Two Quick Dips/Spreads for Garlic and Cilantro Lovers

garlic cilantro dips - black bean or cottage cheese

Tex-Mex-inspired and budget-friendly, these two are delightful to dip into with some veggies, or marvellous to stuff into meatless burritos. One is a black bean dip, made over by toasted spices and additional love on the stove top. The other is humble cottage cheese disguised as a voluptuous green goddess.

These recipes are both quickest and easiest with a food processor; the times and details listed below apply if you use one.  If you don’t have one available, simply chop all ingredients finely or, in the case of the beans and cottage cheese, apply a wire potato masher to each of them.  Another alternative is a half-or-more-decent blender.

The black bean recipe is vegan and gluten-free (as long as you don’t use cheap taco seasoning from a packet instead of ground chili pepper).  Both dips/spreads are low in fat but are your tickets to Flavortown.


Warm Black Bean Dip/Spread with Garlic and Cilantro

Makes: 5-6 cups
Time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 50 g)
  • 2 cans (1080 ml) of black beans
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • up to 1 cup water
  • up to 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chili pepper or chili powder
  • salt, to taste


  1. Wash the cilantro carefully to remove all mud and sand.  I do this by soaking it in a bowl of water for a few minutes then draining using a sieve or colander.
  1. Drain, rinse, and (again) drain the black beans.
  1. Preheat a large skillet on medium-low heat.
  1. Cut the onion into large chunks so it fits comfortably into the food processor.
onion garlic cilantro lime juice in food processor
Comfortably fitted into the grinding chamber
  1. Place the onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in the food processor. Pulse until everything is in very small chunks.
  1. Add the black beans to the food processor. Pulse a few times to get things moving, then blend on low until a paste forms.
black beans in food processor
Other bean types would be nice, too, as a variation on this recipe.
  1. Use your judgement and add enough water to the mix to make the paste more pourable.
  1. In the preheated skillet, toast the cumin and ground chili in the oil for 30 seconds.
  1. Pour and scrape the black bean paste from the food processor into the skillet.
  1. Cook the bean dip, stirring periodically, for 10 minutes to cook the onion.
warm black bean dip over medium low heat
Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat too high, or your dip may burn.
  1. Turn off the heat.  Stir in some salt, to taste. I used no-sodium-added beans, so I used 1 tsp of salt.
  1. Serve warm or cooled as a dip or spread.



Lusciously Guilt-Reduced Green Garlic ‘Cream’ Dip/Dressing

This is a redux of my full-fat cilantro cream dressing recipe.

Makes: 3-4 cups
Time: 5 minutes

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 50 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 500 g of cottage cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • up to 1 cup water
  • salt, to taste
  • ground cayenne, to taste


  1. As above, wash the cilantro thoroughly.
cilantro garlic lime juice in food processor
Easier to see all the cilantro without all that onion in the way.
  1. In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, garlic, and lime juice until they have shred into very small chunks.
  1. Add the cottage cheese and mayonnaise. Blend until well-mixed.
cottage cheese cilantro garlic dip in food processor
Pre-makeover cottage cheese.
  1. If the dip is too thick, add some water and blend again until it reaches the consistency you desire.
cottage cheese blended with cilantro, garlic, lime juice
You can see here it is quite stiff, so I blended in some water.
  1. Add salt and cayenne, to taste.
  1. Serve as a dip, sauce, or dressing.  If you’ve made too much, this keeps nicely in the fridge for a few days.



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