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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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)

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)

Honey-Mustard Glazed Brussel Sprouts Even Vegetable Haters Will Like

 

Growing up, honey-mustard hens served over a bed of pillowy wild rice was always one of my favorite dinners to look forward to. Now, when I need that spicy-sweet fix, I turn to this super simple 3-ingredient recipe to satiate that craving. Honey…I know, I know. Some vegans don’t eat it. And I’ve watched the More Than Honey documentary (well, until I fell asleep two thirds of the way through) on Netflix, read up on the topic, gone cold honey-turkey for a while, but alas…I hope that the fairtrade raw organic honey that I used minimizes my vegan sin committal (Though, you should probably gather from my blog title that I am not the holiest vegan whose path you’ve ever crossed).

Ingredients
15 or so Brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons spicy whole grain mustard
1 (very generous) teaspoon of honey*
1 tablespoon almond slivers, optional
Serves 1 as main, or 2 people for a side

*I’d imagine you can use maple syrup or agave nectar or some other vegan sweetener substitute for similar effects.

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour Brussels sprouts into corningware and spoon honey-mustard mixture over it. Toss to coat evenly.

2. Bake for thirty minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Warning: Crispy-crunchy caramelized bits may look like bacon. Serve warm, or let cool and slice in half to mix into salad.