This post has been updated for content since its original publication in 2017. The recipe remains the same.
Want a healthy bean dip recipe that’s quick and easy to make? My chunky, vibrant black bean dip is loaded with fresh vegetables and a few convenience items. Make this crowd-pleasing favorite as mild or spicy as you like. This simple bean dip recipe goes great with tortilla chips or use it as a lively salsa over chicken, pork and seafood. You’ll love the lively flavors and I guarantee, this zesty mix won’t last long at your next gathering.
I can’t take credit. This chunky bean dip recipes comes courtesy of my friend, Nola. (Thank you very much!) It has appeared at countless barbecues, poolside veg-sessions and long weekends in the Keys. To be candid, I make this dip recipe for everything from game-day tailgates to neighborhood potlucks or just for snacking with a cold beer. But there are times when this healthy black bean dip an absolute necessity… Cinco De Mayo, I’m looking at you!
Black bean dip for Cinco De Mayo
To me, this recipe is perfect for Cinco de Mayo. It’s light, fresh and flavorful with classic Mexican flavors, without being weighed down with tons of cheese or dairy.
Don’t reserve this bean dip recipe just for Cinco De Mayo, though. It’s great all summer long, over long holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. In fact, any time you’ve got family, friends or neighbors coming over for a cookout, put out a cool bowl of black bean dip with a bag of your favorite tortilla chips and watch it disappear.
Ingredients for healthy bean dip
- Red Bell Pepper
- Yellow Bell Pepper
- Canned Black Beans
- Ro-Tel (canned tomatoes with peppers)
- Red Onion
- Fresh Lime Zest & Juice
What you’ll appreciate about this bean dip is that it straddles the line between fresh food and convenience items.
Fresh is the crunchy bell peppers, red and green onion, zesty lime, garlic, spicy jalapeno and aromatic cilantro.
Convenience items are the canned black beans and Ro-Tel. (Note: if you can’t find Ro-Tel, it’s simply a mix of diced tomatoes and green chiles that you can also chop fresh yourself).
The secret to a perfect, chunky bean dip is chopping all the ingredients about the same size. Here are my recommendations.
Tips for chopping
- Chop the vegetables uniformly to about the same size as a black bean. Why? It’s the same reason as why chopped salads are cut to uniform sizes. It makes it more visually appealing and easier to eat. Big uneven chunks of peppers, onions or jalapeños can be unappetizing and more difficult to scoop and eat. Chopping the ingredients to roughly the same size allows you to get all of the fresh flavors into one delicious bite.
- Have a good knife for chopping. Not one of those $15 supermarket brands — a REAL KNIFE. I know, they can be expensive, but a good knife will last you a lifetime. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but you can generally find a decent quality blade for between $50-$125.
- Make sure your knife is sharp. A good sharp knife makes all the difference when prepping this dip. I have a 7″ santoku knife that fits perfectly in my hand and the blade rocks easily from the tip to the hilt. It makes chopping a breeze.
- It helps to use the steel before chopping, to put a fresh edge on the blade, but you can also sharpen your knives professionally or buy an electric knife sharpener to give them a once over every month or two (depending on how much you cook).
Yes. You can make it up to 3 days before serving. However, to make it super fresh, wait to add the cilantro until just before you serve it, otherwise it will wilt. A fresh squeeze of lime juice before serving will brighten up the flavors too.
So you’ve made a big batch, served it at your cookout, but you’ve still got some leftovers? That’s ok, the bean dip will keep for 3-5 days, covered in the refrigerator. Take a note from the tip above and add fresh cilantro and lime before serving again.
No. The fresh vegetables won’t do well in the freezer because their cells will expand, burst and then leave the veggies soggy and mushy. Don’t do it.
Though I haven’t tried it (because I like the black beans in this dip), theoretically, you could use cannellini beans, pinto beans, small white beans or just about any other canned beans. Avoid garbanzo beans and kidney beans here as they have a tougher skin and are chewier.
Use more jalapeno or add your favorite hot sauce to the dip.
What to serve with black bean dip
Once you’ve whipped up this easy bean dip recipe, be sure to have several bags of tortilla chips on hand — which are the ideal transport for getting the dip from the bowl to you mouth! Another option are Fritos corn chips or a sturdy potato chip (I’m currently hooked on Trader Joe’s Wavy Cut chips).
Use healthy bean dip as a salsa topping
My daughter (who sticks to a dairy free diet) loves this black bean dip to snack on, but she also tucks it into tacos and burritos to add a ton more flavor while still being healthy. Oh, and it goes great with a cold margarita.
This simple no-cook black bean dip is an easy chop and dump recipe (my favorite). I think it improves by sitting for an hour or two for the flavors to marry, but it’s never stopped me from diving in before that allotted time frame.
More black bean recipes you might like:
- Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Black Bean and Rice Salad
- Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup
- Tex Mex Braised Pork Stew
More healthy homemade dips to try:
- Creamy Tuscan White Bean Dip
- Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush)
- Hummus with Basil Cilantro Oil
- Creamy Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
Black Bean Dip
- 1/2 red bell pepper 1/4″ dice
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper 1/4″ dice
- 1 jalapeño seeded and minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced on a bias
- 2 15- ounce cans black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 10 ounce can original “rotel” tomatoes with green chili drained
- 1/2 small red onion finely diced
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- tortilla chips
- In a large bowl combine the bell peppers, jalapeño, garlic, beans, scallions, rotel tomatoes, lime zest and juice, red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Serve with tortilla chips and cold cervezas.