Cheesy Pinto Bean Dip courtesy of ALDI

Some of you are already aware of a little grocery chain called ALDI. They only take cash or debit, make you bag your own groceries, and get you to return your shopping carts properly by charging you a quarter to use one – which you get back when you return the cart.

They also maintain a website that offers recipes using products available in their store. Some items may only be temporary, so if you want to try it exactly the way it’s published, make haste with your ingredients. You can always figure out substitutions later. One such recipe that caught our eye while we were visiting the sore is the Cheesy Pinto Bean Dip, made available the week before the Superbowl. Good marketing on ALDI’s part.

Of course, we had to pick up all the ingredients we could find that we were interested in, and substitutions for what was not available. We did leave out the green chilies and onions, and bought Mexican Bland cheese rather than the Quesadilla Cheese, which we could not locate. Mild salsa was used in place of Medium to allow the flavors rather than the heat to be sampled. Black olives replaced the green chilies to good effect, both as a layer and sprinkled on top.

Their Test Kitchen Photo

Following the recipe was quite simple. We went step by step, building the dip in layers. By the time it went into the oven, we were more than ready to try it! The anticipation in the kitchen was not overwhelming, though definitely present. When the oven opened, the drooling began. The cheese on top had melted into a lovely golden layer. We knew what it was hiding beneath and couldn’t wait to try it. We let it cool a little so as not to burn ourselves too badly before digging in, chips first.

The chips we prefer are a thinner, crispier style that threatened to break in dense depths of cheese and beans. The flavors made us not worry about the chips. The two types and textures of cheeses, one very melty and gooey while hot and the other very creamy, made a lovely contrast while complimenting each other with cheesy goodness. The beans offered two different textures, one creamy re-fried style and the other whole beans, that again complimented one another and the cheeses. The seasoning in the beans was enough to enhance the flavors without overpowering them. The salsa was a little underplayed in the flavor, but lent the crunchy texture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes in the middle of the layers.

Our Test Kitchen Photo

Our compliments to Chef Alyssa from the ALDI Test Kitchen for this simple and tasty recipe. We will be checking out more recipes from ALDI in the future!

-Ann Cathey