Happy Layers Nacho Dip

Happy Layers Nacho Dip
Happy Layers Nacho Dip

This is that layered Mexican dip that someone always brings to a potluck.  I don’t recall being a huge fan of it in the pre-diagnosis days, but it was one of the random things I really missed when I suddenly couldn’t have it.  This version is only 4 layers (no sour cream and no olives), but feel free to add the olives if that’s your scene.  Neither Denise nor I have found a good substitute for sour cream if you’re dairy and soy free (I liked the Tofutti when I still was eating soy).

Two of the layers are adapted recipes — the nacho cheez is my final version of Joanne Stepaniak’s nacho cheese from  The Uncheese Cookbook.   Go check out the original and play around with it — it offers a lot of latitude in choice of flours and non-dairy milk.  This is one of my go-to comfort food recipes on work days now (the cheez alone, with chips, not this dip).  The red lentil “refried beans” are slightly adapted from Heather Van Vorous’ Eating for IBS.

This was one of my first experiments for allergen-free cooking for parties, and I’m pretty happy with it.  Make sure to plan ahead — you need perfectly ripe avocados for this recipe, a bit soft, but not yet squishy.  Leftovers will keep for 4-5 days, but they do get a little squishy and the avocado will brown a little.  Just a little though, because of the layering.

A note on formatting — this is how I write out recipes for myself, with ingredients grouped by step, not all at the beginning.  I find I’m less likely to get lost in the recipe this way.  I would love to know what you think of it.  I’ve put a full ingredient list at the bottom, for those of you who are traditionalists.

Happy Layers Nacho Dip

This is a four layer dip.  The recommended layer order is important to the structural integrity of the dish, as well as its freshness.

Grease a 11×8 glass pan.

Layer One: “Refried” Beans

In saucepan, mix:

red lentils
red lentils
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 ¾ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Whisk occasionally, cooking until smooth consistency, about 40 minutes.

"Refried" lentils
“refried” lentils

Let briefly cool, and then smooth into pan.  Let cool completely.  If you want to do this step the night before, go ahead.

Layer Two: Guacamole

Homemade Guacamole
homemade guacamole

Best to keep this one simple.  Smash together:

  • 2-3 ripe Haas avocados
  • large pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of ½ to 1 fresh lime (use your judgement — you want smooth, but not liquidy)

You can use a potato masher, a pastry cutter, or a fork to smash avocados.  I prefer a fork.  You could use the large Florida avocados, if you get them, but I find them too often bad up here.  Could just be the distance.  They are enough bigger that you’d likely only need one.  Smooth guac over top of the beans in the pan.

Layer Three: Nacho Cheeze

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together:

  • ½ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoky Spanish paprika (pimentón), or, if you do not have this, use regular paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you are Denise or just like it really hot)

Whisk together all dry ingredients first.  Then add

  • ¼ cup olive oil

    Nacho Cheez dip in its primordial state
    Nacho Cheez dip in its primordial state

Whisk together

  • Add 2 cups unsweetened rice milk

Cook over medium heat until mixture reaches a boil and starts to thicken.

  • Add either fresh chopped cilantro or about 2 teaspoons (two cubes) of frozen herbs.

Pour over the first two layers and smooth on carefully — getting sort of a seal of the cheez layer is what keeps the guacamole layer green.  Cover and chill.

Top with a final layer of salsa just before serving — tomatillo salsa (the green one) highly recommended for flavor, but traditional red salsa provides more color contrast. Or hey, get festive like I did in the top photo, and attempt stripes! Note: Salsa is not easily constrained to your decorative purposes.

Serve cold, with tortilla chips.

Dip on Chips
Happy Layer Nacho Dip on chips (with ominous camera shadow)

Full Ingredients List in Traditional Cookbook Order:

Refried Lentils
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 ¾ cups water
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Guacamole
2-3 ripe Haas avocados
large pinch of kosher salt
juice of ½ to 1 fresh lime (use your judgement — you want smooth, but not liquidy)

Nacho Cheez
½ cup garbanzo bean flour
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon smoky Spanish paprika (pimentón), or, if you do not have this, use regular paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried mustard
2 teaspoons dried oregano
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you are Denise or just like it really hot)
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups unsweetened rice milk
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro (I use the convenient frozen cubes). Add more if you like.

Jar of salsa for topping. Takes about 1/3 to 1/2 of a regular-sized jar.

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