Meatless Monday: Black bean dip

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Hear me out: Let’s serve dip for dinner tonight. Or in your kids’ lunchboxes tomorrow. And credit where it’s due: This recipe is cribbed almost entirely from M’s dad as black bean dip is one of his signature party dishes.

This gloop is primarily black beans, with just a smidge of cream cheese for richness and some onions, garlic, and spices to make it aromatic. Add in a dash of lime juice for acid, a smattering of shredded cheese on top that gets all melty and crispy in the oven, and you have a quick and hearty dish in about 30 minutes. AND, you can make it an even faster meal if you a small cast-iron or other oven-safe saute pan.

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox
Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

The taste and texture of this dip remind me of refried beans, but better.

You can scoop it into tortillas with some fresh veggies for a meatless dinner that’s full of protein. Or add shredded rotisserie chicken or other leftover proteins from the weekend for an even heartier meal. OR squash this concoction between tortillas for a dinner or lunch quesadilla.

Also, M is very keen on chips and dip as dinner, but I don’t want him to burn out on guacamole as it’s one of our go-to’s. And beans are an excellent source of non-meat protein, so if he’s suddenly off of meat, which toddlers often are, this dip helps to fill him up for a good night’s sleep (hopefully).

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Black bean dip

1 Tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp oregano
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cream cheese
½ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp lime juice
1-2 Tbsp water
1-1½ cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. (I don’t use the broiler for this one because I want it to warm the dip while it melts the cheese and the broiler is a bit too much heat, too fast.)

In a small skillet (bonus if it’s oven safe! You’ll only need one pan!), heat the olive oil over a medium low flame. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

Place the cooked onions, garlic, and spices in a blender or food processor. Add the drained and rinsed black beans, cream cheese, salt and lime juice. Pulse several times until the ingredients are well broken up, but not liquified, scraping down the sides as needed.

Continue pulsing while you add the water 1 tsp at a time until you’ve reached the right consistency. I like this dip to be somewhere between chunky and liquidy. There is definitely some texture, but no “chunks’ of beans.

Put the mixture back into your oven-safe skillet or into a small casserole dish. The wider and shallower the dish, the more surface area you have for cheese, so pick accordingly. Top with the shredded cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and begins to crisp on the sides and bubble in the middle.

Yield: 4 cups of dip

Black bean dip | Me & The Moose. This quick dip can go in tacos, quesadillas, and nachos for a hearty and fast meatless meal. And who doesn’t love dip for dinner? #meandthemoose #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #blackbeans #texmex #dip #dinner #lunch #lunchbox

Black Bean Soup

Guys, I'm ALONE. Not in the despair-filled, we're-all-ultimately-alone-in-this-life sense, but in the literal, concrete sense. I spent my first night away from M and E last night and it was glorious and bittersweet in equal measure. After a good 45 minutes of looking at pictures of M on my phone and missing him ferociously, I spun around The-Hills-Are-Alive style in my room before falling asleep in my hotel bathrobe at 10:30.

It's a funny time to be away and probably a good test of my anxiety coping skills. After M's injury last week, I'm feeling more protective of him than ever, so this is forcing me to deal with the lingering fear that SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN. Because something will happen eventually- it always does. Although last week I felt panicked realizing that I can't always protect M, I'm trying to remember that I AM protecting him by giving him life skills and resilience and by not hovering and sending him the message that I don't trust him and that the world is filled with danger. Also, his dad is the greatest, so I really need to chill out. 

Anyhoo, this is my first post in some time that wasn't interrupted by a small person with constant demands OR exhaustion from addressing said small person's constant demands. So without further ado: Delicious black bean soup!

A few notes: 15 minutes is a long time for onions to start a soup, but the caramelizing really enhances the flavor of this simple dish. Also, this soup is of a medium thickness. If one wanted a thicker soup, reduce the liquid by 1 cup. Similarly, to thin the soup further, add 1/2 to 1 cup more liquid. I like the textural difference of some pureed and some whole beans, but one could also puree the whole thing for a uniform consistency. Other ways to add texture: Set side some caramelized onions for later topping; add in a small can of poblanos or other roasted, chopped green chilis; top with crushed tortilla chips, cojita cheese, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, etc for faux nachos on top.

Black bean soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
1/8-¼ tsp cayenne
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
S/P

Heat olive oil and butter over a medium flame. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.

Add 1.5 cans of black beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, and using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. Add the other .5 cans of beans, salt and pepper to taste, and heat through again.

Yield: 50 oz or about 5 cups