Hey football fans, do you know what this Sunday is?
It’s that bowl thing you get really excited about every year.
I’m going to be honest with you little cookies, I’m not big on sports. The Super Bowl means as much to me as the latest Twilight premiere means to most men. But (if we’re still being honest), there is one aspect of the Big Game that gets me excited: the food.
The Super Bowl doesn’t just mean football, grown adults hollering at the TV screen, or amusing commercials (the only part of the game I watch); it means finger foods galore. Dips, chips, wings, pizza, and more congregate on this day in order to provide fans with handheld and deep-fried goodness. I may not know who’s playing in the Big Game this year (let alone how football works to begin with), but I do know a thing or two about food.
What’s a quintessential Game Day eat? Dip, of course. It’s standard, snackable finger food fare, perfect for parties and get togethers like watching the Superbowl because it can be shared (just don’t be “that person” who double dips). However, achieving the perfect dip is more complicated than one might think. You need something substantial, not so thin that it’s like soup, but not so thick that it’s undippable*. A little bit of kick is always a crowd-pleaser, but you don’t want to go too hot in case you’ve got some spice-intolerant* people attending your Game Day gathering. Cheese makes pretty much any dip perfect, but go too rich and you’ll be sending your over-stuffed guests rolling home. Perhaps more importantly than all of this, that dip better be delicious.
Guess what? I’ve got a dip to satisfy all of the above criteria: Cheddar Jack Bean Dip. It’s nice and thick while still passing the No-Break Chip Test,* and it’s got the ideal balance of hearty yet not overly rich. There is definitely some heat here, the kind that sneaks up on you. You take a bite and you think you’re safe, when all of a sudden, it hits you. Hello, red pepper flakes; Didn’t realize you where there…
This Bean Dip isn’t just packing heat; it’s exploding with flavor too. Between the onions, garlic, olive oil, and of course, that spicy kick, your mouth is going to be partying hard with every bite. Super Bowl Party? What Super Bowl Party? The party is happening in this dip.
The crowning glory to this already delectable dip is a layer of melted cheese, Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack to be exact. It gives that little bit of decadence to take the dip over the top without putting you over your limit of indulgence. A melty blanket is the perfect finishing touch for this flavorful, multidimensional dip.
Can I tell you a secret though? Actually, can I tell you two? First of all, this dip is crazy easy to make; I’m talking make-it-in-your-sleep easy. It takes 5 minutes to throw together and 10 to bake. Plus, you probably have the ingredients on hand, which means it’s a convenient, go-to recipe.
And secondly, it’s actually relatively healthy. The only semi-unhealthy ingredient in the dip is the cheese topping; the dip itself is practically guilt-free. There’s no cream, butter, or other fattening ingredients. Its smooth, creamy texture is attributed to beans and olive oil. And those beans are packing protein, which makes this a great vegetarian dip.
Does this dip have any flaws?
Yes, one: it’s impossible to stop eating.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Feel free to substitute black beans for the kidney beans. Use what you like best or already have on hand.
- Switch out the Monterey Jack cheese for Pepper Jack to really add a kick to this dip.
- Not a fan of spicy stuff? Cut out the red pepper flakes and try using 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne instead of the full teaspoon instead.
- Serve with chips, celery sticks, or crackers; whatever you like.
- Use this dip to make one kick-butt quesadilla. Spread the bean dip between to tortillas, stuff with cheese, and bake until hot and melty. I was going to keep this idea to myself, but it’s too delicious not to share!
- Skip the cheese & serve cold instead of baking for a twist on traditional hummus.
- Don’t skip the onions! They really elevate the flavor of this dip.
- If you want to use jarred minced garlic, that’s fine. But for the love of dip, don’t use powdered!
- This recipe is meant to serve 3-4. If you’re having a large gathering, feel free to double it.
Cheddar Jack Bean Dip
By The Smart Cookie Cook
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 7.75-oz. can chickpeas
- 1 16-oz. can kidney beans
- 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- generous dash red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a food processor, puree garlic, onions, chickpeas, beans, and olive oil until smooth but still slightly chunky. Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste and pulse until it reaches desired consistency (I think it’s best almost completely smooth, with just a bit of chunkiness left). Taste test and add more pepper if you’d like it hotter. You can also add more olive oil to make it slightly smoother, but keep in mind it will become slightly more “dippable” after it’s heated.
- Pour the dip into the baking dish. Bake for 5 minutes. Sprinkle cheeses on top of dip and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and dip is hot in the center.
- Serve with chips and get dipping!
*Undippable – (adj.) Too thick or cement-like to dip a chip, cracker, or other vessel in without breaking said vessel.
*Spice-Intolerant – (adj) Unable to handle hot or spicy foods; disliking spicy foods.
*No-Break Chip Test – (n.) An evaluation of dips based on a chip’s ability to hold up to said dip during dipping.