Tag Archives: avocado

Quick and easy avocado salad

ina-s-avocado-salad-480


This is a repost, but it’s worth it. This is the recipe I turn to every summer when tomatoes are ripe, and I need a quick, easy side dish. Also, my version has evolved, both in ingredients and method, so I’m including my up-to-date version in this post.

Looking for a quick, easy dish to take to a Fourth of July party today? This is it! You can whip it up in about 10 minutes, and although it might taste better if it sits for a bit, you can serve it right away. And because it has no mayo, you don’t need to worry about it sitting at room temp for a few hours. Perfect for a potluck, barbeque or picnic! Plus, it’s just chock full of healthy stuff, and has no sugar in the dressing! Just a minimal bit of honey — which you could leave out, if you want.
The original recipe is from Ina Garten, although she calls it “Guacamole Salad”.
I do make a few minor tweaks. Being the spice wimp I am, I leave out the jalapeno and cut back on the cayenne. But I also add in some chopped cilantro, and as I said, I’ve altered the method.

Avocado Salad

    2 limes
    1/2 t. honey
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup good olive oil
    1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or 1 lb. large tomatoes, chopped*)
    1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/4-inch diced
    1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1/2 cup diced red onion  
    2 (or more) ripe Hass avocados,  diced at the last minute
    chopped cilantro, to taste
    additional salt and pepper, to taste, if needed

Grate the zest of the two limes (just the green part!) into the large bowl you’ll be using for your salad; set aside. 

Juice the limes and measure 1/4 cup of the juice. In a small bowl, whisk together the measured lime juice, honey, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper; then add the olive oil and set aside.

Place the tomatoes*, yellow pepper, black beans, and red onion into the large bowl with the lime zest. Re-whisk the dressing and pour it over the vegetables. Toss well, and store till ready to serve. Keep at room temp if you will be serving within an hour or so; refrigerate for longer storage. If refrigerating, remove about 30 minutes before serving time.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, dice the avocados and chop the cilantro, and fold them both into the salad. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

*If using large tomatoes rather than grape tomatoes, don’t include them at the beginning; add them with the avocado. You may chop the tomatoes ahead of time and store at room temperature.

Recipe Roundup: 12 Things to Do With Avocado

salmon-cu-490
Just rounding up a few avocado recipes. Because they’re so good for you!
Here are a few of my own, followed by others by trusted sources.
Ina Garten’s Guacamole Salad, with my variations. 
(Note: it’s not the texture of guacamole; just the ingredients.)
Turkey-Bacon-Avocado Sandwich. The photo is from Pioneer Woman, and her recipe includes some fancyin’-up, like pesto, but really, I think a simple sandwich of turkey, bacon, avocado, Swiss or provolone cheese, tomato if you like, and a bit of mayo on some crusty whole-wheat toast doesn’t need a recipe — and is just the best sandwich ever! 
Hint: When eating at Jason’s Deli, order the California Club on whole wheat toast (instead of the standard croissant). Order it with steamed veggies on the side, and that is one guilt-free lunch!
And here are some others I’ve found around the web…
Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Chopped Salad (Can you tell I love avocado with bacon?) This looks so amazing! And inspired by a dish from a Salina, KS restaurant — Go, Kansas!
Avocado-Tomato-Mango Salsa, from AllRecipes: 5 stars and almost 700 reviews! This sounds like it would be great on fish, pork — or chips!
Kiwi Salsa from Simply Recipes
The top-rated Avocado Smoothie from AllRecipes.
Avocado Ranch Dressing, also via AllRecipes. (I like that site because you’re getting the opinion of not just one person, but hundreds.)
Avocado Egg Salad, from Pioneer Woman. (I’ve been meaning to try this forever. Gotta make it happen soon.)
And to finish off our avocado buffet: Chocolate (Avocado) Pudding, anyone? from HowSweetEats.

Crazy for quinoa? 14 quinoa dishes to try.

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If you’re into healthy eating at all — or Pinterest — you’re probably seeing quinoa everywhere. If you’ve tried it once before and been unimpressed, try it again. The first dish I had was leftovers from a homemade dish, and was mushy and bland. The second was at a great bistro: the texture was like perfectly-done, nutty brown rice, and the flavor was amped up with some other great ingredients such as sweet potato and balsamic vinaigrette.

And why is it so hot? A dietition on FitDay says that, compared to rice, quinoa “has many more nutrients: it is a complete protein (contains an essential amino acid lysine, which is good for tissue repair and growth), high in iron and fiber, and contains Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.” She also says that quinoa is related to spinach. Huh! I didn’t know that. Texture-wise, it makes a great, higher-protein substitute for not only rice, but also orzo pasta and couscous.

 I’ve created a quinoa salad inspired by that yummy restaurant dish, and also made a simple pilaf by adding sauteed onion and mushrooms. Loved them both; now I want more!

So I’m on the lookout for great quinoa recipes. Because I’m compiling this list for myself, I thought I’d share it here. But to make this a quick post, I’m not including pics of each one. (The photo above is of “super berry quinoa salad,” by Angela Simpson, via Eat Spin Run Repeat.)


But trust me: they’re all lovely and colorful!

I started this list with 12, but I keep finding more. So far I’m up to 14…

Super berry quinoa salad  (pictured above)

Quinoa with toasted pine nuts

Quinoa pilaf

Colorful quick quinoa Greek salad

Black bean quinoa with basil-lemon dressing

Warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa

Avocado quinoa salad

BLT quinoa salad

Cilantro-lime quinoa

And some orzo dishes to try with quinoa…

Spinach and orzo salad

Sun-dried tomato orzo

Mexican orzo salad

I’d like to try making this wheat-based salad with quinoa…

Strawberry Wheatberry Salad

And a rice dish from Kalyn’s Kitchen…

Christmas Rice with Bell Peppers, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts

Have you tried quinoa yet? If not, here’s a primer on how to cook it.

Ten (or so) Healthier Superbowl Foods – 2013

MeatballSubCasserole
Looking for the perfect superbowl food? Here are 10 that sound totally yummy! And for bonus points, some of them are low carb, paleo, and/or reduced sugar!
Meatball Sub Casserole from AllRecipes. (I’m not making any “good for you” claims on this one!)
Hot Shrimp Scampi Dip from Go Bold With Butter. (Or this one!)
Healthier Superbowl Foods - shrimp cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen (Kalyn always has great low-carb recipes)

Healthier Superbowl Foods - zucchini lasagna

Grilled Zucchini “Lasagna” with Italian Sausage, also from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder from Lulu the Baker. Doesn’t this sound scrumptious on a cold day?

Healthier Superbowl Foods - sausage and peppers - Paleo friendly!

Sausage and Peppers from Proud Italian Cook. We made this for Christmas brunch last year and it was a big hit! Easy to make ahead, and cheap and easy way to feed a crowd.Grilled the sausages the day before. (Chill them before slicing. Makes slicing easier and retains more juiciness.)

Healthier Superbowl Foods - avocado bacon deviled eggs - Paleo friendly

Avocado Deviled Eggs with Bacon from Caveman Gourmet. Intriguing!

Healthier Superbowl Foods - squash with sausage and cheese appetizer

Summer Squash (or Zucchini) Topped with Sausage and Cheese from yours truly! These can be mostly-made ahead, then baked or reheated at the last minute.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas (with Avocado) from Half Hour Meals

No-bake Energy Bites from Smashed Peas and Carrots. Use the syrupy sweetener of your choice: honey, maple or agave. And experiment with mix-ins: chocolate, craisins, cashews…

Peel, cut, core, dice: Tips for fruit and veggie prep

how to cup up veggies, how to cut up fruit
The Kitchn has compiled a super-handy list of 20 tips and how-to’s for prepping various fruits and vegetables. Some of the more interesting entries:

How to peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds. Two bowls, a solid surface, and you’re 10 seconds away from a bunch of naked garlic cloves.
How to peel roasted red peppers.
How to cut a mango.
How to dice an avocado.
How to dice an onion.
How to core a head of iceberg lettuce.
How to seed a pomegranate.

See the full list of 20 items.

Also, here are a few short, helpful videos from Domestic Geek:

BLT’s — without the bread

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Once locally grown tomatoes are in season in Kansas, I always start craving BLT’s! (Bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich, for any poor souls who are unacquainted with this little bite of summer.)

I made some homemade bread last week just for this. Added some smoked turkey to punch up the protein. But to keep my carbs and proteins (sort of) in balance, I limit myself to one piece of bread per meal. After devouring one delicious BLT — ripe, sweet juiciness of the tomato contrasting with the salty crunch of the bacon — I wanted more! Looking hungrily at the remaining tomatoes and bacon, I wondered if the bread were really necessary.

So I took a bit of romaine, smeared it with a little mayo, and topped it with tomato and bacon. Added a slice of avocado to some of them. Oh yeah! It’s all the best flavors and textures of a BLT, without the carbs! Perfect for the gluten free, low carb, Paleo or Whole30 diet.  They’d make a great snack or appetizer, too.

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A couple notes to make them healthier: choose nitrate/nitrite-free bacon; look for a mayo that contains no corn syrup. Or make your own! (Here’s my recipe for homemade Paleo mayo. It’s ridiculously easy!)

 

Ina Garten’s “guacamole” salad

ina-s-avocado-salad-480
The recipe is Ina’s; the photo is mine!
Looking for a quick, easy dish to take to a Fourth of July party today? This is it! You can whip it up in about 10 minutes, and although it might taste better if it sits for a bit, you can serve it right away. And because it has no mayo, you don’t need to worry about it sitting at room temp for a few hours. Perfect for a potluck, barbeque or picnic! Plus, it’s just chock full of healthy stuff, and has no sugar in the dressing!
The recipe is from Ina Garten, and although she calls it “Guacamole Salad,” I think of it as avocado salad.
I do make a few minor tweaks. Being the spice wimp I am, I leave out the jalapeno and cut back on the cayenne. But I also add in some chopped cilantro. And after making it the first time, I think I’ll double the avocado next time.
It’s so yummy, I could eat it straight out of the bowl. For lunch. And I have!

Salmon with fresh tomato-avocado salsa

Salmon with fresh tomato avocado - Paleo, Whole30
Salmon, avocado, tomato - perfect summer dish!
(Update, 5/2015: I first posted this recipe in April, 2012, and it’s still in our regular summer menu rotation. The true test of a good recipe! Salmon, avocado, tomato – such a great combination! I’ve updated it now to make it Whole30 compliant and Paleo friendly. All it took was subbing out pine nuts for the sweet corn. Also recommended: use the larger the avocado amount.)
This is so simple, and so yummy, it’s gonna knock your socks off!
The star of this dish is the salsa. It’s so delicious! My husband took leftovers of just the salsa to work for lunch today (I made extra) and when he came home, he said, “If you would make some more of that I’d be very, very happy.”
I had a bit of leftover salmon with the salsa on it for lunch, too; cold — straight out of the fridge. It was still good!
This is based on a recipe from All Recipes, but I prefer butterflying and broiling the salmon, to the nuke-and-serve-cold method in the original recipe. Alternatively, you could grill the salmon; that would be fab, too!
I used white corn because it’s got a little better carb-to-protein ratio, but I think yellow corn makes a prettier dish. NOTE: To make this dish Paleo/Whole30 compliant, just omit the corn, or sub 2 T. pinenuts. (My husband actually preferred this change.) And use the larger amount of avocado.

Recipe: Salmon with fresh tomato-avocado salsa   

Servings: 3-4
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/4 cup minced red onion (a fine dice, or slivers)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 1 whole Hass avocado, chopped into about 1/4″ pieces
1/2 cup corn (OR 2 T. pine nuts, for Whole30/Paleo compliance)
1.25 lbs. salmon fillets
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil for drizzling
Chop up the tomato, avocado, garlic, onion, and cilantro. (Note: If you’re prepping this ahead of time, save the avocado cutting until right before serving.) To dice the avocado, you cut through it like this, leaving the skin intact, then scoop it out with a spoon.
If you want more detail, see Simply Recipes’ walk-through. (I do NOT recommend the pit removal method they show in step 2b; a woman I know cut some tendons in her hand trying that trick.)
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients from tomato through vinegar. (This photo shows the avocado added already, but now I always put it in at the very end, to avoid browning. When using pine nuts rather than corn, I also add them at the last, to keep them crunchy.)
avocado, tomato salsa
Refrigerate at least two hours.
Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

How to butterfly salmon

If your salmon is already a fairly consistent thickness, you don’t need to butterfly it. The purpose of butterflying salmon is to make it all about the same thickness, so that it cooks more evenly. It also cuts down on oven time.
Put your salmon on a cutting board, skin side down. (Mine is already in the baking pan in these pics, but it will be easier to work on a cutting board; you don’t have to maneuver around the rim of the pan.) Start by making a guide mark: in the thickest point of the fillet, use the tip of your knife to mark the spot exactly halfway from top to bottom.
The black line in the pic below shows where your knife edge will enter; the white dashed line shows where you will cut. The cut should run right through your halfway mark.
On the thinnest end of the salmon, slide your knife in parallel to the cutting board, and at the same height as your halfway mark. Continue to cut, keeping your knife parallel to the cutting board. Stop about 3/4″ away from the opposite edge; do NOT cut all the way through.
If you have been working on the cutting board, move your salmon to the foil-lined pan now. Next, open the sliced salmon up like it’s a book, folding the top piece out so it lays former-top-side down.
Repeat with the other fillet(s), season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Broil 4-6″ from the heat. Now is the time to dice your avocado and add it (and the pine nuts) to the salsa.
The salmon is done when it flakes easily w/ a fork, about 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. (That is, the thickness after you butterflied it.)
Remove the salmon from the skin; plate in serving-sized pieces; top with the salsa.
Salmon, avocado, tomato - yum!
Here’s what the Paleo version looks like:
paleo whole30 salmon with avocado salsa

Try it — I think you’ll love it! 🙂