Mexican 7-layer dip--vegan, gluten-free, healthy with zesty cashew cream

Mexican 7-Layer Dip (Vegan)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings
Calories: 124kcal
Author: Traffic Light Cook
A healthy and tasty makeover of the traditional 7-layer dip., this zesty, creamy, spicy, smoky Mexican 7-layer dip is a perfect party appetizer, especially for the game night. 
Print Recipe


To make the refried beans*

  • 1/2 tsp avocado oil (or any other type)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (~3 stems, can sub with any other type of onion)
  • 1 can pinto beans (15-oz can, rinsed under running water)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle pepper** (less or more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste, no more than 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water

To make the fresh guacamole

  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 pinches salt ( or to taste, no more than 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp homemade cumin powder (optional, can sub with store-bought)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (can sub with lemon juice)

To make the zesty cashew cream

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews*** (soaked and rinsed)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 1/4 tsp homemade cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried chipotle chili powder (can sub with regular chili powder)
  • 1.5 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (can sub with apple cider vinegar or white rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water (preferbly filtered, keep 2 tbsp of water at hand if the cream is too dry to blend)

To make the pico de gallo

  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (halved or chopped, can sub with regular Roma or any other variety of tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) red onion (finely chopped, about half a medium onion)
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded, finely chopped, optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or minced)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 pinches salt

Other ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salsa (for layer #4, low-sodium, store bought)
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce (for layer #5)
  • 1/4 cup black olives (For layer #7, optional)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (For layer #7)


To make the refried beans

  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottom wide-mouth pan. Add the chopped green onions and minced garlic, cook for a minute. Then add the rinsed pinto beans and chipotle chili powder. Add the water and cook till beans are soft. Mash with the back of the spoon and set aside. 

To make the guacamole

  • Scoop out the avocado flesh in a deep bowl. Add the salt, cumin powder, and lime juice. Mash with the back of spatula or spoon till well-mixed. Store in the refrigerator immediately, if not ready to assemble the dip. 

To make the zesty cashew cream

  • Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till well-mixed. Set aside. 

To make the pico de gallo

  • Halve the cherry or grape tomatoes  (or finely chop if using the regular tomatoes). Finely chop the red onion, jalapeño (if using), and cilantro. Mix in a bowl with minced garlic and freshly squeezed lime juice. 

Assemble the dip

  • Add the first layer of refried beans. Tap with the back of a spoon to set at the bottom of the dish. 
    Add the second layer of guacamole, smoothing it with the back of a spoon. 
    Add the third layer of the zesty cashew cream. Spread evenly. 
    Add the fourth layer of store-bought salsa.
    Add the fifth layer of finely shredded iceberg lettuce. 
    Add the sixth layer of pico de gallo.
    Add the seventh layer of chopped olives and more cilantro. Dig in with some healthy chips! Enjoy!


*If short on time, buy refried beans
**can sub dried chipotle chili pepper with equal amount regular chili powder
***If allergic to cashews, sub with pumpkin or melon seeds
Make it heart healthy
  • Omit sodium in making the refried beans and guacamole. Just add some to pico de gallo. 
  • Use any type of white beans instead of cashews to make the zesty sauce. 
  • Replace store-bought salsa with 1/2 cup of homemade pico de gallo. 


Serving: 4tbsp | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 344mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.3mg