This Cheesy Black Bean Dip is my copycat version of the cheesy bean dip at Trejo’s Tacos! Creamy, savory, cheesy, little sweet, and little citrusy. Once you started, you’ll want to finish the whole thing!
Trejo’s Tacos is a newer taco joint in Los Angeles and it’s started by actor Danny Trejo. It first opened in 2016 and now, it has more than 7 locations, including LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). Not only Danny is a badass, his tacos are just as incredible! Other than tacos, Bryan and I love their cheesy bean dip too. We ordered it every single time. It’s creamy, hearty and irresistible! This is my copycat recipe of their dip.
This bean dip looks ordinary, but there’re lots of flavors. The trick of making this dip is by layering flavors. First, jalapeño. I don’t eat too much spicy food, but Bryan insisted on adding jalapeño. He said it added a little kick and a bright green flavor. After trying, I agree with him. In fact, one jalapeño really wasn’t spicy at all. If you like spicy food, go for at least two. Roast the jalapeño(s) on open flame until charred all around. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam the pepper for a while. Then, the skin can be easily rubbed off. The skin can be slimy and tasted bitter after roasting.
Next, sauté onions and bell peppers. They added some sweetness and green flavors. Don’t forget the garlic. Put all those in a blender or food processor. Then, canned black beans with the liquid. To make a smooth blend, liquid is needed. Now, the cheese. I used two kinds, Monterey Jack and Cotija. Monterey Jack is mild and creamy, and Cotija is salty and stronger like a feta. By combing both, you get the smooth creamy dip yet a strong cheese taste.
Blend everything until smooth. Add enough water, so the dip can be blended easily. It will take a few minutes. Taste and adjust. Pour the dip into a medium pot. Cook and reduce until the dip is thick enough to coat a spoon. You should have about 2 cups at this point. Keep in mind that the dip will thicken more as it cools. I actually didn’t add any salt at all. There’re salt in the canned bean to start with, and the Cotija is salty too.
And right before you serve this dip, stir in a little crema or sour cream. Crumble some Cotija cheese and sprinkle over. And zest a lime over the tortilla chips and dip. That little zest gave a nice aromatic and citrus flavor to the dish. It’s a must! Serve this dip warm.
Yes, this dish can be made ahead. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Just save the topping until you’re ready to serve. Reheat the dip in the microwave or over stove top. It will taste just as good as the day you made it.
Bryan and I are crazy about this dip. Both of the times I made this, it was right before dinner. And we were all over it and couldn’t stop eating even though we know we shouldn’t. Although my version is not 100% like the dip at Trejo’s Tacos, it’s pretty close in my opinion. So I urge you to give this dip a try. Great to serve for a game day or party. I promise you’ll love this!
Cheesy Black Bean Dip
- 1 – 2 jalapeno(s)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 large onion (sliced)
- ½ green bell pepper (seeds removed and sliced)
- 1 garlic glove (peeled and smashed)
- 1 can black bean (15 ounce)
- 3½ ounces Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
- ½ – 1 ounce Cotija cheese, plus more for topping
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon crema or sour cream (optional)
- Zest of 1 lime
- For the jalapeno(s), washed and pat them dried. Prepare a large heatproof bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Turn the heat to medium on the gas stove, place 1 jalapeno on the metal grate on the open flame. Let it roast until the skin is charred and blackened on all sides, rotating with a metal tongs or long metal skewer. Place the roasted jalapeno in the prepare bowl and cover the bowl securely with the plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes. It will create steam inside the bowl and make it easy to remove the charred skin. If using 2 jalapenos, repeat the steps with the 2nd one.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add onion and bell pepper. Sauté until soften and golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try not to brown too much. If needed, add a teaspoon of water to prevent browning. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Place the jalapeno(s) on a chopping board, rub the charred skins off the jalapeno with your fingers. Remove the stem with a knife and cut the jalapeno(s) in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and roughly chop the jalapeno(s). Place in a small bowl.
- In a blender or food processor, add ½ cup water, the onion mixture, black beans ( with the liquid), Monterey Jack cheese, ½ ounce cotija cheese, and 1 jalapeno. Blend until pretty smooth. If needed, add a little bit more water, so the machine can blend easier. Taste and check to see if it’s spicy and cheesy enough. Add more jalapeno and cotija cheese if needed. If it’s salty enough, do not add more cotija cheese. Blend until smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- In a medium pot, pour in the bean dip. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt if needed. The dip will thicken more as it cools.
- Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Stir in the crema or sour cream if using. Crumble some cotija cheese and sprinkle on top. Zest the lime over the dip and tortilla chips. Serve warm.
- This recipe makes about 2 cups of dip, which is enough to serve 4 people.
- For the jalapeno, 1 seems to be pretty mild and barely noticeable. I think 1½ would be a good mild. If you like something hot, definitely go for at least 2. But always start with little first and add more as it goes.
- When I’m working with jalapeno, I always wear gloves to prevent chili burn on my hands.
- If you don’t want to roast the jalapeno on open flame, you can do it in the oven with the broiler. Cut the jalapeno in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and lay skin side up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil for just a few minutes until mostly charred. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. Then rub off the charred skin on the jalapeno with your fingers. They’re ready to be used at this point.
- The saltiness level of cotija cheese can be different depends on brands. Start with just ½ ounce, then add more after tasting.
- Lime zest add a nice aromatic and citrus taste to the dip and chips. Definitely a must. Zest the lime just before serving.
- Leftover dip can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.