As a thank you for reading yesterday’s ‘bumper post’ (i.e. tediously long) on Black Bean Quinoa Chili, today I give you the much shorter companion post of Simple Guacamole. This stripped-back version of the popular dip is the perfect foil for a more complex dish like chili. And a must-have for parties and Super Bowl gatherings. But guacamole is superb with – and indeed in – so many other foods. Because guacamole really needs no introduction I will just let this easy and healthy recipe speak for itself.
The only secret to a good guacamole is to use perfectly ripe avocados, a little salt and a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon. After that, it is down to personal taste. Below the recipe I give add-in suggestions, ideas for how to use guacamole, and hints on how to know when an avocado is ripe.
How do you like your guac?
2 perfectly ripe Hass avocados (see below)
½ lime (or lemon)
½ tsp good salt, like Maldon
Because you aren’t going to be making pretty slices with the avocado, the easiest way of removing the stone is to squeeze the avocado, then slice it in half lengthways – the stone loosens with the initial pressure. Remove the stone (tip of knife/spoon/fingers) and scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a bowl. Immediately squeeze in the lime or lemon juice and crumble in the salt.
Mash well with a fork or a pastry cutter (shown). Most people like their guacamole at least a little chunky so don’t be too enthusiastic with the mashing. Serve immediately, or cover with cling film/food wrap so that it is touching the surface – this helps prevent oxidation/browning.
We find guacamole – and avocados generally – are best at room temperature and used within one or two days. This isn’t a food for keeping. But then again, why would you?
¼ tsp each of garlic and onion powder (store cupboard option – what I often do)***
½ red onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 medium tomato, deseeded, degorged and finely chopped
Jalapeno or serrano chili, deseeded and diced
A few tablespoons of good quality salsa (or homemade, of course)
½ tsp ground cumin
A dash or two of hot sauce or chipotle in adobo
A few tablespoons of fine curd cottage cheese or Quark – to extend the guacamole or make each serving slightly lower in fat (up the seasoning too)
Watermelon, fine dice
Roasted and chopped peppers
Pomegranate seeds (very nice option)
Chopped leaves and soft stem of coriander/cilantro leaves
What to do with your Simple Guacamole. Of course it is perfect with raw vegetables and tortilla chips. But here are a few more ideas:
as a mayonnaise substitute in sandwiches (beautiful with a chicken, bacon or turkey sandwich)
to top chili and in baked potatoes
in quesadillas; on tostados and huevos rancheros
on toast with chopped tomatoes (one of our fave quick breakfasts)
mix into eggs/soft tofu for scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu (yes, really)
add to grain and bean salads
stir into pasta with extra lime and some chilli and tomatoes
mix with hard egg yolk for devilled eggs, or with chopped egg for a no-mayo egg salad.
You get the picture…
Here is a short video to help you decide if your avocado is ripe.
In addition, it is good to look at the little stem knob – flick it off and if it is yellow-green underneath it is ripe, if it is brown – give it a miss as it is already gone over. If you can’t flick it off (i.e. you have to twist it) it will usually need another day or two. Keep ripe avocados in the refrigerator until you use them. To ripen avocados (or at least try to – some never will), pop into a paper bag with another fruit. Or for a slower ripening, just set the under-ripe avocado on top of a bowl of fruit. See this link to ripening avocados for further options and explanations – and a tip NOT to try.
New Link! (May 2014) – Apparently you can freeze avocados! Mash ’em up with some lemon and freeze. There’s more to it than that, so visit this post on hustle + glow for more details or other freezable ideas.
***Low Residue Diet-friendly option