A healthy eating specialist at WFM Columbus Circle and WFM Union Square in NYC, Kelly Dupuis believes in eating foods without labels (an ear of corn, a ripe tomato). As a proponent of plant-based diets, she eschews packaged substitutes offering a quick fix. For Kelly, it's all about cooking from scratch. In her weekly column, Comfort Food - Refreshed, Kelly doesn't just adapt her favorite comfort foods to her plant-strong lifestyle, she reimagines them in original recipes with a wink to the past.
This week: Stuck in a healthy eating rut? Just add avocado, Kelly says.
Add avocado. That’s my advice to folks trying to eat more plants. Avocados are creamy, luscious, mild, and delicious. Of course, avocado has a good amount of fat, but it’s what we call “healthy fat.” Avocado is a plant-based fatty wonder that’s also an outstanding source of fiber. So, a little avocado goes a long way to make many dishes incredibly satisfying. A little fat adds to overall satiety -- that is, a feeling of fullness. We are talking beyond guacamole here. (Not to bash guacamole. It’s one of the human race’s greatest inventions.) Here are a few ways I like to add a little avocado (that’s a quarter of an avocado in my book) to dishes:
In particular, I really enjoy Hass avocados when I’m in the ‘cado mood. They’re creamier in my opinion. It’s all in the ripeness, though. An avocado that’s ready to eat should yield to the slight pressure of your thumb, but not totally smoosh under it. Often (but not all the time), a ripened Hass avocado is slightly browner than its unripe counterparts. But that’s not a true sign of ripeness. It’s the thumb test that’ll get you through to avocado bliss. If your avocado is not ripe, give it a day in a brown paper bag placed next to a banana. Bananas have a tendency to ripen everything around them. (Seriously, don’t put bananas next to your prettiest flowers. They’ll cause your flowers to die faster.) Anyway, a ripe avocado is delicious; an unripe avocado is a disappointment. So don’t rush it! My recipe this week, Orange, Jicama and Avocado Salad, is one you should rush to make, though.
You all know how much I’m into produce of all kinds. That’s no surprise here. But I rarely provide recipes for salads. One of the major reasons for that is to dispel the myth that eating plant-strong (or vegetarian or vegan) is all about eating salads. There are many other ways to get your fill of veggies (see the examples above). But every now and again, I come up with a salad recipe that demands to be shared. This week’s recipe is based one on that I came up with to get my job as a Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market, actually! I made it for the interview, and I believe it was one of the aspects that got me the job. I served it up in endive leaves for a cute presentation (when you’re demonstrating a recipe, it’s always nice to keep an eye on presentation), but I typically just enjoy a big bowl of this salad.
My favorite winter produce, the satsuma mandarin, combines with the blessed avocado to create a taste sensation. Satsumas are sweet and tart, easy to peel, and super juicy. And avocado is a natural pairing with citrus. It’s usually best friends with lime (think: guacamole), but in this salad, the avocado socializes with the satsuma for an unexpected citrus twist. Finally, the crunch of fresh jicama (a crunchy root vegetable that's almost like an unsweet apple and best served raw), adds welcome texture.
My “add avocado” philosophy for plant-based eating helps this salad transcend the average-salad realm. How do you go beyond the standard bowl of leafy greens?
Orange, Jicama and Avocado Salad
Serves 4 to 6
8 satsuma mandarins, peeled and segmented
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3/4 cup raw jicama, peeled and julienned thin (1/4 inch matchsticks)
2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
Juice of one lime
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
1/4 cup raw or salted pumpkin seeds (optional)
In the NYC area? Stop by for cooking advice!
Do you need help with maintaining a healthy diet? Drop by WFM Columbus Circle or WFM Union Square to chat with me about this recipe and plant-strong cooking tips. I'll be preparing this salad this Saturday, January 12, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at our Columbus Circle store.
If you're not in the area, send me a direct message or add your comments or questions below.
Like this post? See Kelly's topic from last week: Broccoli, Cannellini Bean, and Roasted Tomato Stew.
Kelly Dupuis is a healthy eating specialist at WFM Columbus Circle and WFM Union Square who delights in transforming comfort classics into deliciously satisfying and fun plant-based dishes.
A Whole Foods Market Shopper says: HamburgerBe the first to respond