Ordering an appetizer at a Mexican restaurant could eat up your calorie allowance for an entire day,

By Kathy Manweiler

Ordering an appetizer at a Mexican restaurant could eat up your calorie allowance for an entire day, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The watchdog group says an item with ingredients such as fried chips, guacamole, cheese, refried beans and sour cream often contains as many as 2,000 calories. So it’s no wonder that lots of Don’t Say Diet readers keep requesting lighter versions of Mexican foods.

Today, I’m sharing my recipe for a healthy nine-layer dip.

Refried beans often contain lard, but I slimmed down this recipe by simply mashing some kidney beans. If you want to kick up the flavor, you could mix some salsa into the beans once they’re mashed. I also chose reduced-fat versions of sour cream and cheese.

Plus, I make my own guacamole because some brands of guacamole are high in fat and calories. My guacamole recipe makes more than you’ll need for this dip, but you can save the rest for another day or freeze it.

My homemade tortilla chips save more calories and fat grams because they’re baked, not fried. These chips taste best when they’re served straight from the oven, so if you’re not going to eat them all at once, I recommend making the chips in smaller batches.

You can have a serving of my nine layer dip for 225 calories and 7 grams of fat.


2‚Ñ3 cup light sour cream

1‚Ñ8 teaspoon cumin

1‚Ñ8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1‚Ñ8 teaspoon paprika

Dash salt

1 (16-ounce) can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

3‚Ñ4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese made with 2 percent milk, finely shredded

1‚Ñ4 cup sliced black olives

1‚Ñ4 cup sliced green onions

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

1‚Ñ2 cup lighter guacamole (recipe follows)

For chips:

16 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Optional seasonings: Salt, chili pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper.

For lighter guacamole:

1 large ripe avocado, peeled and cut in half

1‚Ñ2 cup light sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 or 2 jalapeno peppers

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon cumin

1‚Ñ8 teaspoon pepper

1‚Ñ2 cup tomato, seeded and chopped

To make guacamole: Use rubber or plastic gloves to seed the jalapeno peppers and finely chop them. In a food processor, combine one half of the avocado and the sour cream, onion, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, cumin and pepper. Cover and process until smooth. In a bowl, mash the remaining half of the avocado with a fork. Stir in the pureed avocado mixture and gently fold in tomato.

To make dip: Combine the light sour cream, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Put the beans in a microwave-safe shallow dish and mash them with a stick blender or a fork. Put the dish in the microwave and heat the beans 2 to 5 minutes, or unti hot. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the beans.

Spread the guacamole over the cheese. Sprinkle the olives over the guacamole. Spread the sour cream mixture over the olives. Sprinkle the green onions on the sour cream. Put the tomatoes on top of the green onion. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tomatoes and top with the fresh cilantro.

To make chips: Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges, put them on a baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle on salt or other seasonings to taste, then bake the tortilla wedges for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until lightly toasted and crispy. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Per serving (1‚Ñ8 of dip with 16 chips): 225 calories, 35 carb grams, 292mg sodium, 7 fat grams, 5 protein grams, no cholesterol, 5.6 fiber grams

Dip recipe adapted from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. Guacamole recipe slightly adapted from the “Taste of Home” cookbook.

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