Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just in Time for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming up real soon.  Memorial Day was originally intended as a day to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country.  And yes, some of us visit the graves of our  loved ones.  But when most people think about Memorial, beginning of summer and firing up the grill rise to the top. 

When Monday rolls around and you need a new side dish, try this recipe for Guacamole Salad.  I originally found this recipe in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  This recipe contains two of my favorite ingredients - black beans and avocados.  I love this new take on guacamole. 

Beans are a good source of fiber and protein.  They are fat free and low in calories.  Results of studies indicate that consuming beans may reduce cholesterol levels and aid in controlling diabetes.  And if this ain't enough, they're cheap.  So eat up!

As for avocados, I discovered them a few years ago.  Until recently, I hated avocados.  That just goes to show that change is possible.  Avocados are actually a fruit and are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin E and B vitamins.  Avocados also contain fat, primarily, mono- and polyunsaturated that help increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. 

So, combine beans and avocados for a healthy addition to the Memorial Day Cookout!

Guacamole Salad

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 avocados, seeded, peeled, and diced

Directions:

1.  Cut tomatoes in half.  Slice pepper in half.  Remove seeds and veins.  Dice the pepper.  Stir together tomatoes, pepper, beans, onion, and jalapeno.

2.  Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper.  Pour over vegetables and toss well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

3.  When ready to serve, add avocados.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.

When I first tried this recipe, I was mostly into red tomatoes, but now I love the colors of heirloom tomatoes.  For an even more colorful salad, try different colors of tomatoes.  If using large tomatoes, about 2 cups is a good amount for this recipe.  After trying this recipe again, I decided that cilantro would be a good addition. 

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