Guacamole is one of my favorite recipes. Nothing beats the flavor of fresh cilantro, lime, cumin, and creamy avocado. Whenever I need to whip something up for a party or an appetizer for guests, guacamole is an easy crowd-pleasure that works with anyone's picky diet.
But guacamole is for so much more than just chips. You can use it on salad and pasta as a healthy, oil-free dressing. Use it to replace mayo and cream cheese on sandwiches and toast. Here are:
5 New, Healthy Ways to Use Guacamole
1) Salad Dressing
Do you ever find yourself craving the cool, creamy flavor of ranch dressing? A little bit of cool, creamy avocado can do just the trick. On salads we can crave a little bit of creamy richness. Traditional salad dressings like Ranch, Thousand Island, and Caesar are loaded with oil, salt, sugar, and often dairy and eggs. We often reach for these dressings simply out of habit.
Try switching your habit. Try a plant-based, oil-free dressing from guacamole. Simply take a couple tablespoons of guacamole and add a couple of tablespoons of water to get a pourable consistency. Use this as a dressing over any salad. Notice how the rich, creamy texture satisfies your craving. You'll be gaining the same satisfaction as the other salad dressings, but without all of the empty calories and excess salt.
Chef's Quick Tip: Don't have time to make Guacamole? Simply mash up a ripe avocado with a little bit of lemon juice. Massage into greens like spinach or kale for a quick, creamy dressing.
2) Pasta Sauce
Pasta is the easy go-to for a quick, vegan dinner. Whole grain pasta cooks up in about 10 minutes. Whether it's whole wheat, brown rice, lentil, or even chickpea pasta, using whole grain pasta means you're getting healthy fiber, protein, and B vitamins.
Where pasta tends to go wrong is the sauce and cheese that we pour over it. Store-bought pasta sauces often have empty calories from oil, way too much salt, and even sugar. Sure, you can make your own, but if you want to try something different, go with some guacamole.
To make it Guacamole Pasta Sauce: Boil pasta, like usual, following the package instructions. During the last couple of minutes that the pasta is boiling, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water and set aside. When your pasta is done, drain it well. Add it back to the hot pot, along with the reserved pasta water and 1/2 cup of guacamole. Toss well to combine...Voila! Guacamole Pasta!
You can add in your favorite veggies like steamed broccoli, baby spinach, or steamed asparagus. Or add a can of black beans and diced tomatoes for a truly "Tex-Mex" meal.
Chef's Tip: Think beyond pasta. Guacamole can work as a creamy coating for any of your favorite whole grains, beans, and lentils:
Beans: Combine with 1 can black beans, 1 cup frozen corn, and 2 diced tomatoes
Green Quinoa: Combine with 1 cup cooked Quinoa and 1 cup frozen green peas and 1 diced green bell pepper
Guacamole Rice: Check out the recipe below from the Simply Vegan Blog for new twist on rice. Looks delicious!
3) Replace Sour Cream: Baked Potatoes, Chili, Tacos, Dal
Comfort food calls for some rich, creamy texture. Baked potatoes love a little dollop of sour cream. And when you're eating something spicy like Chili, tacos, or Indian Dal, it's natural to want something cool to counter the heat. Instead of automatically diving into the dairy, try add a spoonful of guacamole.
The rich, creamy texture of the avocado replicates the rich, creamy texture of sour cream. Balancing the warmth of a baked potato, cold guacamole will delight your taste buds with interesting flavors. The healthy fats from the avocado will help tame the spicy heat from stews and chili.
Chef's Tip: For a bit more tangy flavor in guacamole, use lemon juice instead of lime. This will help replicate the same tangy flavor in traditional sour cream. To take it a step further, swap out the cilantro for chives. This will give a more American comfort-food flavor vs Mexican flavor.
4) Replace Mayonnaise and Butter: Spread it on Sandwiches and Toast
Just like sour cream has a rich, creamy taste that we crave, mayonnaise and butter are two more condiments that we crave. Both are loaded with empty calories and saturated fat. So how do you satisfy the craving while sticking to your diet?
You've got it: Guacamole. The rich, creamy flavor from the avocado will hit all of the pleasure zones that butter and mayo hit...but with a much healthier result.
- Sandwiches: Spread guacamole onto sandwiches to replace the mayo
- Grilled Cheese: Swap out the cheddar for guacamole fora vegan grilled "geez!". Add a couple of tomato slices for some juicy sweetness
- Breakfast Toast: My favorite go-to breakfast is Avocado toast. For a spicy twist, smear some guacamole on that whole grain bread or a sprouted bagel
- Pita: Instead of yogurt-based Tzatziki, dollop some guacamole into whole wheat pita for a dairy-free snack. Add some baked Chickpea Falafel for the full meal.
5) Garnish for Appetizers
Sometimes all you need to elevate the flavor and presentation of a nice appetizer is a small dollop of bright color. Guacamole, with its verdant green color and spicy pop of flavor provides just that!
For the simplest presentation ever, simply dollop guacamole onto cucumber or jicama discs. Then sprinkle on a bit of chili powder or a few diced tomatoes. Your easy, low-carb vegan appetizer is done! To get a little bit fancier, learn how to use a melon baller to create a guacamole pocket in cucumbers with this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen.
My favorite appetizer uses a Oaxacan variation on guacamole. Charred tomatillos and serrano peppper are blended with avocado for tangy-spicy flavor. I use this to top baked tortillas for an oil-free baked Tostada
Other ideas for simple plant-based Guacamole Appetizers:
- Stuffed Peppers: Fill mini peppers
- Stuffed Mushrooms: Stuff inside white or cremini mushroom caps
- Lettuce Cups: Mix with corn and fill lettuce cups
- Stuffed Potato Bites: Roast small red potatoes, cut in half, and top with Guacamole
Got More Ideas?
Share them below in the comments section!
About the Author:
Chef Katie Simmons
Katie is a Personal Chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. Outside of the kitchen, she is a Fitness Instructor for Equinox, with over 16 years experience in the fitness industry, a runner, and a yogi. For fun, she loves to travel, with her favorite trips including 4-days on the Incan Trail, 10 days of hiking in the Patagonia of Argentina and Chile, 5 months backpacking in New Zealand, and exploring the fascinating flavors of Northern India. She loves Curry spice almost as much as warm hoodies and running along the Lakefront.