Dear Jeanne: I had this dip at a friend's house, and previously have had a similar version in very thick layers, but this one is very good since you get a little bit of everything in each scoop. I wonder if it is very fattening. If it is, can you reduce the fat? Thank you.

— Angela, Lancaster, Pa.

Dear Angela: There are some things you can do to lighten this, but it really isn't bad, from a nutritional standpoint, as long as you use baked chips or vegetables as dippers.

The bulk of the beans will fill your stomach pretty quickly, so you probably will not be eating massive quantities of this. You also could halve the quantities for a smaller amount and use a smaller pan.


2 cans refried beans

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 1/2 cups sour cream

3 avocados, mashed

Salt, to taste

Lemon juice, to taste

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Tomatoes, chopped

Green onions, chopped

Mix together the beans and taco seasoning, and spread the mixture on a 15-inch pizza pan all the way to the edge.

Spread the sour cream over the beans in a thin layer up to 1 inch from the edge of the pan. Mash the avocados with the salt and lemon juice, and spread it over the layer of sour cream. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese, tomatoes and green onions.

Serve with corn chips.

Makes 20 servings.


2 cans vegetarian fat-free refried beans

1/2 cup salsa

1 1/4 cups nonfat sour cream

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 avocados, mashed

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 lemon)

1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated

1-3 tomatoes (depending on the size of tomato), diced into 1/4-inch pieces

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Combine the refried beans and salsa, and spread on a 15-inch pizza pan all the way to the edge.

2. Combine the sour cream, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. Spread over the beans in a thin layer up to 1 inch from the edge of the pan.

3. Mash the avocados until very smooth. Add the salt and lime or lemon juice. Drop in small dollops over the sour cream and spread so that they cover the sour cream.

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4. Sprinkle the cheese over the avocado. Evenly distribute the tomatoes and then the green onions over the cheese. Serve with baked corn chips or vegetable dippers.

Makes 20 servings.

Each 1/3-cup serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 162 calories; 11 gm fat; 14 mg cholesterol; 345 mg sodium; 13 gm carbohydrates; 5 gm; 3 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 93 calories; 4 gm fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 281 mg sodium; 10 gm carbohydrates; 5 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.

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Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, visit her website at © King Features Syndicate Inc.