Zesty vegan black bean dip with lime onion is a flavorful infusion of creamy, spicy, ever-so-easy bean dip and red onions quick-pickled with lime juice.
A big bowl of creamy black bean dip is hard to resist. Add a healthy dose of red onions marinated in lime juice, and the only thing stopping you will be the empty bowl. It’s prettiest enough to serve for a party and so delicious that you’ll be fielding requests on repeat.
This is the quintessential easy black bean dip recipe. Black beans with some of the aquafaba (the liquid from the can) and spices. Marinated or quick-pickled red onions aren’t new to us. We love them on burgers, chili, and tacos. The difference has to do with the flavor when you switch out the marinating acid vinegar, with citrus acid, in this case, fresh lime juice.
Red onion – I used a medium red onion and diced it to make it easier to scoop up on a chip. Once you learn to make these red onions for wraps or chili, you can slice them as well.
Lime juice – Acids are an essential pickling agent, but that doesn’t mean vinegar. Citrus such as lime juice or lemon juice is a powerful acid. That’s why we often use this in dressings.
Maple syrup – Adding just a touch of sweetener helps to mellow the sharpness of the lime juice and highlights the natural sweetness of the red onions.
Black beans – I usually use canned black beans for this recipe for convenience. However, if you cook your own black beans from scratch, it’s no problem. Use 3 cups and reserve ¼ a cup of the cooking liquid. If you use frozen beans or don’t have access to the cooking liquid, you can substitute vegetable broth or water.
Spices – The spices are kept to 4 black bean essentials – cumin, coriander, chili powder, and smoked paprika. If you want a spicy-hot dip, use hot chili powder or hot smoked paprika, or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
The hardest thing about quick pickling onions is waiting the 30 minutes you need for the lime juice to work its magic. Perhaps you can turn that into a good thing by making a few homemade corn tortillas? When you quick pickle anything, be it fresh veggies or shallots, the acid in your pickling agent softens the vegetables and changes the flavor.
Quick pickling isn’t the same as fermentation which far more intense and involves using salt, time, and lactic acid bacteria. The taste of fermented food is also different in terms of tartness, saltiness, and distinctiveness.
You have a few options with quick-pickled onions. You can make them in the morning or let them pickle overnight. Place them in an airtight container The longer they sit in the lime juice, the darker and more purple they will become.
Although this recipe only requires 1 onion, you can easily double this recipe and have leftover onions for wraps, burgers, or other goodies. They keep well in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.
Creamy black bean dip is so deliciously easy it's a wonder we don't make it more often. The process and ingredients are purposefully kept simple with nothing more than beans and spices. You can easily make this in a food processor, blender, immersion blender, or even with an old-fashioned potato masher in a pinch.
If you want to add additional ingredients, you can consider a diced jalapeno or another pepper or dried chili flakes. A spoonful of vegan sour cream will make the dip creamier with subtle cheesy undertones. A tablespoon of nutritional yeast can also be added for a salty-cheesy flavor.
The aquafaba, the liquid from the can of beans, helps smooth the beans when you process them. Don’t worry if the dip is slightly thick. When you add the marinated onions and some of the lime juice, this will also make the dip creamier.
One item of note: Some canned beans contain sodium. For this reason, I advise waiting to add salt until after you have mixed in the onions and have tasted it.
Like most legumes, black beans are a good source of fiber that contributes to a healthy heart. They are low fat (cholesterol-free) and are a good source of protein and other nutrients.
You can choose other onions besides red for pickling and using in black bean dip and other recipes. Diced or thinly sliced shallots are a good choice, as are mellow white onions. Yellow onions have a more oniony taste but will be slightly subdued by the lime juice used to pickle them.
Black bean dip is best served at room temperature with tortilla chips, savory crackers, or fresh vegetables such as carrots, red bell pepper, celery, or trimmed scallions. Try it as a black bean spread for wraps, tucked into pita bread, or even spread on toast. A healthy black bean dip is also a welcome side dish for taco night.
other dips we love
vegan black bean dip with lime onions
Vegan black bean dip with lime onion is a flavorful infusion of creamy, spicy bean dip and red onions, quick-pickled with lime juice.
- Prep Time: 35 min
- Cook Time: 0 min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: dips & spreads
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tsp. maple syrup or another liquid sweetener such as date paste
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 – 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans of black beans (reserve ¼ of a cup of the liquid)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. salt (optional)
- To make the onions, in a shallow bowl, combine ¼ a cup of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or another liquid sweetener, and ¼ a teaspoon of salt. Mix in the onions. Allow them to marinate for 30 minutes or more. Stir the onions a few times so that they pickle evenly.
- For the dip, combine the black beans, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and smoked paprika in a food processor or blender. Begin processing the ingredients.
- Add 2 tablespoons of aquafaba (bean liquid) and process. Add 1-2 more tablespoons as needed until the dip is smooth.
- Transfer the dip to a small bowl, then add half the onions and 1-2 tablespoons of lime juice. Mix the onions and lime juice with the bean dip. Have a taste at this point and add salt or adjust the other seasonings if necessary.
- Garnish the dip with the rest of the onions and chopped fresh cilantro or parsley if desired.
- Wait to add the salt until after you mix in the onions. Some canned beans contain sodium, and it’s easier to add salt at the end after the flavors have combined.
- You can marinate the onions overnight by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Store leftover dip in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This dip keeps well for 4 days. Stir before reserving.
Keywords: vegan black bean dip