Seven-Layer Dip

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Updated Jul 5, 2017 @ 1:07 pm

“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like seven-layer dip,” says Matt Lightner, chef-partner of the two-Michelin star Atera restaurant in New York. He acknowledges, though, that it’s usually “seven layers of pure bad-things-for-you.”

We know all too well how easy it can be to indulge during game time. Luckily for us, Lightner offers his recipe for a healthier and just-as-tasty take on the classic. “Last Super Bowl, the dip I made was so big that it was cascading over the dish. I thought, there’s no way they’ll finish all of this but it was completely gone.”

Below you’ll find the recipe for Lightner’s improved seven-layer dip. If you want to learn more about the philosophy behind the recipe, check out his 7 tips for improved seven-layer dip that he shared with Clean Plates.

Clean Plates bonus: Make your avocado layer extra delicious and nutritious with Lightner’s Carrot-Avocado Guacamole, recipe here.

  • 15 ounces dry pinto beans (approximately 2 cups), or 4 15-ounce cans cooked pinto beans, drained
  • 1 smoked responsibly raised ham hock (inquire with your local butcher)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound responsibly raised ground turkey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced or smashed
  • 1 roasted chili or pepper (such as Anaheim or Poblano), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Other vegetables you love (Lightner suggests grilled zucchini), chopped
  • 1 head of fresh cabbage, finely shaved
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 cups strained yogurt, such as Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (Lightner loves an aged English or Tillamook cheddar)

The first layer and the all-important foundation is the beans:
If you’re using dried beans: The night before, rinse the beans thoroughly, and pick over to remove any broken or shriveled beans or small stones. Put the beans in a large bowl pot and cover with 2-3 inches of fresh water. The next day, strain the liquid and put the beans in a pot with the ham hock and cover with 2 inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that may rise to the surface. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are tender, anywhere from 1-2 hours. Once the beans are soft, add salt to taste. Remove from heat, and let the beans cool in their liquid. Once cooled, strain the liquid, discarding the ham hock. Transfer the beans to a small, deep casserole dish and smash the beans.

If you’re using canned beans: Drain the beans and rinse them under fresh water. Put the beans in a pot with the ham hock and cover with 1-2 inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that may rise to the surface. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are tender, approximately 30-60 minutes. You’ll know the beans are done when they are tender and creamy on the inside. Once the beans are fully cooked, add salt to taste. Remove from heat, and let the beans cool in their liquid. Once cooled, strain the liquid, discarding the ham hock. Transfer the beans to a small, deep casserole dish and smash the beans.

The second layer is the meat:
Add olive oil to a medium sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the ground turkey and cook the meat, stirring only occasionally until the turkey is cooked through. Season with salt, cumin, garlic, chili powder, and Mexican oregano to taste. Add this layer to your casserole.

Now for the rest of the layers:
At this point, it’s up to you what you’ll layer next. Lighter recommends, from bottom to top: cilantro, jalapeño, avocado, roasted chilies or peppers, and tomatoes. After the layer of tomato, continue with any additional vegetables that you like. Lightner loves grilled zucchini, but you should feel free to add any of your favorite vegetables.

Next, dress the cabbage with lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper—that’s your next layer. (If you’d prefer to use lettuce instead of cabbage, choose a hardy lettuce like iceberg or romaine and dress as you would the cabbage.) Next, add a layer of Greek yogurt. Top off your layers with your choice of cheese, and voila.

Serve your seven-layer dip with corn or pita chips (we prefer non-GMO, organic chips) or crudités such as carrot sticks, celery stalks, and endive.