Anytime my family gets together, there is always a bowl of guacamole on the table. Whether it’s for chip-dipping or for spreading on a tortilla or burger bun for grilled meat, chicken or fish, guacamole is a fresh, delicious and healthy addition to almost any meal.
As the base ingredient to all guacamole recipes, avocados provide 3 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, a mere 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 2 grams of fiber per serving (1/5 of a medium avocado). Mixed together with herbs and fresh ingredients, guacamole is a nutritious alternative to other high calorie and processed dips and/or spreads.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to the weekends my dad would light-up the charcoal and grill steaks (carne asada) in our open brick chiminea. Meanwhile, my mom would be in the kitchen heating tortillas and fixing a bowl of guacamole for us. I especially enjoyed helping Mom with this because it was foolproof–all I had to do was mash avocado and mix in the ingredients she had chopped. “Like this?” I’d ask, then quickly be reassured with a “yes, just mix…and taste it. Add whatever you think it needs.” Too timid to experiment with spices and risk ruining the whole thing (!), we’d taste-test together and surprisingly leave enough guacamole to share with the rest of the family!
Over the years, I’ve added my own flair to Mom’s original recipe, but the basic ingredients still hold: ripe avocados and lots of cilantro and lime juice. Now I share the experience of making guacamole with my own kids who will hopefully keep the tradition alive and someday add their own twist to this family favorite.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
5 ripe avocados
1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Save a few leaves for garnish
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
6 key limes, juiced (adjust to taste, I use 6 or more because I like my guacamole “limey”)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 small clove of garlic, chopped and smashed into a paste-like consistency
1/4 – 1/2 cup cottage cheese (I use lowfat but use what you have)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp season salt
Ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried, whole Mexican oregano (smash leaves between your palms to release the aroma and flavor)
Optional: Diced Jalapeño or chili powder for some added flavor and heat.
1. Slice all avocados in half. Remove and discard pits. Scoop out the flesh and place in a large bowl. Mash avocados with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl (from cilantro to the oregano)and mix with the mashed avocados.
3. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add jalapeño and/or chili powder for a spicy kick.
Tip: If making a large batch of guacamole ahead of time, keep it from browning by following these steps:
1) Spread guacamole evenly in the bowl.
2) Squeeze lime juice over the top and place plastic wrap right on top of the dip, leaving no air pockets between the dip and the wrap. Exposure to air is what causes avocados to oxidize and turn brown.
3) Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir before serving and garnish with a few cilantro leaves and some freshly chopped onion and tomato.