that looks and tastes like you spent a ton of time on it. I serve it with corn tortilla chips for dipping. (If you need it to be gluten-free, be sure that the chips you use are also gluten-free. I tend to use Tostitos Scoops because I like them, but there are plenty of other gluten-free options including Fritos Corn Chips.)
*NOTE:  If you are making this for a gluten-free guest it is important that non-gluten free chips do not share this dip. If they do, the entire dish is no longer safe. I always put this dip and the gluten-free chips in a separate serving area from other foods containing gluten.
Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip (Gluten-Free)
  • 1 (8-oz) block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 (16-oz) jar spicy black bean dip
  • 3/4 or more (8-oz) package finely shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 (8-oz) container fresh Pico de Gallo (drained)
  • 1 (2.25) can sliced black olives (drained)
Spread softened cream cheese in the bottom of a 1 quart serving dish. (I found a 9-in glass deep-dish pie pan is a perfect size.) Spread the bean dip on top of the cream cheese layer. Nuke it for 15-25 seconds to be sure the cream cheese will be easy to dip. Add rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
I found the basic recipe and above photo in Southern Living's The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook. (Link here.) The original recipe is also found online here.
You can read about our family's food challenges here.


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