Ole Light! A Southwestern Layered Dip

This is a healthier twist on a classic party appetizer.  Using reduced fat shredded cheese and sour cream will save calories and fat grams, and this dip is so flavorful you won’t even miss them!  Control sodium by using individual seasonings instead of a packaged seasoning mix for the sour cream layer and by making your own guacamole layer.  But!  I don’t want to lose you here, so…  If you don’t wish to bother with all the individual seasonings and/or you don’t have time to make the guacamole layer, then substitute your favorite dry taco seasoning mix for the sour cream layer and pre-packaged guacamole for the guacamole layer.

This makes a dinner or pie plate sized appetizer – Easy to double up for a party-sized platter!  I’ve even quadrupled it in a LARGE shallow salad bowl (you know, the kind you see in buffet lines) for a big crowd.

Ingredient List:

BEAN LAYER

Refried Beans – 1 can Fat Free Vegetarian Refried Beans – refried black beans are delicious, too, and if I am making a large platter, I do a layer of each).  I read the label and avoid the brands with fat/lard.

GUACAMOLE LAYER

Ripe Avocados – 2 to 3 – scooped out of the peel

Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice – about ½ of the lemon or lime – or to your taste

Garlic – fresh minced (1 clove), or Litehouse brand freeze-dried (1/2 teaspoon), or even garlic powder (about ¼ teaspoon)

Onion – fresh minced (about 1 Tablespoon), Litehouse brand freeze-dried (1 teaspoon), or even onion powder (about ½ teaspoon)

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – to taste – or any other hot spice you like such as fresh chopped jalapeno or Serrano peppers.

SOUR CREAM LAYER

Reduced fat sour cream – 1 cup

Chili Powder – 2 teaspoons

Onion Salt – ½ teaspoon

Onion Powder – ¼ teaspoon

Garlic Powder – ¼ teaspoon

Ground Cumin – ¼ teaspoon

Or you could use pre-packaged taco seasoning mix (about 1 tablespoon) instead of this mixture of spices.  If you opt to mix your own, I used powdered spices here to simulate the texture of the seasoning mix, but you could use fresh onion and garlic, or the freeze-dried Litehouse brand versions as in the guacamole above.

CHEESE LAYER

Shredded Cheese – your choice of flavors – I used reduced fat – 1 to 2 cups or as much as you like

TOMATO LAYER

Fresh Tomatoes – seeded and diced – When the garden is not in season, I try to find ripe Roma tomatoes.  But I have also used grape tomatoes – whatever is truly ripe, flavorful and red

GARNISH LAYERS

Green Onions – 1 bunch – washed and sliced – use the green part, too, for great color!

Sliced Black Olives – I really do use the canned version here….

Directions:

Layer in order on a large dinner plate or party platter:  beans, guacamole mixture, sour cream layer mixture, cheese, tomatoes and garnishes.  Cover and chill several hours.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Funny thing – when people are around when I make this, it seldom makes it to the “cover and chill” stage – it just gets eaten!  Either way, it’s all good…

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