Guacamole Salad – Living that plant-based life
A delicious, cost effective, deconstructed salad with all the flavors of guacamole
Last weeks blog about aging, Aging: Getting older ain’t for wimps, elicited a number of terrific responses from you, my reader, for which I am grateful and appreciate all your comments. The intermittent fasting is still going well, now 3 months in and attempting to turn ‘meatless mondays’ into more days of the week. To be honest, even the mention of the word ‘salad’ usually makes me run in the opposite direction, but salsa and guacamole have long been favorites.
Growing up in Southern California has come with many advantages, fresh produce throughout the year is definitely at the top of them. I grew up watching my father tend to a little strip of land in our backyard he called his ‘garden’. He would come home everyday from work and immediately bolt for the area that was his haven. Corn, tomatoes, okra, sugarcane, beans, cucumbers, garlic and countless other fruits and vegetables that would amaze us at how much he could produce with so little land. I’d run across the street to our neighbor, Carol’s, lemon tree and pick bags full per her insistence and took for granted that I was eating a mostly organic diet until moving to the city as an adult proved a rude awakening.
Trying to become more plant-based
Eating organic can be very costly. During this pandemic, finances have become the central issue for many and the rising food costs add to the storyline. Eating a mostly plant-based diet is a necessity and ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ so creativity in cooking has become paramount. I’ve been watching the food network since its inception in the 1990s’. I was living in New York City at the time, in a downtown part of Manhattan called Chelsea. Ina Gartens’ The Barefoot Contessa has long been one of the shows I watched and have learned from the most. This adaptation of her Guacamole salad recipe has been a staple in my home and at the family gatherings for years. Ina artfully deconstructed guacamole into a salad that is delicious, budget conscious and vegan friendly if you leave out the honey.
It’s nearly impossible for me to eat this without chips. I really should be in some sort of 12-step program for chips, it’s that bad. Recently, adding it to a toasted english muffin and as a taco filling have carried this already delicious salad to new levels.
- Chefs knife
- rasp for zesting
- large bowl for mixing
- cutting board
- measuring cup
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and 1/2-inch diced
- 1 15oz can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup small diced red onion
- 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated lime zest
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon-lime juice 1 lemon, 1 lime
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic 1 clove
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp honey optional, leave out if Vegan
- 2 to 3 drops your favorite pepper/hot sauce
- Place tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, garlic and honey(optional), hot/pepper sauce and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
- Just prior to serving, toss the freshly cut avocados and fold them gently into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.
For meat lovers like myself, hearing that a plant-based diet is a necessity for the 50-plus is like being given a death sentence. I, like many in the Birt lineage, plan meals around meat, it’s always the main course, how will I continue to live? Ok, maybe a bit dramatic, duh, have you met me? If I have learned nothing else during this ‘special period’, it’s that taking things one day at a time is a necessity. I have been fortunate to find a couple of delicious recipes, this being one of them, that make me forget about meat. Continued expansion should breed interesting creativity in the kitchen moving forward and I hope that you will share some of your favorite meatless recipes with me. Trying to cut out some long time bad eating habits is daunting and come with trepidation and uncertainty, but a willing spirit fueled by a desire to travel again someday and experience all that brings. Fingers crossed.
What’s your favorite ‘meatless’ meal?