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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Leftover Red Wine? Make This Chocolate Cake with Drunken Raspberries

I’ve always been a huge fan of Chef Chloe ever since she showed the world on Cupcake Wars that vegans do it better (oh, and cruelty and cholesterol-free). Her latest book Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen will have you salivating until the (vegan) cows come home. So it should come as no surprise that I was thrilled when the team at Chloe’s kitchen offered to share one of my favorite recipes from the book with me for my readers. In fancy speak, it’s called Torta Di Cioccolato Al Vino Rosso Con Lamponi “Umbriachi,” but you can just call it “Now, please.”

Didn’t quite finish that bottle of red wine last night? Use it to make chocolate cake! This rich and seductive chocolate cake is fudgy on the inside with a hint of red wine. Top it with wine-soaked “drunken” raspberries and a dollop of coconut whipped cream for the ultimate lovers’ dessert. 

Cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour*
1 cup sugar
¹⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
 ½ teaspoon salt
 ¾ cup dry red wine
 ½ cup water
 ½ cup canola oil
 2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 *For a gluten-free alternative, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour plus ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum

Topping:
½ cup dry red wine
 ½ cup sugar
 1 small container raspberries (6 ounces)
 Powdered sugar
for serving Coconut Whipped Cream, like So Delicious Dairy Free Cocowhip Coconut Whipped Topping

Make-Ahead Tip: Cake layers can be made in advance and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw cakes before serving.

Makes one 9-inch round layer

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk wine, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.

Fill the prepared cake pan with batter. Bake for 28 to 30 min- utes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it. Be sure to rotate the cake halfway through baking time. Let the cake cool completely.

For the topping: In a small saucepan, combine wine and sugar and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Let boil for 1 to 2 minutes and remove from heat. Place raspberries in a bowl and pour the wine mixture over the raspberries.

Refrigerate and let soak for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days. Slice cake and dust each serving with powdered sugar. Then, top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and spoonful of wine-soaked raspberries.

Copyright © 2014 by Chloe Coscarelli from CHLOE’S VEGAN ITALIAN KITCHEN published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
 Cover Photo: Photography by Miki Duisterhof,   Recipe Photo: Photography by Teri Lyn Fisher

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.”

Spicy Paprika-Dusted Spaghetti Squash Seeds

The above is just a fancy way of saying I roasted spaghetti squash seeds and threw a bunch of good spices on them. Consider it your reward for the nuisance that is figuring out how the hell to cut a squash in half without slicing your hand off, pulling your tricep (Life-changing tip: You can roast it whole, or throw it in the oven for 10 minutes to soften up, and then cut it in half), or both.

It’s so easy, and the result is a real treat. Eat them as a snack (you’ll never pay $4 for over-salted, under-seasoned sunflower seeds again) or toss them into salads as a crunchy topper or sprinkle over warm dishes as a seasonal garnish.

The ugly before…

The prettier after…

Ingredients
Seeds of one spaghetti squash, scraped out
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whatever other seasonings you want slash have on hand
1. Line tinfoil with spaghetti squash seeds. Pour olive oil and spices over and toss with hands until evenly coated.
2. Roast in 200° oven for 20 minutes, or until seeds have reached desired crispy-ness. 
Feel free to add to main dish, like I did below in this eggplant-onion saute, but make sure you don’t try one before stirring into the mix (because once you pop one, they’ll probably all be gone before you make it to this step)

Aunt Su’s Fall Roasted Vegetable Medley

This “forget about it” while you cook (ahem, drink wine and chat while you chop more veggies), is one of my favorites from Aunt Su’s roster of no-effort but coup de delectable dishes. Certainly didn’t hurt that this recipe came to existence under the roof of a lovely waterfront house in Quogue surrounded by people whose company I cherish.

Ingredients
Serves 4-6 people
2 pounds brussel sprouts
3 leeks, trimmed-ish
2 bulbs fennel
2 garlic bulbs, peeled
1/4 cup or so olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh dill to garnish

1. Cube vegetables and place in large mixing bowl.
2. Toss vegetables with olive oil until evenly coated. Add salt, pepper and other desired seasonings.
3. Roast in oven for an hour at 400 degrees. Add generous amount of chopped fresh dill and stir into vegetable medley. Let cool a bit before eating.
To serve: Oceanside view is preferable but not a necessary vegetable-deliciousness enhancer.

                                      

(I don’t know why but I thought these lanterns were really wonderful and loved the dancing shadows they cast on the ceiling)

Creamy Triple Almond Breakfast Smoothie

My friends at California Almonds hooked me up with a bundle of goodies recently, so I decided to experiment pushing the almond-lope, erm, envelope with some smoothie recipes. After a few rounds of tinkering, this nutrient-packed gem hits the right balance of sweet, creamy goodness with a layer of nutty earthiness.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup almond slivers
2 tablespoons unsalted almond butter
1 banana
1/4 cup mixed berries
1/4 cup kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Happy gulping!

5-ish Ingredient Vegan Pesto

Carbs + herbs + summer + wine, what could be better?
Ingredients
2 cups macadamia nuts
1 cup basil, tightly packed
4 tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil, plus more when blending
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup Kalamata olives (you can also use white miso paste…or anchovies if you’re not vegan/inebriated)
Blend together until smooth. Add olive oil as needed to adjust thickness. Pour over desired pasta and toss. Add red chile pepper flakes and more basil to garnish, if desired. Also makes a great spread for toast.

Purple Pecan Power Shake

So easy you can toss this one together without even trying. Guess I could also call this a basil-berry shake. Quoi-ever.

 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use So Delicious)
  • 1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blackberries (I use Earthbound Farm Organic)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecan pieces
  • 1 banana
  • Handful frozen kale
  • handful fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (okay, maybe 2)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • shake or two of cinnamon
  • a few drops of pure vanilla extract
  • basil sprigs for garnish
  • 3 ice cubes
Blend to desired texture.

 

Vegan Breakfast Recipe: Hungover Okra Toast

The old Perri used to crave an everything bagel with the works: lox, juicy tomato slices, globs of cream cheese, capers, freshly squeezed lemon. Times two. The new Perri? All I want is a giant hunk of this oh-so-simple okra toast.
                        

First, let’s address okra. So underrated! This warm-season veggie, also known as “ladies fingers,” is low calorie, rich in vitamin C, and packed with magnesium, Vitamin A and calcium to boot. You can stir fry it, gumbo it, bake it, eat it raw, and do about a billion and a half delicious things with it. My favorite thing is a quick sauté over medium heat with a boatload of seasonings.

For all you hungover souls craving salvation, I assure you, this simple recipe sops up the vodka-fueled pain just as well as any overloaded bagel. Even better: You don’t wind up with that overindulgent double hangover feeling come nighttime.

Tender seasoned okra melds with a generous swirl of canned tomatoes and creamy avocado, while hearty black beans soak up the previous night’s bad decisions and give you a needed protein and fiber dose… all blanketed over a crunchy canvas of toasted rye bread, and finished with a generous squeeze of lemon for a note of acidity and brightness. Sounds a lot fancier than it is. It also might sound a bit weird, but don’t knock it until you try it, I promise it’s really, really good. Or maybe I’m just really hungover. Either way, here we go:

Ingredients
2 pieces rye bread
1/2 cup raw okra
1/2 cup canned black beans (preferably no salt added)
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/4 ripe avocado (when would a recipe ever call for a not-yet-ripe avocado? I’m not sure but it seemed like the right thing to say), cut into small slices
1 tablespoon olive oil (for sautéeing)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lemon wedge

Assembly:

1. Ensure you’re sober enough to not accidentally walk towards the toaster with your okra and towards the pan with your rye bread.

2. Heat olive oil in pan. Add okra, paprika and chipotle (and whatever seasonings you like). Sautée for about five minutes over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add canned tomatoes and black beans and reduce heat to medium. Let sit for a few minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast your bread (in a toaster, not a pan). Spread smushed avocado wedges over bread, which has now emerged as toast. Transfer warmed up bean and vegetable mixture from pan to plate. Squeeze a generous amount of lemon over everything. Resist desire to add olive oil and sea salt. Crank out the pepper mill and grind over mix until happy. Eat and take a milk thistle supplement (alleged liver helper) for good measure.

One-Step Cinnamon Apple Pie Pudding

Okay, fine. Two Step (OMG, DMB reference) if you count putting it in the fridge. If that’s too much effort for you, I don’t know what to say folks. And don’t let the recipe name above fool you into thinking this is just a swirl of calorie and sugar-loaded decadence. Quite the opposite: Fiber. Check. Whole grains. Check. Protein. Check.


Overnight Apple Pie Breakfast Pudding
•1 container (6 oz) plain Greek Style yogurt (such as So Delicious Greek Style Plain Almond Milk Yogurt)
•1/3 cup Grape Nuts Cereal
•¼ cup diced green apple
•½ cup vanilla almond milk
•2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
•2 teaspoons chia seeds
•¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients in a pint size mason jar. Secure lid and shake well. Store in refrigerator overnight. Enjoy chilled for breakfast the next morning.

Note: I adapted the original recipe slightly and added more cinnamon, a teaspoon of flax seeds and a drizzle of agave nectar. Feel free to play with the fruits (raspberries or blueberries would be a welcome swap for apples) and nuts (walnuts work well too).

Recipe and photography courtesy of Kristina VanniFor more great recipes check out www.Grape-Nuts.com or www.Facebook.com/GrapeNutsCereal.