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Larry's Famous Bean Dip

Updated on January 15, 2013

Recipe Rating

5 stars from 1 rating of California Bean Dip
Refried beans, the starting material for California Bean Dip.
Refried beans, the starting material for California Bean Dip. | Source

About California Bean Dip

California Cuisine is famous for blending cooking traditions from around the world in creative and delightful ways. California Bean Dip is a variation of traditional Middle Eastern Hummus. However the mashed garbanzo beans are replaced by refried beans, which may be either pinto beans or black beans. Some Tex-Mex seasonings are also added. California Bean Dip is darker in color than Middle Eastern Hummus.

Both Hummus and California Bean Dip illustrate a fundamental principle of food chemistry. Harsh sour flavors and harsh bitter flavors partially cancel each other. This brings out the subtle, enchanting flavors of both ingredients. The tart flavor comes from the lemon juice (or lime juice). And the bitter flavor comes from the sesame tahini.

California Bean Dip is best enjoyed at lunch with tortilla chips and/or raw veggies. The beverage of choice is coffee.

The vegetarian version

Some supermarket refried beans contain lard; others are labeled as vegetarian. If you use the vegetarian refried beans, this recipe qualifies as vegetarian.

Or you can soak a cup of the dried beans overnight in 2 cups of water. Throw out the soaking water in the morning. Cook the beans for 3 hours in fresh tap water. Then mash the beans plus part of the cooking water yourself.

An ordinary potato masher will do the job. It's more sporting than using a food processor, and it works the triceps muscles in the backs of your upper arms. :)

Prep Time

Prep time: 25 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: 5 cups of bean dip, or 10 half-cup servings


  • 2 16-ounce cans refried beans
  • 1/3 cup sesame tahini
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) salsa
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • at least 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 dash oregano


  1. Finely chop the garlic clove.
  2. Measure that and the other ingredients into a 2-quart mixing bowl.
  3. Stir with a large wooden spoon.
  4. Taste.
  5. You may need to add a wee bit of salt, or a little more lemon juice.


Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories 140
Calories from Fat36
% Daily Value *
Fat 4 g6%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Unsaturated fat 3 g
Carbohydrates 19 g6%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 7 g28%
Protein 7 g14%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 200 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Nutrition discussion

There's some uncertainty about the number of grams of carbohydrates per serving of California Bean Dip, because a fraction of the carbohydrate in the beans is semi-digestible. The two carbs in question are the sugars raffinose and stachyose.

Ordinarily, people cannot digest them. But if you take Beano to decrease flatulence, these sugars can be digested, and they will add a wee bit to the digestible carbohydrate count, and to the calorie count.

The sodium content is an educated guess on my part. It will depend on whether you cook your presoaked beans for a few hours, or use canned refried beans, which already have some salt added.

The beans are a good source of the B vitamin, folic acid, which is deficient in the diets of some Americans who don't eat enough fruits and veggies. In addition to eating green peas, I take a folic acid supplement on some days--just to be on the safe side.

The tomato in the salsa is a good source of lycopene, which some studies suggest is an anti-carcinogen.


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    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Hi alocsin. Thanks for your comment.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This is going in my recipe book. I love the beans and the use of my favorite flavor: garlic. Voting this Up and Useful.