Recipe: Healthy Guacamole!

I know it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as Holy Guacamole! but this healthy treat is anything but holy. Add some healthy home-baked chips, and you have a tasty (mostly) guilt-free snack to occupy your mind while you wait in an endless game queue (you know who you are!). And this is so easy to make, you could whip up a batch while you wait. I’m not a fan of really spicy guac, so this has no spice or heat to it, but you can improvise and add your favorite pepper or spice. Red onion and fresh garlic are also nice additions.

LimesIngredients:

1 medium avocado, Haas, peeled and pitted
15 oz can white beans, small, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 medium fresh tomato, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
8 oz baked low-fat tortilla chips

guacInstructions:

Combine avocado, beans, and lime juice in a food processor; process until blended and smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, mash ingredients together with a fork.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and fold in tomato and cilantro (or other added flavor enhancers). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1/4 cup of guacamole and 1 ounce of baked chips per serving. Serves 8.

I Ate This: Bacon Guacamole Sandwich

Sandwiches became famous for their simplicity — after all the Earl of Sandwich was looking for an easy way to eat without stopping his card game — but they can be surprisingly tricky for us home chefs.

Inevitably my home sandwich dreams seem modest to begin with and then quickly spiral out of control. A craving for a nice pastrami sandwich turns into buying a whole loaf of rye bread when I only need 2 slices. If I want to make my own club sandwich (my favorite kind!) I end up either spending $9 on a whole pre-roasted chicken or taking the time to roast one myself. Often by the end of the day I have a sandwich, but it either cost me $20 to make or I just spent 5 hours on a side quest learning how to bake brioche buns.

So when it comes to a good summer sandwich, my goal is simplicity and turning on the stove as little as possible. This summer, I am all about the bacon guacamole sandwich.

baconavocadosandwich

It’s simple and delicious, and also by using avocado instead of any mayo or dressing it has a lot of healthy fats. (And some unhealthy fats, because c’mon.)

Bacon Guacamole Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

1) Remove the skin and the pit from one avocado. Put it in a bowl and mash it up.
2) Chop up half of a small red onion and a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro. Mix them in with the avocado.
4) Add a couple of squirts of lemon juice and a very light sprinkle of salt.
3) If you like spicy (I do!) add some red pepper flakes.

If I’m making guacamole for dipping I usually go a bit more complicated, but this is just part of a bite so don’t sweat the small stuff.

5) Wrap 4-6 pieces of bacon in paper towel, put them on a plate, and throw the plate in the microwave for roughly 3 minutes.

Again, on its own I prepare bacon differently — crispy or die! — but for a sandwich you want it to be meaty and chewy.

6) Grab a delicious fresh ripe red tomato and cut it into slices. You’ll need 4-6 for two sandwiches.
7) Get some bread or a bun or whatever you have on hand. Lightly toast it.
8) Combine everything! Spread half of the guac on the bread, add tomato and bacon slices.
9) Eat the sandwich.

You made a sandwich in 15 minutes, you didn’t have to turn on your stove, and it’s super delicious. Summer is served!

Jessica, aka Liore, can usually be found griping about video games on her blog and podcast at Herding Cats, or on Twitter. She likes saying “flavor profile” and going light on the carbs, and dislikes measuring things. Jessica is currently obsessed with Korean cuisine.

Progression Based Cooking: Level 1 Guacamole

We’ve all been newbies at one time or another. It just so happened that I made my first ever attempt at a fresh guacamole only yesterday. Yeah,  I know. It was the first time handling fresh avocados too (/gasp) – I had used them briefly at a restaurant job, but they were pre-sliced, packaged, and used only as a salad topping.

For the recipe, I followed the first one I could find after googling ‘simple guacamole’. A family member had wanted some to accompany a quesadilla night, so I wasn’t looking to make a ton for a party or anything. Truth be told, guac is one of my least favorite dips, and I’ve never been too impressed with avocados in general. Well, one major exception: a pub in the suburbs of Chicago had this crazy bourbon/avocado/chicken loaded waffle fry dish that hit all the high notes for me.

The mats for this guac were pretty self-explanatory: Avocados x2, Cilantro, Serrano Pepper x1, half a white onion, and the juice of a whole lime. I followed it down to the letter, though I started with everything other than the avocado. If you aren’t familiar, avocados tend to brown quickly when exposed to oxygen. You can counter-act this with a fresh spray of lemon juice, but why add the work in this case?

I minced everything pretty hardcore. My knife skills aren’t quite Grandmaster-level, but if I keep earning skill points at this rate, they soon will be. I gutted all the spicy parts of the Serrano since taste buds in this household tend toward mild – I figure I can add a dash of my delicious ground Chipotle powder to my own serving if I must.

Handling my first fresh avocado from start to finish taught me two things. First, I knew exactly how to deal with getting the pit out since I have seen people do it on television hundreds of times now. Insert your knife until you hit something hard, then rotate the avocado along the blade to form an even cut around the radius. After you have it cut, tweak your blade sideways gently to dislodge the halves, pull out the pit, then scoop the remainder with a smooth inserted between the outside skin and the inside ‘meat’. Who said you can’t learn a lot from accidentally marathoning the Food Network on a Monday you called in ‘sick’ to work?

Second, these things are practically alien! The pit is a giant, hard ball that feels slimy enough to be some sort of spherical alien egg. Plus, it’s really green and since were very ripe, the texture is strange. I can see why some people recommend avocado as a butter replacement in some baking recipes – it definitely has that half-melted butter squish to it.

I dice up my alien butter into small chunks and add it to my mixture. Using a spoon, I mash it in as I stir it all together to evenly distribute all the flavors. Simple enough, but the proof is always in the tasting.

And I hate it. Even with an extra avocado added in, a small scoop of mayonnaise, and a dash of sugar, the lime juice overpowered everything else. I’m talking 100% Crit Chance that your tongue was going to shrivel into a citric-acid induced coma. Maybe the limes at my local grocery store are exceptionally large or juicy, but I felt like an idiot for following the recipe to the letter. I should’ve reserved half the juice and added to taste.

Oh well – you cook to live, you cook to learn, you level up.


C. T. Murphy can more regularly be found over at his blog, Murf Versus. You can also find him on Twitter, where he is frequently at his weirdest. His favorite food is Thai, though his roots are in Soul Food, and he only ever cooks Tex-Mex. He’s a strange fellow.