Growing up in Southern California has advantages. Avocados. Plentiful avocados. Growing in my Grandmother’s yard, and sold for cheap at local markets. I grew up on avocados, and even though I’ve raised my kids in the Northeast, they too have grown up on avocados. Who doesn’t love an avocado? I make guacamole regularly. Ok, OFTEN. Gauc and I, we’re on a first name, slangy basis. I’ve never considered it a skill (making guacamole is a necessity), nor has there ever really been a “recipe” because sometimes I have to wing it, based on the rest of my supplies…..but the avocados? They are always in good supply in my house. When people come for dinner, guacamole is on the menu. When people stop by unexpectedly, you guessed it, I whip up a batch of guacamole. I think guac goes with everything…..in the same way I think purple socks match everything, because they do!
I use avocado in many of the recipes I teach in my healthy cooking classes because not only are they delicious (always a crowd pleaser), but they are also full of health benefits. Avocados are a good source of potassium, Vitamins C & B6, healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber. Studies show that the fats in avocado can help you absorb nutrients from plant food. Trials have shown that eating avocados can lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels—-known contributors to heart disease. Avocados can also be a super smart addition to any weight loss regime because those good fats help you stay full longer (than had you consumed those same amount of calories from nutrient void sugar for example), and are satisfying in a way that helps combat cravings. Just be careful with portion size because in addition to being full of goodness, avocados are also full of calories….and even though they are “good” calories, you still want to watch your total calorie intake for the day, as compared to your activity level.
Recently I’ve had a lot of requests for the recipe and so, in honor of Cinco De Mayo this week, I was inspired to get it down and post it. What makes this recipe guacamole and not just mashed avocado with salt is the inclusion of flavor and texture. Personally, I love the flavor the cilantro brings and I don’t usually measure so I’m sure I put in more than the amount specified. Feel free to improvise to find your balance of spice with the jalapenos and red pepper flakes, and if you don’t have scallions, use shallots, or a small amount of onion minced. No jalapenos at your local market? Try Serrano chilies or if you really like spicy, habaneros are fantastic!!
- 2 large, ripe avocados
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 2 scallions
- 1 jalapeno
- ½ teaspoon sea salt**
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- **I use either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan for their added micro nutrients and smooth taste.
- Prepare vegetables: chop cilantro, thinly slice white and green parts of scallions, de-rib and seed jalapeno and mince. Place everything into a bowl along with the salt and pepper.
- Open avocado, take pit out, score into cubes and then scoop flesh into bowl with the veggies.
- Use a fork to mash until desired consistency. Taste for seasoning adding more salt or crushed red pepper as needed.
- Cover the surface with plastic wrap until ready to use. The oxygen in the air causes oxidation which will turn the guacamole brown. Pat the plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent air from reaching it.
AVOCADO TIP 1: Avocados do not ripen on the tree. They continue to ripen after they’ve been picked. As such, it’s best to buy them when they are still green and let them ripen on your counter top. It’s fine to buy them from the store already ripe, but you run the risk of them being over handled (and bruised) while they were ripening in the store.