Nature knows what’s up. She knows that healthy fat is where it’s at! And what better source is there of plant-based healthy fat than avocados? I’m OBSESSED with them! They are so richly delicious, with all that yummy healthy good monounsaturated fat and loads of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K and C and potassium. They’re like nature’s butter, fresh off the tree instead of straight from the cow’s udder (and I’m sure the cows are more than happy to share that distinction with them if it means they will be hassled less!).
I’m happy that the contemporary tide of public opinion has turned toward recognizing that including healthy fats in our diets is essential. The low-fat, carb-heavy diet fad foods of the ’90s and ’00s never made sense to me. Why waste calories eating stuff that tastes as boring and cardboard-tasting as all get-out, is loaded with sugars and who knows how many creepy processed ingredients, and that will leave you unsatisfied and still craving the real deal? But hey, that’s what the dieting wisdom of that time told us we all should do (damn the marketing campaigns for those 100-calorie snack packs!). Needless to say, there were never dry pretzel sticks or diet cookies in my snack plans. For that I have to give a lot of credits to my parents, who brought me up in a house where eating everything in moderation was highly touted (have your meat and your veggies and your fruit and then your brownie, too) and where diet food products were rarely used. Now if I am going to choose to eat creepy processed stuff from time to time, I at least want it to taste good so it feels worth it in that sense to me (hello, Cheetos!). And of course, I appreciate an easy, healthful recipe like this one that can help me to get my fat craving satisfied naturally and without reaching for the store-bought junk food.
On to the recipe! A preparation tip: if you decide to use dried black beans as I did, you’ll need to soak them, covered by several inches of water, in a bowl for at least eight hours. Drain and rinse the beans before boiling, then simmer in a large pot of water on medium-low heat until tender, about 60 to 90 minutes.
-1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa)
-2 cups water or vegetable stock
-1 cup dried black beans (or three cups cooked beans)
-2 ripe avocados, with skins and pits removed
-1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
-1/4 cup olive oil
-Juice of one lime
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tbs. diced fresh cilantro
-1 tsp. salt
-Any additional toppings you’d like to add, such as diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, or tortilla strips
Rinse the quinoa and add with the two cups of water or vegetable stock to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.
Add the avocados, jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and salt to a food processor or blender and process until smooth (pause periodically to scrape the sides of the mixing container with a spoon if necessary to make sure all ingredients are well-blended).
And you’re done! Serve by layering each component per your desired preference (as you can see from the photo, I started with the avocado cream sauce, then the quinoa, then the beans, and I topped it off with some diced tomato). The beans and quinoa are best served warm, but the avocado sauce is best served chilled – or at room temperature when you’ve just made it. Makes three to four servings.