recipes

Peruvian Stuffed Avocado (Palta Rellena)

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With Thanksgiving only a week away, I probably should be posting a healthy stuffing recipe or a gluten free apple pie. Buuuuut that's just not what's inspiring me right now.  Today's recipe isn't seasonal or pumpkiny and has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving. Rather, it was inspired by my recent trip to Peru.

I really enjoyed exploring Peruvian cuisine, but you can only have so many heaping piles of rice and potatoes before you just want a freaking vegetable. One afternoon, while sitting in our favorite corner restaurant in Cusco, I was perusing the menu for something that resembled a salad. I had zero luck with that, but a "stuffed avocado" caught my eye. The picture on the menu didn't look like more than an avo half with a measly scoop of chicken on top. I figured what the hell, it's something other than fries. 

The meal that was brought to me far exceeded expectations. On my plate were three plump avocado halves under a mountain of chicken, veggies, and potatoes, and topped with kalamata olives. 

My first reaction: "This is like a chicken pot pie- in an avocado!"

Second thought: "I have to make this when I get home!" 

Palta rellena soon became my go-to meal when I wasn't up for ordering mystery food. I knew that I'd at least get a good serving (usually two or three) of protein, veggies, and healthy fats. 

Peruvian stuffed avocado (palta rellena)

Makes: about 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 lb baked or grilled chicken
  • 1 cup white potatoes, cut into cubes about 1 cm in size
  • 1/2 cup shredded or chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Kalamata olives for garnish (I used about 1/3 cup)
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  1. Chop potatoes into cubes about 1 cm in size. Add them to a saucepan with enough water to fully submerge potatoes. Bring water to a boil and allow to cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until tender. 
  2. While potatoes are cooking, chop carrots and onions and put them in a medium sized bowl. Add chicken, olive oil, yogurt, and lime juice.
  3. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Use a spoon to scoop the avo out of its skin while keeping its shape intact. 
  4. When potatoes are done cooking, drain the water. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes or run cold water over them to speed the cooling process. Add potatoes to mixing bowl with other ingredients and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. To serve, scoop the salad mixture into the avocado "bowls" and top with kalamata olives.  

Mayonnaise option:

The stuffed avocados that I had in Peru were always made with mayonnaise, like a potato salad. I've never been a mayo fan, hence the EVOO and yogurt substitution. For the mayo lovers out there, you can make this dish more authentic by using mayo instead of the yogurt and oil. 

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Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette

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You know what I think is the key to eating a ton of veggies every day? Delicious dressings and sauces. Seriously, I can eat ALL the veggies if I have a salad dressing or stir fry sauce that I really love. It's even better if I can make them from ingredients that I know are healthy. This recipe actually happened sort of by accident. The ginger man and I were having some friends over for dinner on Monday night and one of the main dishes was a giant chicken salad. I really wanted to go the extra mile and make the dressing as well. On a creative whim I put 5 simple ingredients into a blender and.....the base wasn't on tight enough so balsamic spilled all over the place! Always check your machinery before using ;) Anyway, after that minor mishap I tried again. What I ended up with was a sweet, tart, and spicy dressing that everyone loved. 

Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette

Prep Time5 minutes

Yieldabout1 cup dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6-7 strawberries
  • 1 raw garlic glove
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until you have a smooth consistency. It should look like a thick, pink fruit smoothie.

Notes:

If you like a sweeter dressing, go ahead and throw a couple more strawberries in there. I haven't tried it yet, but I am curious how this would turn out with other fruits. I'm thinking peaches....?! Give it a try.

This Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette tastes awesome on a salad that includes greens, red onion, bell peppers, avocado, walnuts, and feta cheese. The combination is amazing! Another tasty option is to drizzle this dressing over some apple slices with cheese. 

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Happy Thursday!