The flavor of this black bean dip — served warm — is ratcheted up with chipotle, cumin and coriander. (Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

The flavor of this black bean dip — served warm — is ratcheted up with chipotle, cumin and coriander. (Photo by Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Average black bean dip, improved: This one’s smoky and warm

It’s like a magnet as an appetizer at a party, but it also makes for a playful and nutritious meal.

The average black bean dip is a reliably good snack option. Full of plant protein and savory spices, it is healthfully satisfying but rarely memorable. However, this is not your average black bean dip.

While the accompanying recipe still qualifies as healthful, it is full of flavor and appeal. A key difference is that this dip is served warm, which immediately puts it in the comfort-food zone, and it is rustically presented in the skillet with an eye-catching cover of melted Monterey Jack cheese.

The flavor is ratcheted up with the smoky spice of a chipotle chile in adobo, as well as earthy cumin and coriander. (A little chipotle goes a long way, so I recommend dividing up what’s left in the can into small, sealable plastic bags and freezing for future use.) Half the beans are pureed with sauteed onion and garlic, the chile and spices and a bright punch of lime juice until smooth, then that creamy base is returned to the skillet with whole beans and cilantro for added texture and flecks of color.

Served with contrastingly cool, crunchy vegetables and/or tortilla chips, it’s like a magnet as an appetizer at a party, but it also makes for a playful and nutritious meal in larger portions. Either way, it’s a dish you’ll be thinking dreamily about way after the last bite has been scooped up.

Warm chipotle black bean dip

The flavor and comfort-food appeal of this dip is ratcheted up by smoky spicy chipotle and the way it is served warm. It’s like a magnet as an appetizer at a party, but it also makes for a playful and nutritious meal in larger portions.

Make ahead: The dip may be assembled in the skillet and refrigerated up to 2 days before baking; add a few extra minutes of oven time if you are baking from chilled.

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

⅛ teaspoon ground coriander

1 15-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

1 canned chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons of the adobo

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more leaves for garnish

⅓ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1 ½ ounces)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic, cumin and coriander; cook for 30 seconds more, then remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Combine half the beans, the water, lime juice, chipotle pepper and its sauce, salt, the onion mixture and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a food processor; puree until smooth.

Wipe out the skillet you used to cook the onion, then transfer the bean mixture to the pan. Stir in the remaining beans and the chopped cilantro. Top with the cheese and place in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with the cilantro leaves, and let the dip rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with celery sticks, sliced jicama, radishes and/or tortilla chips.

Makes 6 servings (makes 1 ½ cups). Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 6 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, no sugar.

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