Why You’ll Love It
It’s easy to make. You can make each layer from scratch, or speed the process with the help of some convenience items. Using canned refried beans (fat-free ones are usually vegan; check the label), prepared guacamole or salsa will help things move along even faster.
It’s delicious. The creamy vegan cheese sauce, seasoned beans, and creamy guacamole all work together in this dish to provide loads of flavor in each bite. It’s perfect for game days, and general snacking.
It’s easy to customize. When you make each layer yourself, you get to control the spice level and seasoning. Skip the jalapeno for a more mild seven layer dip, or add some sliced black olives on top, if you like the extra salty addition. (Olives can be very polarizing, so I left them off this time.) Feel free to omit or add any extra layers you like.
It’s dairy-free. For those who are vegan, or don’t digest cheese well, the homemade cheese sauce is a delicious alternative. It provides creaminess, almost like a vegan sour cream, but it also adds a satisfying nacho cheese flavor. It tastes like the kind of dip you’d get at a movie theater or baseball game.
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in vegan 7-layer dip?
- Refried beans
- Cashew cheese sauce
- Red onion
These 7 items create a flavorful dip that you can assemble in just a matter of minutes. Even if you make everything from scratch, including the refried beans, it’s ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. Most layers take just a few minutes to stir together!
But, for the fastest prep work, you can start with a can of refried beans. Just be sure to check the package label to ensure it’s vegan, if needed. I also recommend looking for refried beans that are well-seasoned, so your dip will have plenty of flavor in each layer. (Look for more than just salt on the label.)
How to Make Vegan 7 Layer Dip
1. Make the vegan queso.
Prepare the refried beans if you are planning to make them from scratch, but if you use a can of refried beans, you can skip straight to making the dairy-free cheese sauce, instead.
In a high-speed blender, add the cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, green chilies, and jalapenos. Blend until very smooth and creamy, then set it aside.
2. Make the guacamole.
You can use store-bought guacamole if you prefer, but to make it from scratch, you’ll add 2 large avocados to a bowl, along with lime juice and salt.
Mash with a fork until the avocado is relatively smooth, then add in the diced tomatoes, jalapeno, and red onion. Stir again, then adjust any flavoring to taste.
3. Make the pico de gallo.
For maximum flavor, you can stir the last 4 ingredients together to make a flavorful topping. Add the remaining diced tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro to a medium bowl and season it with lime juice and salt. Stir well, and then set it aside.
Spread the refried beans evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch square dish. Pour the cheese sauce on top and smooth it out with the back of a spoon or spatula.
Use a spoon to distribute the guacamole as the next layer, then use a slotted spoon to add the final mixture of pico de gallo on top. If you’d like to add extra toppings, like shredded lettuce or chopped green onions, you can do that now, too.
Garnish with extra cilantro and serve with tortilla chips, for an impressive looking appetizer.
Leftover dip can be stored tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that the avocado might start to brown in the guacamole layer, so this is best prepared the day you plan on serving it.
Make Ahead Tip: You can prepare the refried beans, nacho cheese sauce, and pico de gallo in advance. Just store them in separate containers in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.
The guacamole layer can be made the same day you plan on serving it, for maximum freshness.
More Healthy Snack Ideas
Looking for more recipe inspiration? Try these!
- Homemade Hummus. You can whip this dip together in just 5 minutes using a blender or food processor, and it tastes better than anything you’d buy at the store.
- Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip. This warm dip has all the comfort and flavor you love, without the dairy.
- Brownie Batter Hummus. If you want a sweet option, this fiber-rich dip tastes like brownie batter. Serve with fresh fruit or graham crackers.
Vegan 7-Layer Dip
- 1 (15 oz.) can vegetarian refried beans (or use homemade refried beans)
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 (4 oz) can green chilies
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4-6 jarred jalapeno slices (optional)
- 2 large ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt , chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- ¼ red onion , diced
- 1 roma tomato , diced
- 1 jalapeno , seeds & membrane removed, diced (optional)
- 2 roma tomatoes , diced
- ¼ red onion , diced
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- In an 8-inch square pan (or similar sized dish) spread the refried beans evenly into the bottom, using the back of a spoon or spatula.
- To prepare the cheese sauce, add the cashews, water, lemon juice, green chilies, and salt into a high speed blender and blend until very smooth, about 60 seconds. If the sauce isn't blending smoothly, you can add another tablespoon of water and blend again. Pour the cheese sauce on top of the bean layer, and spread it out evenly.
- To prepare the guacamole, scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl, along with the lime juice and salt. Use a fork to mash the avocado until it's smooth, then stir in the diced red onion, tomatoes, and jalapeno, if using. Spoon the guacamole over the cheese layer, and gently spread it out.
- Rinse & dry the bowl you just used for the guacamole, then add in the remaining diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno ( or omit for a less-spicy dip). Add in the lime juice and salt, and stir well. Then use a slotted spoon to distribute the veggies over the guacamole. Serve the dip right away with crunchy tortilla chips and sliced veggies, or you can store it tightly covered in the fridge for up to 2 hours before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, but keep in mind that it may become more watery as it sits, so this is best served the same day you make it. (See make-ahead tips in the notes below.)
If you try this healthy 7 layer dip, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!