Here’s How You Make 5-Ingredient Guacamole That Isn’t Boring

So many reasons to love this perfect, chunky spread that happens to be naturally vegan. We all know it’s so blah blah blah healthy your gut microbiota does a happy dance, but it also happens to be the most delicious thing to meet sliced bread on a hot summer’s day that I can think of.

Recently, I’ve been recipe testing up a guacamole storm (In fact, I’ve got so much in my fridge, I’ve started using it on pasta in lieu of tomato sauce. Pretty tasty, who knew?) for Camp Sunshine, where I’ll be volunteering later this summer. I’m looking forward to cranking out a classic rendition of it in August with the kids, but a household lime-and-red-tomato shortage (the horror!) led me to stumble upon this fun riff on the classic.

Couldn’t be easier. Here goes:

Kumato-Basil Lemon Guacamole
2 ripe avocados
1 Kumato* tomato, small dice
A handful of washed, fresh basil leaves, stems removed and torn or chiffonaded (if you’re feeling fancy)
1 tablespoon olive oil
The juice from one medium-sized lemon, or to taste
We are not counting salt and pepper as ingredients because that will ruin the 5-ingredient wonder, but you can add these

*Pictured below, Kumato tomatoes are mildly sweet, crisp and juicy brown-red-green-purpley tomatoes that are worth checking out.FullSizeRender (7)

1. Scoop out avocados into bowl and combine with tomato, basil, olive oil and lemon juice. Mash with fork to desired consistency Add sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. A flip of cayenne pepper for heat. Serve immediately or store in fridge and squeeze lemon over it every few hours to keep from oxidizing. Or if you forget to do that, squeeze with lemon before serving and hope it de-browns.

 

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Meanwhile, like in life, one good thing leads to another (or an occasional bad decision) and four avocados later, I arrived at another hit.

 

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Behold:  Spicy Caper-Spiked Kumato-Basil Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
1 Kumato tomato, small dice
A handful of washed, fresh basil leaves, stems removed and torn or chiffonaded (if you’re feeling fancy)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
The juice from one medium-sized lemon, or to taste
Cayenne and paprika, to taste (I used a dash of each)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Splash Balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Follow the same directions as above but with this set of ingredients. I’m pretty sure you know how to make guacamole. This rendition works particularly well spread on toast or, if you’re note feeling vegan, spread out as a bed for a plan of grilled salmon.

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Vegan Greek Salad with Oregano-Dijon Vinaigrette

Crusty french bread. It’s my downfall. I basically spend 41% of each day attempting to figure out, “What meal can I create that create a delicious vestibule to dip crusty french bread?” The answer, unfortunately for my carbohydrates intake, is pretty much everything.

Thankfully, this healthy Greek Salad leaves me full enough that my baguette-a-day addiction has dissipated.

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Ingredients
(serves 2)

Salad:

1/4 package kale
1/4 package herb salad mix (preferably with dill in it) or lettuce of choice
6 grape leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cucumber, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 orange pepper, chopped
10 baby carrots, chopped
optional: 1/4 onion, chopped

Dressing:

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
Hearty sprinkle nutritional yeast (yay B12!)
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

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1. Mix all salad ingredient in bowl. Add dressing and coat evenly.
2. If possible, refrigerate for an hour to let dressing soak in. Eat!
3. Yes, it’s okay to sop up the extra dressing with crusty french bread.

Vibrant Veggie Vortex + Dazzling Dijon Dressing

They say the more colors on your plate, the more likely you’ll be able to curb overeating. Or maybe they don’t; but it’s sure pretty to look at a spectrum of vibrant fruits and veggies and definitely slows me down when it comes to digging in.

So bye bye simple crudités and dip. This simple salad is way easier to assemble than it looks. Just slice, dice and arrange everything on a plate to your heart’s desire…and to emulate that way-too-perfect food blogger on instagram who always annoys you with food arrangements so pretty you don’t understand how anyone’s life can be so perfect (pro-tip: It probably took them 45 minutes to assemble everything, and by the time they get to eating that warm stack of vegan chocolate chip banana nut pancakes, they are cold.)

To quote Taylor Swift, This. Dressing. Is. Sick. Mix two parts olive oil, to one part balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of nutritional yeast flakes and red chile pepper flakes and sea salt together. Transforms any blah “using up leftover veggies” salad into BOOM! Seriously.

Ingredients:
Whatever leftover veggies and fruits you have on hand

Directions:

Arrange prettily on plate and as symmetrically as possible. Try and remember to buy enough lettuce next time. Drizzle dressing on top. Pair with copious amount of crusty  French baguette.

3-Ingredient Potato-less Mashed Potatoes

Crusty French bread. Pasta. Mashed potatoes. When it comes to vices, mine aren’t shoes or nightly Sex and the City marathons (okay, maybe the latter…) but carbs. Oh man. Sign me up! For me, there’s no such thing as plate loaded too high with flaky, bready, potato-y, pasta-y goodness. Unfortunately, my snug jeans beg to differ. Luckily, these silky, creamy, rich “mashed no-potatoes”(or “potato-less mashed potatoes” as my body building boyfriend cleverly quipped) replicate that comfort food fix you crave, sans calories and the unhealthy fat you load in from butter, milk and cream.

So what’s the secret swap for those formidable balls-o-carbs? Zucchini! Just boil the heck out of it, take your fork and mash, mash, mash away. It’s texturally-perfect, nutrionally-abundant and shockingly addictive.

3-Ingredient Potato-less Mashed Potatoes
Serves 1 (adjust proportions as needed based on how much you’re making)
1 zucchini
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt, to taste
Optional: freshly ground black pepper, red chile pepper flakes

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel a few spirals from the zucchini. Meanwhile, heat a pot of water to boil.
2. Place the rest of the zucchini in the boiling in water. Boil until impossibly soft (You can check by piercing it with a fork or knife).
3.  Using a fork (or potato masher if you are feeling fancy), mash the zucchini and add the olive oil. Season to taste and top with the raw zucchini shreds. Rejoice in a guilt-free spoonful of comfort.

(flowers also courtesy of aforementioned body building boyfriend)

Easy Vegan Fall Pasta Even Carnivores Will Crave

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by this thing called carbs. Luckily, when they come accompanied by loads of wholesome goodness and veggies, you don’t have to serve ’em with a side order of guilt. Behold: Last week’s Meatless Monday’s (erm, two Thursday agos…) Pasta extravaganza at Bob & Su’s.
Su and I tossed together this simple pasta salad, while Bob eagerly eyed the prime rib defrosting on the counter. Luckily, by the end of this hearty feasty, all parties had lost interest in steak. Heck, all we could even manage for dessert was raspberries (okay, drizzled with balsamic. and chocolate. lots of chocolate-covered stuff).
As it turned out, the meal was completely vegan (also pictured: simple roasted squash, a beet-studded salad, and caramelized Brussels sprouts), but I don’t think anybody noticed. 
Pasta
1 box mini shells
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 bunch bok choi
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
Whatever vegetables you have and want to add
olive oil, lots of
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add oil to hot pan and saute onion until brown.
2. Add peppers and bok choi to mixture.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on box.
4. Add canned tomatoes to pan’s mixture and continue simmering for fifteen minutes or so. Drizzle in more oil. And then probably some more.
5. Season as desired. Pour mixture over pasta and mix thoroughly.
*Note: You don’t have to use pasta shells for this recipe, but as Su wisely pointed out to me, the sauce clings nicely to the pliable shells, likely better than it would to ziti or spaghetti. If you’re lucky, some onion-y bits and tomato-y goodness will hide in the  shells’ nooks for some of the tastiest bites.”