Healthy guacamole and roasted vegetable salad
Recently, I actually had to go to the U.S. for a period of 24 hours for a business meeting. This meant that in 60 consecutive hours starting on Thursday night, I was on a plane for 35 of them, and I slept in an actual bed on a Wednesday night and then the next time I crawled into bed disoriented and confused for a bit of a nap was on Sunday morning. The whole time in between was a mix of work and sleeping on planes – quite the experience! Since I flew out of LAX though, I was happily able to squeeze in a dinner with my amazing friend there who is more than understanding of my wild travel schedule. The flight back to Manila typically leaves at about 1 in the morning when it doesn’t have to do a tech stop in Guam, so I assumed I would have one night to cook AND bake in her kitchen, which I could not have been more excited about.
Extremely unfortunately however, with a fuller pax load than usual, we did have to make a tech stop and thus the flight ended up leaving at 10:30 pm, leaving me with only time to make the dinner. (Cruel world…I’d bought the baking supplies and everything and it has now been over a month since I’ve baked – massive deprivation!!!) However getting to make one super healthy meal was pretty fantastic even if I was deprived of my sweet ending. It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted a veggie recipe on this blog too so it is my pleasure to bring you this!
I love guacamole but the fact is, it’s honestly quite high in fat and not that good for you. (Especially when you are eating it with tons of chips) So when I found a healthy guacamole recipe that uses cannelini beans as a substitute for an avocado I immediately wanted to try it, and it’s been a success at parties as well (people can barely tell the difference). It’s great as an appetizer with little crackers or carrot/celery sticks, and makes a nice accompaniment to a big salad. For the main attraction, I essentially bought all vegetables in my line of sight at Trader Joe’s, roasted them, and put them on a bed of arugula (aka rocket, for you Aussies out there) and mixed greens. Heaven.
Healthy Guacamole (adapted from Not a Leaf)
Serves about 4 as an appetizer, or up to 8-10 if you’re just putting it out at a party as one of many appetizers
•1 can (15 oz. weight) white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
•1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
•1 tsp salt
•1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped up (optional – some people hate cilantro and it tastes fine without it)
•1/4 cup onion, chopped
•1 avocado, halved and pitted
Ideally, you have a blender or food processor for this, but about 75% of the times I have made it I actually have not had one on hand – never fear if this is the case! If you do have a food processor or blender, add the beans and lime juice and pulse until smooth and mixed. Transfer to a bowl. If you don’t, take a potato masher or a blunt object of some kind (see photos for our creative take on this) and mash the beans up as best you can in a bowl. Next add the avocado to the bean mixture and mash with a fork to combine. Then add the remaining ingredients to the mixture, stirring well to combine everything. (The smaller the onion is chopped the better.) If you have a blender, you can ideally do this step in the blender since it will make it combine a bit better. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze to get rid of the juice and seeds. Coarsely chop and add to the bean-avocado mixture. Squeeze on more lime juice, give it another stir, and it’s ready to go! It’s best eaten right away, but it can be stored in the fridge for an hour (which is useful for party purposes).
Roasted vegetable salad: to serve a lot of very vegetable deprived people
This is less a recipe and more just me going nuts in the vegetable aisle, but I had to share.
Any veggies you can get your hands on: I got a massive stalk of brussel sprouts, two red peppers, five carrots, one onion, a head of broccoli, and 2 yellow squash
Bag of salad mix – arugula/rocket, spring mix, romaine, etc
See my previous post on roasting vegetables for some more details on what to do with your bounty. Basically, always keep carrots and onions separate from the rest since they take longer. I did carrots and onions in one pan, brussels in another, and the remaining vegetables in a third. When they came out of the oven I drizzled with olive oil, added salt and pepper, and tossed with the greens. It’s really that simple – just takes a bit of time for the prep work.
Even though it was in the midst of a disorienting super fast trip, I cannot tell you how good it felt to get into the kitchen and actually cook vegetables where I could control the amount of oil going into the dish and add essentially nothing else. Sometimes simple really is best. This meal is great for friends, a casual Sunday night dinner, and having leftovers for lunch throughout the week!