Granted by coming to you with yet another vegetable based dish I’m taking the risk of sending you running for greener pastures; pastures that are filled with more carnivorous delights, like, oh, say, succulent barbecued ribs or juicy grill-marked burgers – you know, those things we’re all supposed to be making in high July. But honestly, around here lately, that’s just not exactly what we’ve been eating.
It’s been more about simplicity, and ease of execution. Much more about instant gratification and much less about intricate steps and complicated processes. Or — let’s be honest here — much more about getting to that glass of wine on the couch, and much less about standing in the kitchen while enviously gazing over at one boy and his pug stretched out watching re-runs of Seinfeld.
It’s easy to fall into a rut of simplicity, relying on dishes that you know deep down you only can take half-credit for, in that most of their deliciousness is completely dependent on the incredible quality of the ingredients you were lucky enough to stumble upon. It is Summer, after all, peak season for all but the best of mostly everything.
And on a day like today – a sunny, uncomplicated Friday with little on the agenda but a looming pit stop at the gym and a date at a new Boulder restaurant – there should be no muss and no fuss when it comes to lunch. A few quick slices here and stirs there that yields something healthy, fresh, and completely oven-free?
Where do I sign?
And so this avocado Greek yogurt salad was born, on many a day just like today where I wanted something filling and nutritious that at the same time was totally satisfying and somewhat ‘sandwich like.’ Yes, I know I am getting a bit early 1990′s on you with a rice cake and all, and before you ask if they really still make those sad cardboard alternatives to bread that you may have thought disappeared with that era’s Bow-Flex machines and promises of a rock-hard body in 37 easy moves (or something like that), you are mistaken.
Rice cakes are still very much around, and have become the (gluten free! organic! all natural!) vehicle of choice around here for ferrying said avocado Greek yogurt salad into waiting mouths; mouths that are generally happy to be sitting on the couch laughing at Jerry and Elaine.
This salad is punched up with chopped jalapenos and rough chopped cilantro, which add a brininess and freshness that cut through the creamy avocado and yogurt nicely. This salad stays firmly out of guacamole territory with the addition of the yogurt, which allows you not only to only use one avocado (by bulking up the volume), but also lends it’s tangy bite and creamy texture, creating something that tastes totally different than everyone’s favorite chip dip.
I’ve taken to making this at least once a week; a rice cake (or piece of toast if you really must) smeared with half of a batch makes a perfect lunch on the go, and the rest keeps well in the fridge for at least a couple of days, covering your lunch bases for tomorrow or making for an excellent midnight snack. Once you make this you’ll see why I love it so.
Avocado Greek Yogurt Salad with Jalapeno and Cilantro
Makes 2 rice cakes or toasts
This salad works best with a ripe avocado; one that is under ripe and too hard will not combine well with the other ingredients, and one that is a bit past its prime will fall apart and not hold its shape and texture. A quick and easy way I’ve learned on how to tell if an avocado is ripe? It should be firm but still yield slightly to a gentle squeeze, and if you flick the stem on the end off, the flesh should be a nice green color with no browning at all.
The pickled jalapeno adds a nice spiciness and flavor, but if you are not a fan of a bit of heat, you can omit it with no ill effect.
Once you make this you’ll see why it’s so addictive – easy to make, easy to take (just keep the salad and rice cake/toast separate until you’re ready to eat it, to avoid a soggy base), and easy to eat.
1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I use 2% Chobani)
3 Tbsp pickled jalapenos, brine drained and then finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (a loose quarter cup, or a small handful)
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
rice cakes or slices of toast to serve
Split the avocado in half, and remove the pit. Score the flesh in a crosshatch pattern, scoop the flesh out with a spoon, and place the flesh into a mixing bowl. Add the Greek yogurt, the chopped jalapenos, the chopped cilantro, the lime juice, and salt into the bowl, and stir to mix the salad well. It should be creamy but still chunky. Taste, and adjust salt level to your liking.
Mound the cool salad atop of two rice cakes or pieces of toasted whole wheat bread. Salad tastes great enjoyed right away, and will keep a day or two, covered, in the fridge.