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One of my most vivid memories from my childhood revolves around food (is it any wonder that I grew up to be a chef?).

I’m sitting at the kitchen table at a friend’s house in Montreal. It’s Christmas time. I can smell warm salsa and melted cheese as steam from the baking dish warms my face (the cold of Montreal winters lingers in your bones long after you’ve come in from the snow). I take a tortilla chip from the napkin-lined serving basket and dip it into the four layers of melted cheddar, salsa, black beans, and cream cheese. I put the chip in my mouth and promptly declare that I will not leave the table until I have eaten enough of this dip to put me into a food coma.

I’m eight years old.

Thirty years later, my obsession with bean layer dip shows no signs of letting up. That said, I no longer eat dairy or corn. You'd think that would prove problematic, but luckily, I'm a master of substitutions.

After years of testing and tweaking, this recipe has become my go-to. It starts with a base of homemade cashew cream cheese on the bottom, followed by homemade bean dip, homemade guacamole, salsa, and my favorite non-dairy cheese from Miyokos. I suggest topping it with some fresh cilantro and serving it with your favorite corn-free tortilla chips. My personal favorites are either from The Real Coconut or from Siete Foods

While (let's be honest, here) no dairy-free substitute can really ever come close to the perfection that is real melted cheese, this dip makes up for it in other ways. In my humble opinion, it is a worthy contender to the OG.

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

The first layer: Cashew Cheese

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

The second layer: Black bean dip

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

The third layer: Guacamole

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

The fourth layer: Salsa

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

The final step: Adding the cheese!

The Healthiest Bean Layer Dip In All The Land

And scene.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6Servings


Black Bean Dip

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 shallot, small diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cashew Cream Cheese

  • 1 ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight in water and then strained
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (optional - for sweetness)
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup water


  • 3 ripe avocados, pitted
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • ½ cup salsa (your favorite store-bought one will do)
  • ½ cup shredded non-dairy cheese (I like Miyokos because it’s melts nicely)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped (for garnish)
  • Corn-free tortilla chips (for serving)


1. Make the black bean dip: heat the avocado oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and season with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Use a potato masher to crush the beans to the consistency of guacamole. Set aside.

2. Make the cashew cream cheese: combine the soaked cashews, lemon juice, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper in a food processor with ⅓ cup of water. Process until smooth, about 5 minutes, stopping halfway through to scrape down the sides. Set aside.

3. Make the guacamole: combine the avocado flesh, lime and lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Set aside.

4. Assemble the dip: spread the cashew cream cheese out in an 8x8-inch baking dish. Top with black bean dip, guac, and salsa. Finish with shredded non dairy cheese and place under the broiler for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Top with roughly chopped cilantro (and any other garnish, like olives), and serve with your favorite tortilla chips.


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