Saturday, April 13, 2013

Perfect Guacamole

(This recipe is posted in conjunction with April's theme, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  It's also posted in conjunction with the 4/14/13 Meijer ad, where you can find avocados on sale!)

My family eats a LOT of guacamole.  Everyone loves it, even the 3-year-old.  Case in point:  tonight, she didn't want to eat her rice, but when I suggested that she mix some "guac" into her rice, she was all over that...and the rice was gone in two minutes.  I used to make guacamole by smashing up two avocados with a packet of guacamole spice mix.  (And admittedly, sometimes I still do.)  And we loved it.  But since we're trying to consume less processed foods, I figured I could do better.  Because that spice packet doesn't just have spices in also has "corn maltodextrin" and "corn syrup solids".  Sigh.

There was one problem with my great idea to "do better":  we really, really, really like the taste of guacamole made with that spice packet.  Therefore, every guacamole recipe I tested was met with "well, it's OK, but I really like the regular kind better."  And believe me, I tried a lot of different recipes.  Finally, last week, I found one that's about as close in taste to "the regular kind" as you'll get.  And even, dare I say, better?  I'm also happy to report that it's met with the approval of all the guacamole lovers in our household!

So, why is this recipe "perfect"?  First of all, as I said, it's very similar in taste to guacamole made using the packet.  Similar, but fresher-tasting.  Second, it is completely customizable...I'll explain that in the options and tips.  And third, guacamole in general is perfect, because it's so versatile.  It can be used as a tortilla chip dip, a side/topping for Mexican dishes, or as a healthy substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches.  Yes, avocados are high in fat...but it's the unsaturated, heart-healthy kind of fat.  (Here are 10 Reasons You Need Avocados in Your Diet.)

Try out this version of guacamole with your next Mexican won't be sorry! :)

2 large or 3 small avocados
2 Tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp diced onion
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Roma tomato, diced (pull out seeds and use just the "walls")

Cut avocados in half and remove the pits.  Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.  Mash avocados with a fork.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the guacamole.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Options and Tips:

  • Guacamole has a reputation for getting a brownish-purple "skin" on the top.  Laying the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole prevents that, as does the addition of citrus juice.  If your guac is still around after 2 days, you might notice the discoloration...but it doesn't really change the taste.  Just stir it up and eat it :) 
  • Guacamole is best the first day, but can be eaten up to 3 days after it's been prepared.
  • If you prefer really salty foods, just add a little more salt.  I've found that we don't need this dip to be super salty, especially if we eat it with tortilla chips.
  • Customize your guac:  use lemon juice instead of lime juice, add more garlic and/or onion, leave out the tomato, add more cilantro, add a jalapeno for more kick.  There are so many ways you can change this up to suit your family's tastes.  The above measurements are the way we prefer it, but your family might like something different.
  • For those of you with a Costco membership:  their bags of 6 avocados are usually a great deal.  This week's Meijer sale beats Costco's regular price, but the Costco avocados are always larger than the avocados in the Meijer 4-pack, so it might be a wash.  (Isn't everything larger at Costco?)

This recipe is based on Emily Hopkins' guacamole recipe on page 6 of Hope Christian School's "Our Favorites With a Twist".  I made a few changes to the original.  

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