Tailgate Recipe: Santiago Salsa (Beans and Rice Dip)

Every day is gameday at my house it seems, so I am always on the hunt for new appetizer recipes to keep our snacking interesting. The men in my life are easy to please: to them, Dixie Caviar, Buffalo Dip, and Beer Cheese will never get old. I'm the one that needs more excitement. It's a curse of my profession!

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I dined at one of my favorite college haunts recently. As I scanned the menu I was thrilled to see their old standby, Santiago Salsa, still made the cut. Seriously, this simple appetizer (and maybe a Bloody Mary or two) got me through more than a couple of rough Sundays. I happily munched on my cheesy baked rice and beans, and then it dawned on me. "I can totally make this!" I hurriedly scribbled the ingredients onto a cocktail napkin and couldn't wait to get home and get started.

My re-creation attempts were right on the money if I may say so myself. It's so refreshing to have a new dip in my arsenal that doesn't contain cream cheese or mayonnaise. I like it just the way it is, although I'm sure you could substitute brown rice and reduce the amount of cheese if you wanted to increase the health factor. What's so great about this recipe is that leftovers (if there are any) could easily pass for a side dish alongside some chicken fajitas or grilled fish. I sure do love a dish that can pull double duty!

I really hope this delicious "salsa" makes its way to a tailgate near you. But don't just limit it to football season; it's perfect all year long. How about you? What are your go-to tailgate recipes?

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Santiago Salsa
Inspired by Amsterdam Cafe

Serves 10 - 12

For the dip
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked white rice
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cups (12 ounces) grated cheddar-monterey jack blend, divided
2 tablespoons finely diced pickled jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For serving
Tortilla chips
Sour cream
Salsa

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, rice, tomato, onion, 2 cups of cheese, jalapeno, and spices. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 10-inch cast iron skillet or round baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and take off the aluminum foil. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 - 10 more minutes.

Serve warm with tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.

Related: Tailgating and Beyond: 10 Simple Dips

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(Images: Nealey Dozier)

Per serving, based on 10 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
141
Fat
0.4 g (0.6%)
Saturated
0.1 g (0.4%)
Carbs
25.6 g (8.5%)
Fiber
6.5 g (25.9%)
Sugars
0.9 g
Protein
9.9 g (19.9%)
Sodium
6.8 mg (0.3%)

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Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at www.dixiecaviar.com.