Appetizers and Snacks

Not Your Mom’s 5 Layer Mexican Dip

Healthy 5 Layer Mexican Dip from A Thousand Crumbs (3 of 8)

One of my favorite dip recipes my mom used to make was Mexican layer dip.  Anyone remember this?  I feel like it was all the rage in the 90s.  The bottom was refried beans, there was a layer of seasoned sour cream in there, some guac, pico de gallo, cheese…you get the idea.  It was sublime. But also probably not the best thing to eat a ton of, which I tended to do whenever she made it.  There wasn’t much redeeming about it in terms of nutrition, but boy did it taste good!  I had completely forgotten about it until a few months ago.

I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s house and my Aunt served this AMAZING healthy 5 layer Mexican dip.  It definitely didn’t look like the one I was used to.  This one had a layer of black bean dip (homemade – I asked her), this amazing corn relish with onions and cilantro, a healthy layer of guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and cheese.  She also added a layer of black olives, which was a pleasant addition!  This rendition was much healthier than the version I was used to, but seriously way more delicious!  Or maybe my palate has just matured.  Thank goodness.

I would love to give my Aunt credit for this awesome healthy 5 layer Mexican dip, but the original recipe is from Ellie Krieger.

I did make a few modifications, or adjustments based on my own tastes and preferences.  The first being, I doubled the avocado/guacamole layer.  That just seemed obvious.  The original recipe only calls for 2 avocados, but it is supposed to serve 12 people.  I can eat 2 avocados myself, so it seemed appropriate to double it.

I am also not a huge fan of chipotle chilis in adobo because often times a recipe only calls for a little bit, and you have to open an entire can.  It is so much easier to use chipotle chili powder.  I know, I know, you lose out on the adobo part, but it’s better than wasting an entire can of unused chilis.  The original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of minced chipotle chili in adobo, so I substituted that for 1 tsp of chipotle chili powder.  That definitely packed a bit of heat, so feel free to adjust to your own tastes.

I also took my Aunt’s advice and seeded and drained the tomatoes to avoid a soggy dip.  This is an important step, and one I am surprised the original recipe didn’t include.  My Aunt used Kumato tomatoes, so I followed suit and did the same, but any tomato variety will work.  You’ll want about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chopped tomato.

So there you have it, a healthy 5 layer Mexican dip!  It’s fresh, it’s full of good-for-you ingredients, but still let’s you enjoy the dish you love!

Healthy 5 Layer Mexican Dip from A Thousand Crumbs (2 of 8)

Healthy 5 Layer Mexican Dip

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 30 Mins


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups corn kernels, frozen is okay
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped tomato, seeds removed, and drained
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar



Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor or blender with the black beans, chipotle powder, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, cumin, water and salt. Puree until smooth. Set aside.


Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro.


In a medium bowl mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice.


In another bowl toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


To assemble - spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass baking or serving dish. Top with the corn relish, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese.


Serve with tortilla chips.


To remove the seeds from the tomatoes - slice the tomatoes in half. Run your fingers into the seed chambers and remove all of the seeds. Let tomatoes drain, cut side down, on a paper towel.

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