If there’s a kind of food I never get sick of, and could probably eat multiple days a week, it is avocado. I suppose this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering avocados are packed with nutrients and full of “good” fats that help raise desirable cholesterol and lower the undesirable cholesterol. Avocados get a bad rap though because they tend to hang out with unhealthy ingredients, especially in restaurant chains. Go to any major restaurant and you’re likely to find a guacamole appetizer that is much less healthy, and probably less delicious, than one you could whip up at home.
One of my biggest grocery store pet peeves is a poor avocado selection. The smart grocery stores will have a selection that ranges in ripeness. Sometimes I will go to the grocery store with the intent of purchasing avocados for the sole purpose of guacamole, and there’s very little that can be done with those rock hard, bright green ones. On the flipside, I like to be able to stock up on avocados at the beginning of the week, and it’s a problem when they’re all too mushy. I’m like the Goldilocks of avocado.
In general, a ripe avocado will be darker in color and will give just slightly if you press on it. If the stem flicks off easily, it’s really ready to go. If your avocado is a bit too underripe, try putting it inside a paper bag with an apple. That should get it up to par within a day or two.
Boyfriend and I have been using avocados in everything lately- salads, eggs, spreads for sandwiches, etc. Word on the street is that they make an excellent substitute in baking recipes, and can be used in chocolate mousse recipes as well. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on the list. Of course, one of the best uses for avocado is guacamole. We received a marble mortar and pestle set for Christmas, so I’ve been playing around with lots of different variations. Here’s our tried and true recipe, along with some funky add-ins to suit your tastes….
Smashed Avocado Guac, with variations
Makes about 2 cups
You will need…
- 1 scallion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 small avocados or 2 med-large avocados
- juice of 1/2 lime
- salt, pepper
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp chili powder
Optional Add-Ins: (Feel free to Mix & Match!)
- 1/4 cup diced jalapeño (seeded or seeds removed, depending on your spice tolerance) OR
- 1/4 cup diced peaches OR
- 1/4 cup diced tomatoes OR
- 1/4 cup corn kernels
- In a large bowl, mix together the scallions, garlic, and diced bell pepper.
- With a sharp knife, cut the avocados in half, moving your knife smoothly around the pit. Using a spoon or avocado scooper, remove the pit from the center. Scoop the avocado halves out and add to the bowl.
- Mash the avocado, stirring in the chopped veggies. Add spices and lime juice, and any add-ins that you desire. Serve immediately, as guacamole will brown easily. Tip: If you absolutely cannot serve right away, nestle the avocado pits in the guacamole along with a lime wedge. Remove before serving. This will save the color for a little bit!