Avocado, green beans, baby limas, and silken tofu combine to make a lower-fat guacamole that’s just as delicious as “regular.”
In my den, two bookcases sag under the weight of the dozens of cookbooks I’ve managed to cram into them. Cookbooks spill out onto the neighboring coffee table, line the counter between kitchen and den, and form heaps around my bed. Sometimes I read them like novels, the sidebars and stories especially, and sometimes I thumb through them for inspiration (looking mostly at the pictures, I confess).
But do I cook from them? Almost never. Because I’m constantly experimenting with my own recipes, I have little time to try other people’s. Which is sad, really. It means I’m not getting the benefit of all their accumulated knowledge and experience.
For the next few weeks, that is going to change. Lately I’ve been reading a few cookbooks that I really want to cook from. So I’ve contacted their authors and received permission to share some of their recipes with you. I’ll also give you my brief impressions of their books, including how low in fat the recipes appear.
To start things off, I made a low-fat guacamole by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Bryanna Clark Grogan. Bryanna’s book The (Almost) No-Fat Cookbook came out the same year I became vegan and was indispensable to me when I needed to learn how to cook without oil, eggs, and dairy products. I was thrilled when I got to meet her at a McDougall weekend in 2008 and that I got to spend a little time (not enough!) with her at this year’s Vida Vegan Con. She is as gracious and knowledgeable in person as she is in her writing.
Her new book, World Vegan Feast: 200 Fabulous Recipes from Over 50 Countries, is a must for anyone who likes to cook “off the beaten trail.” While it does contain new takes on dishes you’ve probably heard of–pesto, pirogies, tamale pie, tiramisu–it contains many international recipes that were new to me, including Persian Eggplant Stew with Yellow Split Peas and Lime, Peruvian Stew with Peppers and Walnut Sauce, and Coulibiac (a pastry-wrapped Russian loaf).
While some of the recipes take less than 30 minutes to prepare and are marked with a <30 symbol, others are more involved and often require the making of other “sub-recipes.” Bryanna’s instructions are very clear and detailed, and she often gives multiple substitutes for ingredients. Read any recipe and you come away with the impression that these dishes were very well-tested.
To me, some of the best parts of the book are the sidebars and information boxes where Bryanna gives detailed notes about ingredients and cooking methods, including a two-page discussion of bean myths (no, salt doesn’t cause them to be tough) and a handy guide to egg replacers.
World Vegan Feast is not an oil-free cookbook. Most recipes do contain some oil or vegan margarine, though in many it’s used to saute vegetables and can be eliminated by using an alternate cooking method. Bryanna writes, “I don’t subscribe to a drastically low-fat vegan lifestyle, but I also do not believe that vegan recipes should just be vegan versions or variations of traditional high-fat recipes, with the same amount of oil, or vegan margarine substituted for the butter. I want the same pleasure quotient from a vegan recipe as a non-vegan one, but I will rework it as much as I can to cut the fat down, to use healthier fats, to use healthier flours, and so on.”
There is also liberal use of nuts, wheat gluten, soy, and salt, so if you have concerns about any of those ingredients, you should probably look inside the book on Amazon or in your local bookstore before you buy. Recipes are marked with symbols for gluten-free, gluten-free option, soy-free, soy-free option, and 30 minutes or less.
Though I was tempted by several of Bryanna’s stews, I chose to make her lower-fat guacamole both because it was already oil-free and because I’ve been searching without success for a lower-fat guacamole that I really love. I’ve tried Brocco-moles and Pea-moles and even Cucumber-moles without much liking any of them, but this combination of avocado, green beans, baby limas, and silken tofu really worked for me–I forgot it was supposed to be lower-fat and just enjoyed it as guacamole. My green beans took a little longer than 5 minutes to cook (they were tough) but they and the lima beans blended well with the avocado.
Thanks, Bryanna, for allowing me to share this fabulous lower-fat guacamole!
Bryanna's Low-Fat Veggie "Guacamole"
- 5 ounces young green beans trimmed (or frozen small whole green beans, thawed)
- 5 ounces frozen shelled baby lima beans (do not use cooked, dried lima beans)
- 1 small ripe hass avocado pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu (4 ounces) drained and crumbled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chunky no-sugar hot tomato salsa
- Cook both types of beans in a medium saucepan in enough water to cover for about 5 minutes or until completely tender but not mushy.
- Drain the beans well and transfer them to a food processor (not a blender), along with the avocado, tofu, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cumin. Process the mixture until smooth, stopping the machine a couple of times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the salsa and pulse the mixture just until it is all mixed in. Taste fore seasoning (add more citrus juice or salsa to your taste, if you like. Transfer to a covered bowl and refrigerate.
Nutritional info is approximate.
maryebSeptember 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm
I am so glad you are going to be reviewing cookbooks. I have quite a collection myself and am always looking for more inspiration.
FionaSeptember 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm
I am so excited about this post and that there are more to come over the next few weeks! I love hearing about cookbooks people recommend and I love that the authors gave you permission to share some of their really great recipes! Yay! What a genius idea. I love your blog!
Lindsay@almostveganblogSeptember 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm
Like I said on facebook, I cannot wait to make this!!!! YUM YUM YUM.
janet @ the taste spaceSeptember 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm
MMmm… this looks great! I love international cuisine and the cookbook sounds interesting although I have my reservations as do you, when I hear you mentioning the oil and nuts in the book. Btw, the ersian Eggplant Stew with Yellow Split Peas and Lime sounds delicious and perhaps similar to your delicious Iraqi Eggplant and Seitan Stew?
WendySeptember 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm
The only guac alternative I have attempted making is “Guacamame” (edamame plus avocado) and I wasn’t impressed. Not impressed at all. Susan, do you pinky swear this is good? Because if you do, I will make it!
SusanVSeptember 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Wendy, I promise you that I really liked it, and my husband said he liked it and would eat it again. Now, does that mean you will like it? I can’t promise you that!
WendySeptember 27, 2011 at 6:50 am
thanks Susan. 🙂
KristenSeptember 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm
It’s better than guacamame.
moonwatcherSeptember 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm
This is a wonderful addition to your blog, Susan, and I look forward to reading your exploration of all those cookbooks. 🙂 This guacamole recipe from Bryanna looks yummy. And the photo of it you took is fabulous. I can almost taste it by looking. 🙂
JanetSeptember 27, 2011 at 7:54 am
This sounds really good especially with the cost of avocados so high. I have tried the recipe making it with green peas. I wasn’t too impressed. Will try this one.
babetteSeptember 27, 2011 at 9:00 am
It’s true there is so much information and hard to find recipes in this book. I’ve tried 3 recipes so far, and they were all very good.
Jill PrincehouseSeptember 27, 2011 at 11:26 am
Neva’s new book isn’t set up yet for previewing :o( although I’ve pre-ordered it. I can’t wait to see more of your gorgeous photography.
Mia JSeptember 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm
Can’t wait to see the recipes you have in store for us! This guacamole looks amazing, hopefully santa will bring me a food processor this year this year so I can make it asap!
Connie FletcherSeptember 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm
Thank you so much, Susan, for doing this new thing……reviewing other authors and their cookbooks…..very helpful!! AND, this sounds amazing. I will be making this tomorrow!!
BrittanySeptember 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm
never ever get sick of guacamole!
JoannSeptember 30, 2011 at 9:31 am
That guac looks yummy! I too am addicted to reading cookbooks. I am convinced it is genetic, as my mom is also a cookbook reader. Because I have so many cookbooks, I choose one every couple weeks, pick out some recipes from it and shop accordingly. I then use only that book for the week. This way I don’t feel like my cookbook purchases were wasted.
JuliaSeptember 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm
This looks really good and will be bookmarked as a yummy dip to try not a “lower calorie guac”. Why is anyone looking for a “lower fat” version of guacamole. “Good” fats are good for your health and very necessary. And avocados are a good fat.
VegiegailOctober 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm
I cannot wait to make this!
CarolOctober 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm
This looks great! Thanks for sharing!
CarolOctober 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm
This looks so great! I’ll have to try this one soon. I can never get enough guacamole, so it’s nice to have a lower fat version 🙂
MaryOctober 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm
I’m really excited to try this low-fat version of guacamole. I love guacamole, but I am also following a program that is low-fat vegan. Another recipe I recently found for a low-fat guacamole is made with frozen green peas. I look forward to more of your great recipes.
LeslieOctober 3, 2011 at 11:28 am
First off I can’t believe I JUST discovered your blog! I had a get together with some friends last night and I whipped up this recipe. It was amazing and everyone loved it! Thank you for posting. 🙂
Meish in MAOctober 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm
I made this for a football gathering & it was terrific. Wendy, I double-pinkie swear it was good!
KaitOctober 5, 2011 at 8:14 am
yum yum, I cant wait to try this!
ElizabethsKindCafeOctober 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm
I will try this for sure – I eat guac EVERY day!
LisaNovember 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm
I could live on guacamole- but it is usually so high in fat that my pants don’t appreciate when I eat a lot of it. Can’t wait to try your recipe- it sounds delicious! Thanks!
JulieNovember 17, 2011 at 1:01 am
First, I want to thank you for your awsome website!!!! I have already successfully made several recipes and look forward to so many more. Now I want to preface this with “I dislike lima beans immensely!” and I am a very adventerous eater who likes many tastes. Growing up, I would swallow them like pills when they were served with dinner. My mom gave up on me. Wow! I love this dip, lima beans and all! I love guacamole and this is a great low-fat, vegan substitute. Thank you so much. Next, I am going to add just a few drops of tobasco.
mrskbcNovember 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm
This sounds great! Any hints about how to measure 5 oz of green beans and limas without using a food scale? I can’t wait to try it!
Susan VoisinSeptember 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm
I’m going to guess that each is about half a cup, maybe a little less for the limas.
Greg DuBoisNovember 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm
I was so happy to find your website. Low or no oil recipes is so recommended by the really good doctors to combat and even reverse the epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses because of the high fat, sugar and oil diet we Americans have been used to eating. I know personally people with stents, and or bypass operations for heart disease that wish they had only knew the “Eat to Live” type recommendations by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and other doctors like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougal and others. Something as simple as cutting out so called heart healthy olive oil in a person’s diet who was 95% vegetarian’s could have prevented serious heart procedures that were unnecessarily done.
JennyJanuary 2, 2012 at 6:22 am
This looks lovely! Every Friday is ‘Fajita Friday’ in our house and I’ve developed this very simple guacamole recipe:
1. Chop a small onion very finely in the food processer. Put in a small bowl.
2. Blend one medium sized ripe avocado with the juice of 1/2 lime, add salt & pepper to taste, and a clove of garlic if liked.
3. Mix with the chopped onion and add some finely chopped baby tomatoes.
I, like you, find the taste of coriander abominable, so none for me but it could be added if liked! Simple but effective and oil free 🙂
TinaFebruary 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm
I was wanting to make this, but don’t have any tofu in the house. For future reference, is the tofu necessary to the recipe, or can I skip it with good results? Thanks.
Susan VoisinSeptember 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm
It’s necessary to keep it as low-fat as it is. Without it, the calories and fat will increase and the serving size will decrease.
EileenSeptember 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm
I just made this and it is amazingly goooooood! I have been intending to try it for quite some time, but had forgotten about it. When I saw your post today, I had to try it, since I had everything on hand. Thank you for sharing Bryanna’s recipe. The two of you have really inspired me, and I appreciate your work so much. Now off to eat some of that delicious guac-
AlixSeptember 24, 2018 at 9:39 am
Love this recipe, making my own salsa from the cookbook “ Straight Up Food”, , other than that this is going to be yummy! Thank you for mentioning other cookbooks, often difficult to find healthy recipes throughout the whole book.
Love your point of view 🤪