The year was 1995 and I had my very first encounter with an avocado.
Having been raised in Kansas in the 70’s and 80’s, I’d admittedly never really even heard of an avocado (should I admit to that?)
You can imagine my surprise as a young 20 year old when my husband and I were camping in Arizona with our friends, Dave and Christine, when suddenly they pulled out the avocados! Not just one…many of them, with small packets of mayo. I watched in horror as they cut each avocado into half, popped out the large seeds, filled the inner hole with mayonnaise, and indulged on many.
That was lunch, and all I could think was how incredibly fattening and how boring their lunch must be!
It turns out, our friends were ahead of their time…sans the mayo!
There are few foods I will elevate to the overly used “superfood” category, foods that are so jam packed with nutrients and health benefits that they pretty much should be eaten daily? Turns out avocados rank as a superfood, and “yes,” avocados are actually fruit though they lack the calories and sugar, weighing in with just over 100 calories and trace grams of sugar.
Instead, these beauties pack:
- Monounsaturated Fats to regulate blood sugar levels and to protect from heart disease
- Soluble Fiber for healthy blood sugar levels, digestive regularity, and satiety
- Vegan Protein to build lean muscle mass and to lose weight/burn fat
- Vitamins B, C, K, A, and E, for effective vision, increased immunity, less aging and decreased risk of cancer (vitamin E fights free radicals), and bone health
- Critical minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, iron and copper
- Antioxidant phytochemicals that fight free radical damage, which increases risk of disease
In 25 years, I’ve come full circle to appreciate our friends’ wisdom for eating avocados.
Avocados are amazingly delicious.
Avocados are easily transportable…if they can go camping; isn’t that the real test?
Avocados are adaptable. They’re the latest rage for incredible breakfast toast, afternoon sandwiches and soups, happy hour guac, and evening chocolate desserts. Any fruit that can be enjoyed all day scores big in my book, especially one that improves your health and weight loss!
For today, let’s just start with the best guacamole recipe ever, and please know that part of the magic rests in 5 secrets:
- Choose the right avocado. Too ripe and you have mush. Underripe and you have flavorless chunks of green. So, buy your avocados a few days early and allow them to ripen at home, in a bowl. You’ll know it’s at its peak guac goodness when you give it a gentle squeeze and the avocado gives slightly.
- Serve avocados and guac at room temperature. Only refrigerate your avocados if they are overly ripe, it kills the flavor! If using in my guac recipe, bring avocados to room temps first.
- Lightly toss and fold avocados. Please reserve the “mash” to the potato. If you mash your avocados too much, you’ll have no texture!
- Use a light addition of lemon juice versus lime juice. The masters of Mexican Cooking do not use citrus at all in their guac, since it throws off the balance of flavors and steals the show. I stick with approximately 1 tbsp lemon juice for a light, acid contrast and to preserve the color.
- Add cottage cheese for a creamy complement to the avocado. I learned this trick from a friend in Tucson, and while it sounds crazy, you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Of course omit the cottage cheese if you are vegan.
Let’s get folding those beautiful avocados!
GUACAMOLE, Kristen Tinker
Makes one large bowl of guacamole.
- 4 ripe avocados, room-temperature
- 1/2 medium red onion, minced (I like the color)
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- Optional: chopped, pickled jalapeno or cayenne pepper to taste
- Optional: large spoonful of cottage cheese
- Slice each avocado into half and remove seeds.
- Using a spoon, scoop out avocado flesh into a medium bowl.
- Lightly toss avocados to desired consistency (smooth, chunky)
- Fold in remaining ingredients to taste. Do not overmix; you want some chucks intact for good texture.
Serve immediately for best flavor and appearance. My favorite “sidekick” is Late July’s Organic Quinoa and Chia Tortilla Chips.
Extras can be stores in an airtight container, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the guac to prevent browning. This stuff is so good, however, I’ve NEVER had leftovers!