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Welcome to The Professional Palate - my little taste of life as a working mom and registered dietitian. This blog is now "retired", but feel free to browse around if you'd like to see what I've been cooking up for the last few years.

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{football friday} better-than-7 layer dip

Seven is such a nice number when it comes to football. Extra point, easy up through the goal posts? Yep. We all expect it, like it and are in quite a panic on the rare occasion that it doesn't make it. (I don't know about you, but I'm almost never comfortable when you have to "go for two." I prefer the kicker get his chance to do his thing in the case of points after touchdown.) 

So I'll stick with 7 when it comes to piling points on the board, thank you very much. But I beg to differ when it comes to the finer points of tailgating dips. 

The classic 7 Layer Dip has never been one of my faves. It's "ok." I don't hate it... I just have never found it terribly compelling. Typically comprised of layer-upon-layer of high-sodium, highly-processed packaged foods, it just never has the "fresh" taste that you expect when you see it show up on the tailgating table. 

This is my variation (If you count, I think it's more like a 6 Layer Dip, just to be clear). It's a departure, but in the same spirit of the original dish. You make a layer of your own refried beans using low-sodium pinto beans (would be even better if you prepped in advance and made from dry beans), cumin seeds (which are a must in your pantry... so much better than ground cumin) and fresh lime juice. I stir in a little reduced fat pepper jack cheese to help recreate the creaminess of refried beans with a spicy punch (sans traditional lard). 

I like to top with a little shredded chicken... personal choice here for a more hearty dish. You could easily leave out if you're not a meat eater. 

The real surprise is the savoy cabbage topping. The thing I find least appealing about traditional 7 Layer Dip is the use of iceberg lettuce... one of the few vegetables that I just have no taste for. It's a "what's the point" veggie, to me. Sure, it provides a crisp crunch, but I like ingredients to work a little harder... in terms of nutrition, especially. Savoy cabbage is rich in vitamins K & C and fiber... but its mild cabbage flavor and crinkle appearance make it a great substitution for iceberg - most people never really notice the difference in a dish like this.

Lastly, I choose to make a avocado/tomato topping, rather than a guacamole for those people who for some strange reason that I don't understand don't like guacamole. This allows for a more "selective" bite of dip that might not include avocado (although I don't recommend it... I say expand your avocado horizons. You won't be disappointed!)


What about you like 7 Layer Dip or do you like 7 points on the board more? 

Planning any big tailgating spreads this year? Be sure to join in on our {football friday} blog hop below!




Better-Than-7 Layer Dip


1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 lime, juiced and divided

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded 50% reduced fat pepper jack cheese (I used Cabot), divided

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 chicken breast, roasted and shredded

1/2 head savoy cabbage, very thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)

1 avocado, cubed

1 roma tomato, cubed

Garnish: salsa and cilantro


Combine beans, water and cumin seeds in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, reduced heat and simmer 10 minutes or until water is almost completely reduced. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/2 cup cheese and salt and pepper (to taste). Spread in bottom of a pie plate. Top with chicken and remaining cheese; set aside. 


Combine cabbage, 1 tablespoon lime juice, red pepper flakes, cilantro and salt (to taste). Layer over chicken. 


Combine avocado, tomato and any remaining lime juice. Layer over cabbage. Top with salsa and cilantro. 



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