When it comes to dips, I’m an equal opportunity glutton. Warm spinach and artichoke? Yes. Ro-Tel® Queso? Can’t pass it up. French onion? Give us some privacy.

But every once in a while, you find a dip that transcends the genre, and for me, that’s Seven Layer Dip. Black beans, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), chunky guacamole, fresh salsa, scallions, cheese and cilantro. It’s like a bean burrito in a bowl. And by that, I mean it’s like Heaven.

I’m in love with this version, because it takes only a few minor tweaks to make it a little fresher and healthier than most. You can go with black beans and/or pintos for the bean layer instead of the usual canned refried beans. Replace the full-fat sour cream with light sour cream or Greek yogurt, and stir the cheese into it to thicken it and disguise the change in flavor. Sneaky, yes?

And you can make your own guacamole instead of buying the packaged stuff. Who needs the preservatives and the stale flavor when you can mash together a perfectly respectable guacamole in short order with just avocado, a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of kosher salt?

This is a great party dip, so to keep the layers from getting “muddy,” don’t worry about pureeing the beans. You can slightly mash them with a fork or just keep them whole, and then you won’t have to worry about that unsightly brown bean smear making its way through your layers.

However, if you’re making your own private stash, you’re going to love how versatile this dip is. You can:

  • Use it as a meatless filling for tacos or burritos.
  • Pile it onto tortilla chips and shredded lettuce for a quick taco salad.
  • Spread it onto a prebaked crust to make a meatless Mexican pizza.
  • Serve it as a side with fajitas or enchiladas.
  • Layer it over a warm plate of nachos. (Love that whole hot/cold thing.)
  • Spoon it alongside a cheese omelet to jazz up your breakfast.

Ah, the joys of practical recycling. Especially when that recycling involves guacamole.

Light Seven Layer Dip

From Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)

Inspired by “Cook’s Country”

    Layer 1:

  • 2 16-ounce cans black beans (or 1 can black beans and 1 can pintos), drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
    Layer 2:

  • 1 cup light sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheese (preferably pepper jack or Cheddar)
    Layer 3: Guacamole

  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tomato, cored, seeded and diced
    Layer 4: Simple Salsa

  • 3 large tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    Layer 5:

  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
    Layer 6:

  • Up to 1/4 cup grated cheese (pepper jack or Cheddar)
    Layer 7:

  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Layer One: Combine the beans, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Mash lightly with a fork, if you like. Transfer the beans to an 8-inch square dish or glass bowl of a similar size.
  2. Layer Two: In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and cheese. Spread the mixture evenly over the bean layer.
  3. Layer Three: Mash avocados, lime juice, garlic and salt. Stir in the red onion and tomatoes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Spread the guacamole over the sour cream mixture.
  4. Layer Four: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Layer the salsa over the guacamole.
  5. Layer Five: Sprinkle scallions over the salsa.
  6. Layer Six: Top the scallions with the cheese of your choice.
  7. Layer Seven: Add as much cilantro confetti as you like.
  8. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips and carrot and celery sticks.

Gluten-Free Tip: Use GF light sour cream and tortilla chips.