Ever Bean In A Food Slump?

I have been polling some friends lately and this seems to be the norm. Like me, everyone I talk to just doesn't know what to cook. Uninspired, we're all in a slump. A cooking slump. Rather than the jovial, loving way we approach mealtime, it's now a job. An effort.

Maybe it's the change of the seasons, but I hope it doesn't last long.

When we're going through this "funny food stage," I tend to nibble more than I eat a full blown meal which means I am constantly on the look-out for unique eats. It needs to be easy to make, hopefully with ingredients I already have and satisfying.

I try and keep several cans of beans in the pantry. Always no salt added and always the Whole Foods' 365 Brand. Black beans and garbanzo beans are my favorites. They are a great go-to. Beans can be heated, mashed, pureed and prepared in so many different ways for whatever meal you need--breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are full of protein, have no fat and add great flavor, texture and are inherently satiating.
While perusing a few food blogs one day, I came across a link that directed me to Two Peas & Their Pod, specifically the Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad Sandwich post. At one glance, I knew this was going to be something I would make. Over and over. And I have.

Easy, fun, delicious and healthy, you can make it into sandwich or put a big dollop on top of your salad--instead of tuna fish or chicken salad--or spread it generously over crackers and even use it as a dip with veggies or crispy pita chips. If you add some finely diced chile and serve with tortilla chips, you'll swear it's guacamole. And I think that's a very good thing.

My cousins and their children just moved and we're taking "a funny dinner" to the new house to celebrate. Mock guac, salad and burgers from Five Guys. (David will use any excuse to eat a burger, but since Five Guys was recently named the nation's favorite burger chain, I think he wanted to celebrate their quick rise to success.)

Whether you're in a food rut or not, I just know you'll dig this new food find.

Buen provecho!
Chickpea and Avocado Mash (Guac Plus)
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from the blog, Two Peas & Their Pod

Print recipe

Quick, easy and delicious, you can use this mash to make a fabulous sandwich (just add whatever toppings you want--arugula, tomato slices, sprouts, microgreens, red onion), a dip for veggies and crackers or as a topping for your salad. 

Alternatively, if you add chile and serve with tortilla chips, everyone will think it's guacamole--mock guac, actually--but with less fat and more protein. Just be sure and eat it all in one day as it will turn dark and nasty because of the avocado.

Serves 2-4

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, no salt added is preferred
1 large ripe avocado
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Finely diced jalapeno or serrano chile, optional

Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Place the beans in a bowl and, using a fork, gently mash the beans and toss them so they move around. You'll immediately see how the skins come off, but you do need to press lightly on the beans so the skins pop off. Using your clean fingers, carefully remove the skins from the beans (many of the skins will collect on the fork tines) and place to the side--I use a bowl and then discard when you are done. Keep mashing the beans and stirring and more and more of the skins will pop off. This is a tedious step that takes about five minutes but an important one. And once you do it, you'll know why you did.

Now cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.
Carefully spoon the avocado halves from the shell and place in the bowl with the chickpeas.

Using the back of the same fork or get a potato masher, mash the chickpeas and avocado together. Once well combined, add the cilantro, green onion, lime juice and chile, if you are inclined.
Stir well and add salt and pepper. Taste to adjust the seasonings--a little more lime juice or salt, perhaps?

Serve on a sandwich, as a dip with veggies or crackers or plop a big spoonful on top of salad. Or serve with tortilla chips for a fabulous take on guacamole.

Note: If you do go the guac way, you could replace the green onion with diced red, yellow or white onion. Or use half green onion and half regular onion. You choose.

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