Posts tagged ‘Avocado’

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens


These tacos represent a coming together of some of our favorite side dish recipes. The flavours in each (garlic in the spinach, cumin in the rice, rich dark beer in the beans) come together for a satisfying, complex mouthful of taco goodness.

That being said, this recipe can look a little intimidating given all of its various elements. Each of the recipes are quite easy, and I’ve included instructions for timing everything so that it takes the least effort and all comes together at the same time. If you are short on time or energy, though, you can use store-bought prepared beans (I especially like Trader Joe’s canned “Cuban Black Beans” but any brand of baked beans should work if you can’t get those). You’ll need about 2 cans.

This recipe can be easily doubled and is great for a fun, laid-back dinner party. Have your guests make their own tacos from the ingredients you’ve prepared. The different elements keep well in the fridge for about a week. Just keep them in separate containers and put tacos together whenever you want them.

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens

10 small flour tortilla shells or taco shells
1 recipe cumin garlic rice (below)
1 recipe beer-stewed beans (below)
1 recipe garlic greens (below)
1 cup salsa, store-bought or homemade
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 cup cheddar or monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
hot sauce to taste (optional)

  1. Put the rice on first, because it takes the longest and doesn’t need supervision.
  2. Next, work on the beans. They are better the longer they simmer. When they are done (if you aren’t), just turn the heat off and put a lid on the pot.
  3. Do the spinach last, because it doesn’t take long and it shouldn’t be over-cooked.
  4. Gather the rest of the ingredients, and put together your tacos as you eat. Enjoy!

Cumin-Garlic Rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2¼ cup water (or follow instructions on your rice cooker)
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Put all ingredients in rice cooker and cook according to manufacturer directions for 1 cup of brown rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can find instructions for cooking brown rice in a pot here.

Beer-Stewed Beans
(Adapted from Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas)

4 cups pinto beans or black beans or kidney beans (cooked or canned)
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup beer (preferably a dark beer)
½ cup vegetable broth
½ cup cilantro, minced

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Garlic Greens
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
10 oz. fresh spinach or other greens (collards, kale, chard, bok choy, etc.)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar or white wine

  1. In a large pot or wok, heat oil and add garlic, sauteeing until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add spinach and vinegar or wine, and cook until spinach is bright green, and has reduced to about a quarter of its original size (about 5 minutes).

August 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Goat Cheese, Avocado & Onion Burgers


I just don’t really like meat, and as far as I can remember I never really have. So for a long time, my approach to burgers has been to smother them in as many condiments as I can lay my hands on. That’s an approach that has stuck even as I’ve found veggie burgers that I really like, but these days I like to smother my burgers in combinations of veggies, cheeses, and sauces that make them more sophisticated  than the burgers of my youth.

This particular burger came out of a need to use up many of the included ingredients, including salsa, goat cheese, and avocado. Lucky for us, those are three ingredients that balance each other well! The creamy, mellow avocado balances the sharper flavours of the goat cheese and salsa, while the sauteed onions add another level of flavour that gives the burgers a real depth. All in all, these burgers were a huge success! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Goat Cheese, Avocado & Onion Burgers
Makes 4 Burgers

4 whole wheat hamburger buns
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine (optional)
4 premade veggie burgers (we used Morningstar’s Tomato-Basil Burgers)
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup salsa, store-bought or homemade
½ cup pickle slices or sliced pickled hot peppers

  1. Cook the veggie burgers according to the package directions. (We heated them in a large frying pan on low heat, cooking 5 minutes on each side).
  2. Toast the hamburger buns, spreading with butter first if desired. (This is optional, but it makes the buns moist, rich, and just a little bit crispy). If you use butter, toast the buns in a toaster oven, an oven, or on the grill. The butter could be dangerous in a conventional toaster, and at the very least, it may ruin your toaster.
  3. Slice the onion into thin rings. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, and sautee the onions until just beginning to brown, stirring constantly (about 10 minutes).
  4. Spread mustard on the toasted buns.
  5. When the burgers and onions are done, place the burgers on sliced rolls. Top each burger with ¼ of the onions, ¼ of the avocado, and 2 tablespoons each of goat cheese, salsa, and pickles (or pickled peppers).

July 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich

IMG_7161When I was twelve years old, my family moved back to Edmonton after a brief hiatus and my parents’ friends came over to help us get settled. I’m sure that they moved furniture, and helped unpack and so forth, but what I remember are the sandwiches.

They brought ice cream pails full of different sandwiches for us to eat until we had unpacked our kitchen implements and stocked up on groceries. At first, I dug into the old stand-bys like PB&J, but then I discovered the avocado and bacon and I never turned back. The salty, crispy bacon mixed with the creamy avocado in what I can only describe as a culinary revelation. This recipe is my vegetarian version, which I think is just as good. Better even, because you can pile on the fried tofu (which can be made entirely without oil if you have a good non-stick pan) in amounts that would be inadvisable (at best) with bacon.

If you don’t want to make all four sandwiches at once, you can still prepare all of the tofu ahead of time and then store it for later. Cut up as much of the avocado as you want, and then spread lemon juice over the rest and wrap it tightly in tin foil or plastic wrap. Leave the remaining avocado in its skin with the pit to help preserve its freshness, and it should keep in the fridge for a day or two. Don’t worry if the surface has turned a little bit brown, as long as the rest of the avocado is still green underneath. If you are making these sandwiches to eat later, toss the avocado in a little lemon juice before spreading it on the sandwich. These keep for a few hours, but not much longer.

Avocado and Fried Tofu Sandwich
Makes 4 Sandwiches

8 slices of multigrain bread
1 ripe avocado
½ teaspoon salt or to taste, preferably coarse or kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste, preferably freshly ground
1 lb. tofu, cut into slices

Smoky Tofu Marinade
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce (or additional soy sauce)
½ cup water
1 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine.
  2. Place sliced tofu in a long, shallow food storage container or a large resealable bag.
  3. Pour marinade over the tofu and add additional water to cover if necessary.
  4. Marinate overnight.
  5. Remove tofu from marinade and heat it in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat until it is browned on both sides.
  6. Meanwhile, toast the bread. When it is finished toasting, spread ¼ of the avocado on each of four slices of the bread. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place ¼ of the tofu over the avocado, and top with an unadorned slice of bread. Enjoy!

June 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm 1 comment

Welcome-to-Spring Spinach Salad

img_6904Sometimes a salad is just a salad, but sometimes the ingredients come together and it just works. This is one such salad. The avocado mellows the red onion, and the crunch of the apples nicely balances the different crunch of the pecans. Yum!

If you want to make this salad for less than four people at once, it’s no problem. Cut out as much of the apple and avocado as you want, leaving the rest whole. Leave the pit in the avocado. Rub the surface of both with lemon juice and wrap tightly in tin foil or plastic wrap. They should keep for a day or two. Even if they brown a little bit, you should be able to cut off a small layer to find perfectly good fruit.

Welcome-to-Spring Spinach Salad
Serves 4

6 cups spinach
1 apple, diced
1 avocado, diced
½ cup red onion, finely sliced
1 cup pecans

2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Whisk vinaigrette together in a small bowl.
  2. Chop veggies and divide them (and pecans) among four bowls.
  3. Pour dressing over salads and toss.

(Alternately, you can toss the veggies and dressing in one large bowl and serve family style).

April 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment


GuacamoleIf there is fresh salsa in the house, then homemade guacamole can’t be too far behind. This is another one of my mom’s favourite foods that I learned to love through her. Now she’s a big fan of my recipe and that makes me happy. The biggest trick to making guacamole is preventing it from going brown before you are done eating it. There are two things that I have found work well in this respect. First, combining the avocado and lime juice in a food processor (or mashing up the avocado very finely and mixing in the lime juice well before adding any other ingredients). Second, reserving the pit from the avocado and placing it in the centre of any uneaten guacamole. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Makes about 2 cups

2 avocados
½ tsp. lime juice or lemon juice
¾ cup white onion, chopped
¾ cup tomato, chopped
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

  1. In a food processor (or in a bowl with a fork), mash avocado very finely and blend with lime juice.
  2. Add onion, tomato and pepper and mix together.

July 23, 2008 at 8:30 am 3 comments

California Summer Salad

California Summer Salad

Mmm! I just threw this salad together last night as a side dish to go with the Vegan Tamale Pie that we were having, and I was surprised at how well it turned out. The textures of the avocado, cucumber and sunflower seeds worked out really well, and the dressing was light, refreshing, and super easy. I doubled the recipe here so that you can eat it as a main dish.

California Summer Salad
Serves 2 as a Main Dish, or 4 as a Side

5 cups Romaine lettuce, roughly torn
½ cup cucumber, sliced and quartered
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 avocado, cubed
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium bowl, combine lettuce, cucumber, red onion and sunflower seeds. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, olive oil and black pepper.
  3. Toss avocado in dressing to prevent the avocados from browning.
  4. Pour avocado and dressing over the salad.
  5. Serve immediately.

June 23, 2008 at 9:15 am Leave a comment



*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.