Dips are my favorite food group. Yes, food group. If I ever get a tattoo it would probably say something like, "pass the hummus".
I recently threw a party for no reason, and like most of my meetings, they involve a lot of food. But I didn't feel like taking an emergency dip, like tzatziki or baba ganoush. No, I wanted to level up and create something that I hadn't tried before. Something with BIG DIP ENERGY - a big chunk, spicy, creamy and most importantly impressive diaper dipping. I had cooked pinto beans the night before, had a little can of chipotle peppers in the pantry, and I knew that if I cut a few wedges this stuff would fall into place so I would still have time to Tizzer me before the guests arrived.
My childhood memories of diaper soaking involve many cans and jars of processed food being thrown into a large bowl, but the current-reality-holistic-nutritionist version absolutely involves doing each of those things from scratch. Mom doesn't have time for that! So I made it simple by cutting the guacamole (don't yell at me like that - add it if you want!), And using salsa in a jar. Everything else was homemade, but came together quickly and easily.
First, I sautéed the precooked pinto beans with onions, garlic, spices and chipotle peppers. While it was on the stove, I whipped up the “queso” hemp seed (no soaking required!). And the salsa has been enhanced with fresh, chopped cherry tomatoes. This is such an easy hack, as it makes the salsa taste more lively and juicy, while also giving it a lot more texture, which I personally prefer. Then just scoop the beans out of the pan a bit, which you can do with a bean press or an immersion blender, if you don't want to take out other large equipment. Then go to bed! All in all, it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish, and the revelers were hanging around this bowl like it was the last dip on planet Earth.
The delicious creamy 'cheese' sauce is a riff on my cashew queso, but in the interest of keeping this allergen in, I used hemp seeds instead. I love this change because it's cheaper and has a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and protein. You can turn up the heat here if you like, but because the salsa and the bean layer both kick in, I kept the queso pretty sweet. Did I mention it's delicious on its own next to a platter of veggie sticks ?! Or chips. Let’s be honest.
Pinto Bean Dreams
Look at these beautiful beans! Aren't they gorgeous in all their tone-on-tone mottled hue? “Pinto” actually means “painted” in Spanish, and when you take a close look at the pinto beans you can clearly see how they earned their nickname. Their spots fade during cooking and take on a beautiful pale pink color. They also gain a super creamy interior which is perfect in soups and stews, but also in dips.
Pintos, like all beans, are a blend of protein and complex carbohydrates, which makes them incredibly filling, but won't raise blood sugar. Pinto beans are low in calories and fat, but contain the highest amount of fiber of any legume (wow!). The main nutrients in pinto beans include potassium for maintaining normal blood pressure, calcium for supporting muscle and nerve function, iron for improving oxygen transport, and zinc for healthy skin.
Like all beans, pintos can cause an increase in intestinal gas (burping! Pets! Abdominal discomfort!), Due to the oligosaccharides in the beans fermenting in the lower intestine. Because these starch molecules live in the skin of beans, a simple soak in water overnight usually does the trick. The steeping process will help leach out many of these fermentation properties, which is why it is so important to discard the steep water and then boil it in fresh water. Adding a strip of kombu seaweed to the pot will further help reduce the gas-producing potential of pinto beans (and all legumes), acting like a sponge to soak up raffinose sugar culprits. Try these two tips to cut back on toilet airs and stay social!
I used a clear glass bowl to serve the dip so that the layers were visible, and it wasn't until I had poured two layers that I got the idea to put cilantro stems on the sides. Doh! But knowing it would be #worthit, I carefully scooped up the beans and salsa trying to keep everything separate, cleaned the bowl and started over. I lightly brushed the smaller amount of olive oil over the leaves to act like glue, then pressed them against the sides of the bowl. It's completely unnecessary, but it makes the soak less monotonous and more appealing in my opinion - green always does! This step takes an additional two minutes and adds a decorative touch, but it's your choice. Maybe you need those two minutes to get excited?
If you want to change the recipe, try using black beans or kidney beans in place of pintos. If you want to add another layer to this already boss situation, go ahead and add the guac! I was just trying to make things a little easier for you. And if you want to make your own salsa, I have a stellar raw recipe here.
Finally I would like to add that my bowl for this had a capacity of around 1½ liter / liter, and all that is suitable Perfectly. I would only suggest sizing if you don't have that exact container size.
Legendary Bean Dip
For 8 to 10 people
1 tbsp. coconut oil (or ghee)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (substitute with regular oregano)
½ teaspoon ground sweet paprika
3 cups / 500 g cooked pinto beans (about 2 cans)
½ can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use more or less to taste)
water as needed
1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and dried
1 pint / 280 g cherry tomatoes, divided
1 green onion, sliced (white and green part)
1 small jar (15.5 oz / 415 ml) store-bought salsa, medium mild or hot, to taste
1 cup / 145g shelled hemp seeds
1 medium red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
½ garlic clove
1 small piece of fresh turmeric, chopped (replace with ½ tsp dried)
ground cayenne pepper, to taste
3 tbsp water, if needed
1. Melt the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and toss to combine. Cook until lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes), then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in the cumin, oregano and paprika, cook for 2 minutes, then add the beans and chipotles to the adobo (use as much or as little as you'd like). Cover and cook over low heat while you make the queso. If the pot becomes dry, add a little water and stir.
2. To prepare the queso, put all the ingredients, except the water, in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If necessary, add water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You won't get a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it's still delicious!).
3. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Add half of them to the salsa and mix. Save the other half for later.
4. Crush the beans with a bean press, potato masher, immersion blender or put them in your high speed blender (remove the queso first, but don't worry about cleaning it). The goal is to get beans that are creamy, but not perfectly smooth. Add water if necessary and season to taste.
5. Pick a few stalks of the most attractive cilantro, brush them with a little olive oil, and stick them to the inner wall of the bowl (this step is optional). Chop the remaining cilantro and set aside.
6. Toss the remaining cherry tomatoes and combine them with the chopped onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and fold to combine.
7. To assemble the dip, first spread the layer of beans in the bottom, then the salsa, and finally the hemp queso. Garnish with chopped cilantro and finally the fresh tomato mixture. Serve with whatever you like to dip! Made the feast!
Hope you are all doing well. If you encounter any semblance of spring weather where you are, send me one. Thank you K. Have a nice dip!
xo, Sarah B
Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.
There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the final product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch exercices to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.
Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.
In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.
Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.
This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. to avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.
Prepping céréales in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.
So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) déjeuner. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.
You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.
You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.
The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.
You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy texture we know and love.
It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.