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Holy Guacamole

Published 4:50pm Saturday, May 4, 2013

Are you still under the influence of the 1980s?  When big hair, rolled jeans and those little blue characters were on Saturday morning television?

We ditched those trends (thankfully) but one trend from the eighties continues — low-fat diets.

Is this such a bad thing?   Well, it can be because it makes us afraid of trying foods that are higher in healthy fat. As your nutrition expert, I am here to tell you that healthy fat is where it’s at.

And healthy fat can come from a little fruit in the produce aisle.

Avocados are a great source of healthy fat and other nutrients. Here is just a peek at what a serving (one-fifth) of an avocado provides:

•Monounsaturated fats to help lower your blood cholesterol.

•Vitamin K to help with blood clotting.

•Folate to promote healthy cells and tissues.

•Potassium to help lower blood pressure.

•Vitamin E to protect the body from damage from the inflammation process.

•Lutein to help promote healthy vision.

•50 calories.

Here are some quick and easy ways you can incorporate avocado into your day:

•Combine avocados with berries, apples and mango chunks for a tasty fruit salad.

•Mash for a spread for sandwiches, wraps or bagels. Dice for salads, pasta, tacos, omelets and pizza.

•Slice for burgers or BLT sandwiches.

•Cube and combine with fresh fruit; drizzle with honey.

•Splash with balsamic vinegar or fresh lime juice; add black pepper and salt.  Serve with whole-grain crackers.

•Toss into fruit smoothies to add creaminess

•Add diced avocado to omelets

After washing avocados, carefully cut the ripe avocado in half lengthwise around the seed.  Then rotate the avocado one-fourth turn and cut lengthwise around the seed again.

Separate the quarters and remove the seed. Starting from the tip, carefully peel each segment.  The best way to test for ripeness is to gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand.

Avocados are ready to eat when they will yield to gentle pressure.

To speed the ripening of avocados, they can be stored in a brown paper sack at room temperature for two to five days. Adding a banana or apple to the sack will help ripen avocados even faster, as these fruits give off ethylene gas which quickens the ripening process.

 Follow Jen Haugen at her blog: http://jenhaugenrd.wordpress.com 

Roasted garlic guacamole with help yourself garnishes

Serves 16 (1/4 cup each)

All you need

•6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

•6 medium ripe avocados

•½ cup coarsely chopped, loosely packed fresh cilantro

•2 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more if desired

•1 tsp salt

•1 (16 ounce) bag Hy-Vee organic yellow corn tortilla chips

Garnishes

•¾ cup finely crumbled or grated Mexican queso fresco, queso añejo, salted pressed farmer’s cheese, firm goat cheese, mild feta cheese or Romano cheese

•¾ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

•¾ cup Hy-Vee sliced pickled jalapenos

•½ cup crumbled crisp-fried bacon

All you do

1. Place unpeeled garlic in a small dry skillet over medium heat; cook, turning occasionally, until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool, then slip off the skins; finely chop. Scoop avocado flesh into a large bowl. Add the garlic, cilantro and lime juice to taste. Coarsely mash everything together. Season with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. To serve, spoon a little guacamole on a chip and top with your choice of garnishes.

Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 451 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 6 g dietary fiber, 7 g protein

 

Source: Adapted from Fiesta at Rick’s by Rick Bayless; W.W. Norton, 2010 by Eating Well, Inc.


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