Low(er) Fat Green Pea Guac
July 25, 2010

Lower fat green pea guac

So happy you all liked my new cauliflower rice recipe, and the idea of weekend lunches in general. I’m excited to share them from now on. I doubt I’ll always manage to remember to photograph them, but the tradition will be good motivation to cook up tasty meals.

A few days ago, I got the following email:

Hi Gena

I’m a loyal reader of your blog, but this is the first time I’ve ever contacted you. Your guacamole recipe changed my life last summer, and you even made me less afraid of fats. Until I started reading your blog, it was fat free everything! LOL.

I’ve managed to lose over twenty pounds by eating better, but I still have more to go. I was wondering if you might show your readers a lower-fat guacamole option? I’ve seen one at Whole Foods made with peas, but I don’t know how to get the portions right. I know you’re going to say that fats are good for us, and I agree, I promise! But for those of us who are seriously overweight, fats do still add up to lots of calories. I would love to enjoy your guacamole without worrying that I have to limit my portion.

Thanks for your amazing blog, and I hope this is something you will consider!

–Sarah in WI

Thanks for your note, Sarah! It got me thinking: I do spend plenty of time assuring my readers that fats can be friends, not foe, for good reason–not only do I believe that certain fats are wrongly vilified, but I also like to think I’m helping some readers who fear fats unnecessarily (such as women with body dysmorphia).

But my blog readers have varying needs. And I don’t ever want to exclude or forget some of you in an effort to be sensitive to others. I realize that many people who read my blog are struggling to lose weight–sometimes a lot of it. And it’s my duty to provide options for weight loss or maintenance, just as it’s my duty to encourage those who are gaining.

So, Sarah, today’s Sunday lunch was directly inspired by you. Readers, meet my shiny new guac recipe:


Green pea guacamole. Yes, it’s a direct spinoff of the Whole Foods stuff, and no, I don’t love it quite as much as my favorite guac, or even my green guac (which might also be seen as a lower-fat option). It does, though, offer a leaner nutritional profile than the regular recipe, and it also has a refreshingly different texture! Guac can be a bit too creamy: starch, not creaminess, is the defining characteristic of this version. The flavors, though, are vintage CR: sweet, savory, tart, and tasty. Here’s how it happens:

Lower-Fat Guacamole (serves 3-4)

1 cup green peas
1 large avocado
1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (mine were small, and I quartered them)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 heaping tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
Dash white pepper

Blanch peas in boiling water for about ninety seconds. Remove them and plunge into an ice bath. Drain them and put them into a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse until peas are quite mushy and broken down–almost a puree.

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh into the food processor. Give the whole mix–peas and avocado–a few pulses, until it’s all nice and mushy, but not quite without texture.


Remove the avocado and pea mix from the food processor into a mixing bowl, and add all remaining ingredients. Mix well. Check for seasoning, and adjust to taste.

I was in the mood for yet another memorable lunch, and so the question of how to serve my new favorite guac quickly arose. A brief glance in the fridge revealed some fresh, local arugula, basil, corn, and tomatoes. Arugula, I knew, would be my green base. As for the other ingredients, they morphed into this simple little salad:

Summer Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Dressing (serves 2)

For the salad:

2 ears worth of fresh corn kernels (raw)
15 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

For the dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar
10 basil leaves
Dash (each) salt and pepper

Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender till well and evenly mixed. Toss salad ingredients together, and top with two or three tablespoons of dressing. Serve immediately.


I served the guac and cherry tomato salad next to each other. They were harmonious neighbors.


And the meal was rounded out with some left over sweet ‘tater.


Yum. This was yet another wonderful weekend lunch. I wish they were always so good!

Hope you all try out the lower-fat guac soon. You could make it with beans, too (Mama Pea has one with white beans, and there are other versions with edamame), but I think the peas work particularly well because they’re so light. It really is a delicious twist on the tried and true, so thank you, Sarah, for asking.

What do you all think? Too many fats on my blog? Not enough? Am I striking up the right balance between calorically dense recipes and lighter recipes, or would you like to see more of one or the other?

xo

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    44 Comments
  1. Hi Gena, I just want to tell you that I tried your Green Pea Guac today. It’s so delicious! I had no idea that this combination would taste so great! I admit, I left out the bell pepper because I didn’t have any, but I don’t really like bell peppers in my guac anyway.
    As I’m trying to lose some weight at the moment, I prefer lower cal options. I know that good fats are important, but I still want to watch my daily calorie intake. So this guac version is JUST right for me right now. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I will surely make it again!

    Have a nice day!

  2. I might just have to try this recipe. I’ve had the Whole Foods version a few times, but I found that rather than effectively cutting calories or fat, I simply ate MORE of it than I would regular guacamole. Oh well–at least it’s a way to get me to eat my peas.

  3. I hadn’t noticed that your recipes are particularly calorically dense, but then again I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m surely not trying to gain, though, so I guess my MO where whole foods (such as those in your recipes) are concerned is to do my best to honor hunger signals and not worry about the nutrition stats, so long as they’re high quality in the first place.

    That said, I’m a pea fan so I’d be game for pea guac regardless of whether or not it’s lower fat. 🙂

  4. I was looking for a new guac recipe–THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    I am always trying to find the right balance between light and dense foods, so I say, keep doin what you’re doing, Gena. It’s great 😀

  5. I often make pea guac but this one looks yummy with the combos you’ve chosen. I do have to admit that one of my biggest hurdles with moving further into raw is the amount of fat used in recipes. Although I am well aware of the benefits of good fat and consider myself fairly educated in nutrition, I still battle with consuming so much of it in so many recipes. People respond differently to macros and I personally have a hard time ‘maintaining’ with high fat (unfortunately) so I would love to see more recipes focusing on just veggies with a bit of grain. But that’s just me 🙂

  6. The best raw recipes I have seen from you or elsewhere are fatty. That’s because there’s so many cool things you can do with sunflower seeds and nuts and all that jazz to make them taste like something completely different. If I want something low-cal and raw, that’s when I’d just eat the veggie straight. I think fatty raw ecipes are the best kind.

  7. That looks really goood!

    I think you have a good amount of fat on your blog. I’m a big fan of fat. I’m sitting here right now eating some rosemary bread with seasoned olive oil.

    And I would like a few more calorie dense recipes. I occasionally decide to be a raw foodist for a day, and I tend to need more calories than your recipes usually have. I have a very fast metabolism and eat a LOT.

  8. Yum! Like you, I’m more drawn to the good fatty stuff, but I’m not trying to lose weight or anything. I can see where people who are trying to lose could use some lower-fat options, if if the alternative is good fat. This still has avocado so still some yummy good fats!

  9. Adding peas to guacamole is a really good idea. I eat healthy fats in moderation (only because I have to…otherwise I think I’d practically live on them) 😉 I’m going to use this idea to stretch my guac and make me feel better. =)

  10. This guac recipe looks divine! I have a bag of avocados just waiting to be used up and this looks like the perfect way to do it! I think your blog has a great balance of healthy fat-rich and lighter recipes! Keep it coming, please!

  11. Can’t wait to make this! Lucky for me, I have a big ol kitchen to work in for the next 6 weeks. While I’ll miss NYC, I won’t miss my NYC sized kitchen!

    I think it’s great that you are further catering to the different bodies of your readers. While I don’t have to be too mindful of higher fat foods, my former roommate (who is a vegan) gains weight immediately when she eats too much fat even though it comes from entirely plant-based sources. I’m sure your readership will greatly appreciate having optional modifications.

  12. Hey Gena,
    Great post, great recipe. Your question is very sweet of you, too! But it has made me wonder. One of the main focuses of your blog, at least from my observation, is to educate readers in your lifestyle choices which include a high-raw vegan diet and your love for healthy fats. With that in mind, I find myself curious to understand why you may feel it is necessary for you to re-evaluate the sort of recipes you do post on here and if they should include some “lighter” or “lower fat” versions.
    I guess what I’m asking, in a roundabout sort of way, is: does this recipe still apply to you and your beliefs, or have you only created it in answer to a question from a loyal reader? I don’t mean to ask this in a rude or disrespectful manner, only out of sheer curiosity 🙂

    • Jessica,

      All recipes on my blog reflect accurately what I eat, and in that sense they all are examples of things I think are healthy for anyone. However, I think that what’s approrpiate for a person to eat day in and day out varies with the person. Higher fat recipes often work within the general canvas of what I eat because a) I don’t get fats from animal foods, thus seek them out in good portions elsewhere, and b) I am not actively trying to lose weight, and c) I digest them well.

      But I also realize that some of the people who read my blog have different sorts of caloric needs, which means a different approach to higher fat foods. A woman maintaining weight will have different sorts of caloric needs than a woman trying to lose or gain. Specifically, a woman who needs to lose a lot of weight would probably want to eat a more moderate portion of some of the higher fat recipes that I can eat on a regular basis without concern, mostly because they can make calories accumulate very quickly! (Obviously, this will also depend on what else she’s eating throughout the day.)

      Make sense?

      G

  13. girl!!!! so much goodness in this post…i can’t wait to make both recipes!!! thanks so much for being the brilliant GENA that you are!!!

    <3

  14. I really enjoy the balance of foods on your blog!! I’m 90% vegan (I eat dairy/eggs occasionally when I’m eating out), and a lot of vegan protein sources are dense and fat-heavy. I love that you focus so much more on the quality of the ingredients, rather than the calories or fats! Keep up the great work!

  15. Personally when eating raw I think its pretty easy to eat “light,” so I prefer the more calorically dense recipes. That said, I definately appreciate recipes like this too…it’s a great excuse to eat the entire bowl of guacamole bwhahahaha!

  16. Hi Gena!

    I love your current eclectic mix – your intuition is spot-on. You are so sweet to ask – and to listen to – your readers.

    Best,
    Karen

  17. I have to admit that I am a guac purist… I’ve made white bean guac before and Mike and I couldn’t even finish it, we just love the real thing! But I love the idea that you can make substitutions when necessary… if only everything tasted as delicious as avocados 🙂

  18. I fold peas into my guac sometimes. I don’t even cook them, just let frozen peas warm up to room temp and fold into fork-mashed avocados. See, I am all about dirtying the least amt of dishes possible and if that means no Vita, no bowl to blanch them in, etc..I am so there 🙂 I like making my guac w/ tons of veggies for extra crunch and filling-ness.

    Regarding fats…I am so sick of how we as bloggers need to remind readers that “fats are our friends”. Doesn’t everyone know this already? Perhaps not.

    However, is it our job to give fats good press? Is it our job to cater to all the segments of our readership’s dietary paths?

    We can of course just post what we want, but there’s always that nagging voice that tells me I need to “qualify” or disclaimer myself when I post certain things. Not sure what the answers are, just talking out loud. It’s interesting how we as bloggers feel a “duty” or an obligation to make sure all our segments of our readership is “covered”…this is an exhausting role for sure!

    Ok it’s 1am and time to unplug my friend..great recipe, and have a great week! 🙂

  19. I JUST made this last week! I was planning on posting about it on Tuesday. My recipe is a little different than yours though. I actually was skeptical that I’d like it, but I loved the creaminess the peas gave it.

  20. I love pea-guac. Peas are so sweet that it eliminates the need for stevia.

    I personally love your recipes as is. It reminds me not to get caught up on fat grams, calories, etc. and just eat pure, clean, raw, gorgeous food.

    But I’ll love the low-fat options too 😉

  21. Since you asked, I think a few more light recipes would be nice. I love the healthy fat ones, and I really respect that you have championed that, in a way. For those who have weight to lose, and for myself, who has to eat many small meals throughout the day, some lighter options would be fun. That said, I know it’s not your responsibility to plan my diet for me! 🙂

  22. This is a great idea! I think you strike a good balance of dense and lighter. It’s really nice when you can suggest modifications, though- options to make something lighter.

  23. Thanks for adding a lighter fat guac! I’m trying to add lots more raw to my diet…but it often seems like it contains so many nuts and avocados!! Which is great……to some degree…but like Sarah, some of us want to lose weight and can only eat a certain amount of fats 🙂

    Thanks again for being catering to us!

  24. Nice! One benefit of a lower fat recipe is if you want to include other fats in the meal. I love creamy guac, but I also love nutty crunch. So I like adding both guac and nuts to, say, a salad, but the fat starts getting a wee bit out there.

    Ok, here’s something I’ve been wondering for AGES. Is there any way to lighten up a nut pâté? I love them to pieces. But some of these pates I’ve seen call for so many nuts, and some add in oils too. Not only is it expensive, but it starts to get really dense. I like to put pâtés on sprouted bread with sliced veggies, and two slices of that paired with a nice amount of pâté starts to get kind of heavy in my stomach.

  25. Thank you Gena for this recipe. I still have plenty of weight to loose and while I’ve become much more willing to eat good fats as a result of your blog, I really appreciate that you acknowledge the diversity in your readers. I so identify with Sarah. Life is all about a healthy balance so thank you for providing that in this recipe!

  26. I used to fear fats too but then I realized that I was a product of being brainwashed into thinking they were going to make me gain weight. Since I’ve added proper fat back into my life my hair and skin look so much better and I haven’t gained an ounce.

    So anyway, no, I don’t think your recipes are too calorically dense! Sorry it took me so long to get to the point. 🙂