Many of us are looking to decrease our carbon footprint, and there are so many great ways to do it!  For some people, decreasing our footprint will have nothing to do with food. But for many people, food can be a low hanging fruit for decreasing our environmental impact (and improving our health while we are at it).  Many of the most resource-intensive foods are ones we’d like to cut down on anyway!

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Spicy Black Bean Dip
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This is a really delicious and low carbon footprint dip to serve with veggies or chips. If you really want to lay out a nice spread to get your party started, you can make this and Homemade Guacamole. (They are both crowd pleasers.) It’s also quick and easy enough to make for an everyday lunch. Just spin it all up, transfer to a container, grab some veggies and you’re good to go!
  1. Add all ingredients to blender.
  2. Blend and enjoy!
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Carbon footprint info:

Each serving of this dip has 148 kcal and 10 g protein, and results in greenhouse gas emissions of just 95 g CO2-equivalents per serving.

Let’s compare this to the carbon footprint of some other appetizers.

  • Buffalo chicken wings: 236 kcal, 12 g protein, 287 g g CO2-equivalents per serving
  • Cauliflower buffalo wings: 239 kcal, 9 g protein, 58 g CO2-equivalents per serving
  • 1 oz cheese: 111, 7 g protein, 277 g CO2-equivalents per serving

The carbon footprint is low for the black bean dip because production of beans only results in 0.78 g CO2-equivalents per g of food.  For comparison, production of cheese, chicken, and beef result in 9.8, 5.1, and 26 g CO2-equivalents, respectively.  See the Science page for a table comparing embodied greenhouse gases in the production of protein-rich foods.)  Beans are especially environmentally-friendly because they need less nitrogen fertilizer, the production of which results in high greenhouse gas emissions.  Also, eating plants directly means fewer feed crops, food miles, and processing steps.

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Bon Appetit!!

Source for greenhouse gas emission data:

Heller, M.C. and G.A. Keoleian. 2014. Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12174