Do your autumn weekends include Halloween parties or tailgating? If so, you’re going to want to make room on your snack table for this vegan 7 layer dip.
This gluten-free appetizer is layered with refried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, non-dairy cream cheese, lettuce, red bell peppers, and shredded non-dairy cheese.
We’d planned on meeting up at the pumpkin patch, like we usually do. But the rain had other plans for us.
Instead, we did our pumpkin purchasing at the grocery store. Oh, well, the vegan potluck aspect is the best part anyway, and there were still plenty of snacks to be had.
Ashley went all out with loads of treats – including warm apple cider, pumpkin cookies, and chocolate pudding “dirt” cups with vegan gummy worms. She also put out a round of Miyoko’s cashew cheese, and even that had a Halloween costume.
Hannah and Carl brought a savory snack mix that included coconut bacon in the mix. We got to take a jar home with us too. Very tasty stuff!
I used the occasion to make vegan 7 layer dip.
There are seven reasons to love this dip, but it’s not something I usually make since we’re a household of two. Nachos serve the same purpose, and that tends to be our default.
However, there’s something very enticing about layers upon layers of deliciousness that makes me eager to dive in chip first. It’s like a gustatory archaeological dig.
Homemade refried beans take things up a notch
For the first layer of vegan 7 layer dip, I started with my favorite homemade vegan refried beans. You could certainly go with a can of refried beans instead, but you can’t beat the flavor of homemade.
Or for a change of pace, make refried black beans instead.
(Without any prompting from me, my friends said that the refried beans were the best part of this dip.)
Like any good recipe, you start by sautéing onions and garlic, and then you cook pinto beans with water and spices until everything has melded and softened.
Then it’s time for some mashing. I’ve used a fork in a pinch, and that will do. But for velvety smooth refried beans, an immersion blender comes in very handy. Then I popped it into a container and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the dip.
Non-dairy cream cheese options
The second layer is non-dairy cream cheese. Miyoko’s cream cheese is my usual favorite. Kite Hill is a good second choice.
However, on this day I used Trader Joe’s non-dairy cream cheese, and that worked beautifully as well. It’s less expensive than the others. With so many flavors going on here, you don’t really need to pay a premium for higher end cream cheeses.
If you prefer homemade, Miyoko’s recipe for cream cheese from Artisan Vegan Cheese is very tasty and not too difficult as far as vegan cheese-making goes. It just takes some pre-planning. It’s your call!
The remaining layers
The third layer is guacamole – homemade or store-bought.
It’s followed by a layer of cherry tomato pico de gallo. Cherry tomatoes work especially well in a 7 layer dip, because they aren’t as watery as your usual tomatoes. Nobody wants a soupy 7 layer dip.
Finally, it’s finished off with chopped romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, and shredded non-dairy cheese.
How to make it ahead of time
The day before the party, I made all of the layers separately. Then I put them together in a large glass bowl just a couple of hours before we were meeting up.
I drained any liquid off of the pico de gallo and refried beans before spreading them into the serving bowl, so that everything would be as dry as possible for clean, orderly layers.
Vegan 7 layer dip
Cherry tomato pico de gallo
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup onions chopped small
- 1 heaping Tablespoon cilantro
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Pinch salt
To make cherry tomato pico de gallo
- In a medium sized bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Taste and add additional lime juice or salt, if necessary. Set aside.
To make 7 layer dip
- Fill the bottom of a large glass bowl with an even layer of refried beans.
- Then spread non-dairy cream cheese evenly across the top.
- Then add an even layer of guacamole.
- Then spoon on the cherry tomato pico de gallo across the top, making sure to cover all of the guacamole, so that it doesn't oxidize and brown.
- Add a layer of chopped romaine and chopped red bell peppers.
- Finish with a layer of shredded non-dairy cheese. Depending on the size of your bowl and your own preferences, sprinkle on 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate, or serve right away with tortilla chips for dipping.