Okay, I’m the first to admit that most folks, when looking for a dip recipe, aren’t driven by the need for the end product to look like mud.

But our grandson’s second birthday party earlier this month had a construction theme (he LOVES “Bob the Builder” on PBS Kids) and in plotting out food with our daughter, we came up with the idea for some kind of dip that looked “mud-like.”

Okay, challenge accepted. (Bear in mind that while this is a “kid” birthday party, the parents come as well and much of the food is actually aimed at the adults. There’s always some things the kids will eat too, but given kids’ weird eating habits, we’ve learned not to plan the entire menu around their fickleness!)

What I came up with proved to be a hit and was easy to make. Even if you don’t need something that looks like mud, it’s a very tasty dip and if you don’t mention it, no one else will even notice its resemblance to soupy dirt!

Want the step-by-step? Keep reading! Just want the recipe? Skip down to the bottom of the page.

Now, you know how this blog is “Real-Food-Real-Life” — and the focus is usually on the “real food” part? Well, let’s just be clear, this is a “real life” recipe. 😉 Not terrible, but definitely ingredients I wouldn’t use in my daily life. But I also consider that “real-life” has some room for the occasional indulgence and this is one of them. Trust me, your purist-sense may suffer, but your taste buds won’t!


Let’s start with the basic ingredients. Ground spicy sausage, refried black beans, and salsa not too bad. Velveeta? Okay, not usually on my radar screen as an acceptable food, and if it really bothers you, you could probably substitute freshly grated cheddar cheese and be more-or-less okay. It’s just that that nasty cheese-product, Velveeta, really does melt in remarkably well. Suit yourself. I decided one day, one meal, I could live with it. 😉


First, brown your sausage. (You could make this with a pound of ground meat as an alternative, but the spicy seasonings of the sausage really do add a significant hit of flavor!) This is a dip, so you want to keep breaking the meat up as it cooks so that it’s in small crumbles.


After the meat is browned and thoroughly cooked, add in the refried beans, the salsa, and the Velveeta shreds. (Bear in mind that you can certainly buy 8 ounces of “regular” Velveeta and chop it up, but if I was going to sacrifice my “real-food” principles, I also wanted the benefits of “easy” so I was delighted to find the “shreds” in my local store.)


Stir this all about over low heat until the cheese bits melt and it all begins to come together in a gloppy and glorious mess.

Chop some pickled jalapeños finely — adjust the quantity to your desired spiciness — and add to the mixture.

Now is when you’ll face two challenges — one is how “goopy” your mixture is. Refried beans vary tremendously in how firm or soft they are, as does salsa vary in its “liquid vs. solids” so your dip will vary a lot at this stage based on those variables. It’s a DIP, so you’re obviously looking for a “dip-able” texture.

A bit too firm? Okay, here’s where you face the second challenge. You can just do as I did and completely abandon all pretense of being committed to “real-food” and open a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup. (In my case, I’d bought this especially for this potential need.)


Start with a few good spoonfuls and mix and see how gloopy your mixture becomes. I used a little over half a can for the perfect “mud” consistency that was also perfectly “dip-able.”

(If your “real-food” sensibilities just won’t let you do it, I imagine you could add some sour cream or maybe even beef/bone broth to loosen it all up?)

Serve warm with tortilla chips and prepare yourself for enthusiastic comments. It was a real hit at the birthday party!!

Spicy Black Bean (Mud!) Dip


  • 1 pound spicy sausage (or ground beef)
  • 1 can (15 oz) refried black beans
  • 8 ounces Velveeta "shreds" (or equivalent amount of Velveeta chopped)
  • 1 16 ounce jar salsa (heat level to suit your taste)
  • Canned or jarred pickled jalapeños (amount varied to your taste)
  • 1 can Cheddar Cheese soup (optional)


  1. Brown ground sausage and break into very small chunks as it browns
  2. Add refried beans, salsa, and cheese shreds. Stir over low heat and let all meld together as cheese melts.
  3. Taste for "heat" and finely chop jalapeños, add to mixture. (I used a couple of tablespoons. Adjust according to your taste and desire for "heat.")
  4. Check for "gloppiness." If needed (and it likely will be) add Cheddar Cheese soup as needed. (I used about one-half can.) Could alternately use sour cream or beef/bone broth.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
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4 thoughts on “Spicy Black Bean (Mud!) Dip

  1. Arden! I cannot believe the ingredients are ALL processed foods! You surprised me, but then you warned it was an “indulgence”. Glad it was a hit.

    1. I *know* Marianne — it actually kinda hurt me a little bit to buy that stuff (much less actually use it) and, in fact, I threw away the rest of the can of Cheddar Cheese soup to help assuage my real-food-soul. 😉 But, it really was tasty and moderation in all things, right?!? Nice to see you here!

      1. Arden, yes moderation with joy and mindfulness! Have become a vegan these days, so I appreciate ease as I have to learn a whole new way of cooking! Happy holidays to you!

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