Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 1, 2010

8 Layer Dip, The Party Solution

All the elements for this can be prepared ahead of time. It assembles easily, and pleases everyone–if you can remember to put out crudités as well as chips. The 8 Layer Dip as I know it, is of Midwestern extraction. I first saw it more than a quarter century ago at an open-house gallery event on High Street, near the Short North in Columbus Ohio.

This doesn’t have to be eight layers. It could be nine, or five, or even seven. But eight is the traditional number.

This recipe isn’t sophisticated. This isn’t difficult to prepare, or heavy on technique application.  This eight layer dip won’t make anyone reconsider their taste preferences. This dish won’t encourage anyone to rethink their preconceptions or stereotypes about either Midwestern food, or Gringo Mexican food. But this will be the dish with the least in it when it’s time to clear the buffet table after the party is over.

Eight Layer Dip

1 can of refried black beans, or 2 cups of homemade refritos (2 TBSP olive oil in which to sauté 1 onion chopped, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp epazote–if possible, 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne, salt and black pepper, 2 cups cooked black beans–then mash all together)

1/4 small red onion, or 3 green onions, minced

1/2 cup black olives, chopped small

1/2 red or green bell pepper, or 4 jalapeños–seeded and de-veined, minced

3 vine tomatoes, seeded and chopped small

1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted and drained

2 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce

1  cups sour cream, or 1 block silken tofu blended with 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 TBSP nutritional yeast, and 1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 cup minced cilantro, or flat leaf parsley and cilantro–or flat leaf parsley by itself if you don’t like cilantro

1 cup shredded cheddar

Take an 8″ X 8″ pan. Spread the refried black beans over the bottom. Now add as many of the ingredients which follow as you like. Fridge this until service. Surround it with crudités and/or pita chips and/or tortilla chips to serve.

This makes a great relaxed dinner in front of the TV for two or three people, though I won’t explain how I come by this knowledge. If you remember to put out carrot sticks, and you make it with the romaine layer, it has all the nutrition anyone could want from a sound meal (lots of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and several servings of necessary veggies, plus a goodly volume of monounsaturated fats).



  1. […] to numbers now. Have some of the food stationary, like that chip-and-dip platter. Have some of it easily mobile, in mess-free pieces–like stuffed grape leaves, tartlets […]

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