Simple and (still) exciting: Bean Dip

by Christina on March 7, 2011

I love the Ashtanga yoga system because it is structured and simple: we have specific postures, in a specific order, a correct way to inhale and exhale, and we do this 6 mornings a week.

I find it liberating to have this set routine. There aren’t many decisions to make, not much thinking to be done. And at the same time, the practice is always different, changing, adapting, and growing.

This is also how I like my food. Routine and delicious, simple and exciting.

There are many days when I’m hungry, the kitchen feels empty, and I definitely don’t feel like spending an hour cooking. This is when I fall back on routine: routine foods peppered with some newness and experimentation (depending in what’s in the fridge).

Say hello to bean dip. This has been an essential meal over the past couple of years.

Bean dip is nutritionally dense, amazingly tasty, high in fiber, and can be whipped up in minutes. The best part: you can throw in just about anything you have that you think might be good (a very experimentation-friendly meal!).

This was my exciting Saturday night:

Bean Dip

The basics:

  • Black beans and refried beans (Note: Home-cooked beans would be preferable over canned but that’s usually not happening for me… I just dig out those cans hiding in the back of the pantry).
  • Corn, onion, red pepper (anything I can get my hands on… mango chunks have been a success)
  • Hot sauce and/or salsa
  • Cilantro (and/or other herbs… basil is always good, mint leaves can be fun)
  • Cheese

Put everything in the pot, turn on the stove, and stir until heated. (Could that get any easier?!) If an avocado is sitting around, that’s definitely going on top. Then, devour… either with chips or plain like soup. And that’s that!

Ok your turn: what are your favorite routine and simple foods?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nobel March 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for your Bean Dip recipe! I’ll definitely try it.

On a slightly different note, I’ve noticed that the same things about Ashtanga that appeal to Ashtangis like you and me (structure, simplicity, repetition) also turn many others off: They perceive these same qualities as “boring”, “uncreative”, “lacking in innovation”. It really makes me think…


Christina March 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi Nobel,

Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more on that – it can definitely be seen as boring and lacking in innovation (I myself feel actually that way about it lots of the time, hah!).

Maybe part of the practice is learning to see both sides… recognizing what’s new in the old, what’s exciting in the boring, what’s innovative and experimental within the same old and boring structure. (This is also why I like having many different teachers… there’s always something new to learn). This is something I need to work on in everything in my life that turns boring and routine (and most things do!). Practice it on the mat and then bring it into my real life.

I also think the structure and repetition can also help inspire the innovation and creativity (Troy Lucero in Seattle, for example, who has grown acroyoga and crazy fun handstands out of the traditional practice)…


Chris palmer March 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Favorite dish: a can of Goya black beans and three fried eggs on toast. Delicious!


Christina March 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm

YUM! That sounds really good 🙂 How much sodium do those canned Goys beans have in them, I wonder?


Chris palmer March 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Too much! Good point!


Leslie March 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Christina – I’m loving your food posts! I need more ideas like these too. I love to cook, but often end up making things that are not as healthy as I would like (pizzas, pasta, etc.) And I also tend to be a very OCD cook (I should get help from Caitlin too!). I can’t wait to try the things you’ve posted so far.

Here’s a salad I like (If you have a food processor with a grater attachment it’s very easy, but wouldn’t be hard to do it all by hand either.): In food processor, chop some peanuts. Remove those and grate red cabbage, carrots, and cucumber. The dressing can also be mixed in the food processor. I use whatever of the following I have on hand or feel like: oil, vinegar (rice wine vinegar is good), ginger, miso, soy sauce, garlic. Whatever proportions I happen to use it always turns out yummy.

And here’s a simple and unusual cauliflower soup: Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add 1 T ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp turmeric for about 30 sec. Add 1 can coconut milk and a little more than a can full of water/stock and 1 small cauliflower (broken into florets). Boil, then simmer until cauliflower is done (10 min?). Reserve some of the cauliflower and blend the rest. Then combine again. (I just use an immersion blender and don’t blend it 100%). Serve with cilantro.


Leslie March 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I forgot to say to add salt to the soup.


Christina March 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

🙂 ok!


Christina March 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Leslie, those both sound amazing and relatively easy!!! I don’t have a food processor but yeah sounds like I could just do it by hand. I will let you know how these go 🙂

Can’t wait to see you soon! Hope you and lee are doing well!!!!


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