Thursday, March 12, 2009

Veggie Might: Guacamole-Bean Dip Mashup/Saved by Guac and Roll

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

As is the case with many over hyped New York events, I’ve chosen to ignore the Manhattan arrival of a highly anticipated grocery store for about 3 years. (I’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my cohort for peace and for rock, but not for soymilk.)

I figured the lines would be shorter by now, so I decided to brave it. Mostly right, on a late-evening Wednesday, the haul was worth the crowd: super-cheap fake bacon, spicy almonds, and a bag of 4 gorgeous avocados for $3.49. Sweet.

Bright green and firm, the avocadoes needed a couple of days to ripen to perfection. Sunday afternoon, they were ready.

The avocado seemed the perfect complement to a faux bacon sandwich at a time when tomatoes are so disappointingly out of season. Mmm...guacamole, I thought. Then I recalled a recipe that I’d always wanted to try from my Weight Watchers days.

As best I could remember, the recipe simply combined white beans and avocado to lighten the caloric/fat load of guacamole. Essentially, it’s a bean dip and guacamole mashup. As my coworker, T, put it, “like squirting out a taco.” Exactly.

Oh baby. 1 can of beans + 1-1/2 avocadoes + my 5 borough famous guacamole recipe = music in my mouth10.

Avocados and beans make a logical combination—the flavors make magic together—but the cannellini beans are mild enough that the avocado is still the star. Not to mention that it steals the nutritional show too, helping lower cholesterol and aiding the absorption of carotenoids.

Of course, the beans are no useless hangers on or triangle players. High in fiber and protein, they also kick it in the folate and manganese arenas.

You can tweak the spices to suit this recipe your taste. I love garlic and lots of cilantro in my guacamole, so I’m heavy handed with both. I would have included tomatoes, but they are too pink this time of year.

I’ve been using this as sandwich spread all week—mostly with faux bacon and salad greens on toast—and, of course, it is a new classic with tortilla chips.

Crank up the tunes, invite a few people over, and set out this bowl of tasty, healthy guacamole tribute. You will have fans like never before.

Guacamole-Bean Dip Mashup
Yields sixteen 2-tbsp servings

1 15 oz can cannellini beans, well rinsed
1 1/2 ripe avocado
1–3 cloves garlic
1/2 large onion, quartered
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped (optional)
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

1) In a food processor, combine beans and 1 avocado until smooth. (You can also do this with a bowl and a fork.) Set aside the 1/2 avocado.

2) Add garlic clove(s), onion, lime juice, and salt. Pulse until onion is diced.

3) Transfer to a medium bowl. Add remaining 1/2 avocado and mix with a fork. This will give you a chunky texture. If that’s not important to you, skip this step and put all the in avocado in at step 1.

4) Mix in cilantro. Add peppers to taste.

5) Dig.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
60 calories, 3g fat, $.20

1 15 oz can cannellini beans: 330 calories, 3g fat, $.79
1 1/2 ripe avocado: 483 calories, 43.5g fat, $1.30
3 cloves garlic: 12.6 calories, 0g fat, $.04
1/2 large onion: 35 calories, .2g fat, $.45
3 tbsp lime juice: 12 calories, .03 fat, $0.15
1 tsp salt: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1 cup cilantro: 22 calories, 0g fat, $.39
black pepper to taste: negligible calories and fat, $.02
cayenne pepper to taste: negligible calories and fat, $.02
Totals: 894.6 calories, 46.73g fat, $3.18
Per serving: 60 calories, 3g fat, $.20

(Additional photo courtesy of Flickr member Perfecto Insecto.)


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