Avocados go on sale quite frequently in my neck of the woods, and when they do I like to buy a whole bunch. Everyone in our house loves them, and it isn't unusual for my kids to split one for a snack after school. I know they are high in fat, but at the same time it's the "good for you" kind. In case you didn't know, Avocados are a fruit and not a vegetable and have the highest protein content of any fruit. They also contain more potassium than bananas, so all in all, despite the fact that they are high in calories, they are really good for you.
Guacamole is always a popular choice in our home and is prepared very frequently, but last week after an abundance of avocados in the refrigerator (it will slow down the ripening process) and having had guacamole a couple of times already, I was ready to find a different recipe using the green fruit. For a second I thought about making Avocado ice cream, but I couldn't quite get "there" mentally, it sounded just a little bit too strange for the time being. So on the internet I went looking. I didn't have to search very long until I found this recipe for Guacamole Salad from none other than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.
The salad sounded like it would be quickly made and I loved that it had a great Southwestern twist to it. Red grape tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, black beans, red onions, green jalapenos and bright green avocados make this salad a colorful feast for your eyes. The salad is dressed with a simple lime and oil dressing which receives a little additional kick from cayenne pepper, and finally diced avocados are added right before serving (to prevent browning) to the mix.
This salad was delicious! Everyone had seconds and this dish will be made over and over again. I served this alongside Southwestern seasoned grilled steaks with some crusty bread. This salad is a beautiful addition to any dinner table and reminded me that I need to look for more of Ina Garten's recipes, which always seem to turn out well.
(adapted from Ina Garten)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced
Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.