This first recipe is really just an excuse to eat guacamole with a spoon…(like many of us actually need one.) It’s pretty and extremely delicious, as long you’re a guacamole lover like I am. All it is, basically, is brown rice mixed with guacamole. But since I’m not a basic kinda gal, there’s a bit more… A little trick I like to do is sneak pureed vegetables into several of my recipes. I sometimes add sweet potato, carrot or butternut squash puree to my mac n cheese, cauliflower puree to my mashed potatoes, pumpkin puree to my chocolate cake, and in this case, green pea puree to my guacamole.
Oh no, did I just make you cringe? I’m sorry, please keep reading.
Adding the pea puree is a great way to get some extra fiber and vitamins into your kid’s (or husband’s) bellies. Most kids like guacamole, and although there are a lot of health benefits to the avocado itself, I think that any time you can add more vitamins or fiber to a dish, especially if kids are involved, you should do it. If I’m serving guacamole as a dip for a crowd of adults, I keep it traditional but I like to mix pureed green peas to it if I’m feeding it to children. They usually can’t tell the difference and 1 cup of added pea puree offers them 5 extra grams of fiber, 40 more mg of vitamin C and several B vitamins, among other health benefits. But if I’ve left you still in cringe-mode, the pea puree is completely optional, the recipe is absolutely delicious either way.
-In a medium bowl, mash 3 large avocados and season with the zest and juice of 1 large lime, several good pinches of salt, a small handful of minced cilantro and 3-4 garlic cloves finely minced*. Mash this up finer than you normally would a standard guacamole dip. -Cover and set aside in the fridge while you make your rice, (this can be done hours in advance).
–Optional Step-Defrost 1 cup of frozen green peas in the microwave (place in a bowl with a little bit of water and microwave for 30-45seconds until thawed and softened.) Puree with an immersion blender or small food processor until smooth and mix into your prepared guacamole.
-Cook 1 cup brown rice in 2 1/2 cups of lightly salted water until all water is absorbed and rice is tender. This will yield 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.
-Mix the cooked, hot rice with your guacamole/pea mixture.
-Check seasoning, it may need more salt if you added the peas.
-Serve as a side-dish to anything Tex-Mex inspired, like maybe the recipe below…
(*tip-when I’m using raw garlic in a dish, I generally grate it with a hand grater over the bowl so I don’t end up with large, raw garlic pieces in my dish)
The next recipe is a great way to use up leftover mashed sweet potatoes, (which happens a lot around Thanksgiving…) but I usually make them from scratch because I often have a lot of sweet potatoes on hand since they’re delicious and so healthy. I rarely peel my potatoes, sweet or white, even when I’m mashing them. There is a lot of extra fiber in the peel and I’ve always enjoyed it, but if you’re picky about peels, feel free to peel yours.
I started to call these fritters but that just seemed to obvious, they were golden brown and crispy on the outside and incredible soft and delicate on the inside…thus the pillow reference. You, however, can call them whatever you’d like.
*Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Pillows
-Cook 1 1 lb. sweet potato (or a couple small ones, just make sure it’s a total of 1 lb) in the microwave by poking it with a fork several times and cooking on high for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. (if you’re using leftover mashed sweet potatoes, you will need 1 1/2-2 cups.)
-Puree in a small food processor or with an immersion blender until very smooth, (I do this instead of mashing because I’m using the peel and need it to be finely chopped, but mashing it is fine otherwise.)
-Add the warm pureed sweet potatoes to a medium bowl and mix in 1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar (the amount in a small bag of pre-shredded reduced fat), a splash of milk, 1/2 cup of sour cream*, 2 TB whole wheat flour, 2 eggs, several good pinches of salt, 1 tsp of brown sugar, and a pinch each of cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
-Preheat a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 TB of butter with some olive oil. When the pan is hot, use a small ice cream scoop to portion out your ‘pillows’ and add them to the pan. Press them down a bit with a fork to flatten them slightly and allow to reach a golden brown on the bottom before flipping. These only take a couple of minutes total.
(*If you can find Mexican sour cream or crema, I recommend buying it. It’s very rich and is quite similar in flavor to creme fraiche but costs a fraction of the price)