I love seven layer dip. At least I thought I did. Until this summer, when I took a long, critical look at the classic, world-renowned tailgate and party staple and realized it had a fatal flaw.
Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the satisfying taste. As Stefon would say, “It. Has. Everything.” The problem lies with the way most of us have been taught to assemble the dip: the goopy stuff, like guacamole, is underneath all the stuff that inevitably falls off your chip because it doesn’t have enough “stick”—cheese, olives, etc. Underneath all of this are the refried beans, an anchor layer that’s always way too thick to dig into without breaking the chip and sending said cheese flying across the room or back onto your plate.
This faulty organizational method is slightly improved if you do the ladylike thing of politely spooning out dip onto an appetizer plate and then dipping from your own personal serving. But come on. Who does that? Everyone just digs their chip right into the communal bowl, not even looking at what’s happening because their eyes are glued to the TV screen, or wandering away from the tailgate buffet to grab another beer, or all the things we do at parties when we don’t feel like carrying tiny plates around.
And that’s when seven layer dip chaos ensues.
Being that I love to organize, I thought long and hard about finding a better way to get all the seven layer dip flavors properly onto my chip without such agita. Behold, my improved order of layering seven layer dip!
Look at that glorious stacking! See, the beans are loosened up by sour cream, so they’re oh so scoopable. The black olives and scallions come next, where they become velcro-suctioned to the dippable beans. Next, the feathery shredded cheese, which usually flies everywhere because people throw it on top. Not so here. A handful of chopped tomatoes weighs the cheese down, then gets sandwiched in by fresh guacamole with a power punch of citrus. Finally, a dusting of taco seasoning makes the whole thing look less like a pile of glop. Because visuals are important here.
Instead of one communal scooping trough, I like to divide the seven layer dip between a few smaller bowls so more people have easy access to the goodies. This also makes my husband, the inveterate black olive-hater, a happy man, since the dip can be made in two versions (I’ll stick to my bowl full of the brined beasties, thankyouverymuch). Baking dishes seem to be the industry standard for this kind of thing, but I like using shallow pasta bowls for a change.
Oh, and you may notice from the pictures that I’m submerging nacho cheese Doritos into the seven layer dip. That’s the bad influence of my favorite Texan, Amber from Bluebonnets & Brownies. I’m sure she wouldn’t give you the side-eye if you used Fritos as a dipping mechanism either, but trust. You won’t be able to go back to regular old tortilla chips once you’ve added Doritos to the seven layer dip repertoire.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Makes enough to fill 2 9-inch square baking dishes
- 4 large, ripe avocados
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 jalapeno, cored, seeded, and finely diced (optional)
- 1 1/2 (16-oz.) cans refried beans
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 (2.25-oz.) cans sliced black olives, drained, or 1 (6-oz.) can medium whole black olives, roughly chopped
- 1 large bunch scallions, dark and light green parts finely sliced into rounds
- 1 (8-oz.) bag shredded Mexican cheese (or 1 (8-oz.) block of your favorite cheese—Cheddar, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack—finely shredded)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 batch guacamole (recipe above or use your favorite recipe)
- taco seasoning, for garnish
- 1 bag Nacho Cheese Doritos
Make the guacamole:
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the avocado flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and diced jalapeno (if using) and mash gently with a potato masher or fork until the guacamole is to your desired creamy/chunky consistency.
Assemble the dip:
Mix the refried beans and sour cream together in a medium mixing bowl, then spread evenly in a serving dish or dishes.
Sprinkle the black olives evenly across the creamy beans, then continue layering the scallions, cheese, and tomatoes evenly in order.
Gently spread the guacamole across the tomatoes to “seal” the dip in, then sprinkle taco seasoning lightly over the guacamole.
Serve with Doritos.