The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 9

The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare … neither knew chocolate. ~ Sandra Boynton

Happy National Chocolate Milkshake Day! There’s nothing to be feeling tragic about today. Gave up dairy and refined sugar? That’s OK. You’ll never miss them with this creamy, dreamy Chocolate Date Shake.

I’ve given the classic California Date Shake a healthy (and chocolatey!) makeover. Made of whole foods, it’s vegan, raw, and free from refined sugar. Of course it’s naturally gluten-, soy- and nut-free as well.

Blended hemp seeds take the place of milk, frozen bananas, the ice cream, raw cacao powder to make it chocolatey, and dates, of course, for a touch of California sweetness.

Dates are an ideal whole food sweetener. They’re a good source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins.You can soak and blend dates to make a creamy date butter, or buy date sugar, which is actually ground dehydrated dates: a whole food, not a processed sugar. You may have to experiment a bit to successfully substitute date butter or date sugar in your favorite recipes, but that’s part of the fun!

I like to use Deglet Noor dates in my recipes. They’re not too sweet and have a delicate flavor. You can substitute your favorite dates or whichever variety you happen to have on hand. Many people use Medjool dates which are sweet and moist. Barhi dates can be hard to find. If you get the chance, give them a try. They’re soft and sweet, my favorite date for simply eating.

Chocolate Date Shake

Yield: 1 serving

Calories per serving: 414

Fat per serving: 15 g

Chocolate Date Shake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ice cold, filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons shelled hemp seed
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (regular cocoa powder works, too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 1 large banana (about 1 cup) sliced and frozen

Instructions

  1. Put the ingredients into a high-speed blender like BlendTec or Vitamix in the order listed. For a thicker, frostier shake substitute ice cubes or crushed ice for some of the water.
  2. (If you have a regular blender, do chop the dates first. Blend the hemp seeds, cacao powder, and vanilla into a smooth hemp milk before adding and blending the remaining ingredients.)
  3. For a BlendTec, press the 'Smoothie' button. For other blenders, blend just until ingredients are mixed together smoothly and the dates are in little pieces.
http://www.laurawestkong.com/gff/2012/12-chocolate-days-09/

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

(This recipe was shared at: Fat Tuesday, Raw Foods Thursday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Healthy Vegan Friday)

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 8

There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. 
~ Linda Grayson, “The Pickwick Papers”

Seeing how Day 4′s Brownie Coco-Roons were so fabulously delicious, I decided to give another gluten-free, raw, vegan chocolate cookie a try.

Freeland Foods’ Go Raw Chocolate Super Cookies

Freeland Foods’ Go Raw Chocolate Super Cookies redefine the word ‘cookie’. They’re certified gluten-free and organic. They’re also kosher and free from grains, refined sugar and agave, nuts, and GMOs.

So what is in these super cookies? Organic Coconut (Unsulphered), Sprouted Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Dates, Organic Cacao.

Sprouting the seeds and gently drying the cookies at temperatures under 105°F boosts nutrition and digestibility.

Trying the Chocolate Super Cookie on for size

And their taste? Don’t let these little cookies’ strange appearance fool you. They pack a super chocolatey-sesame punch. They’ve got a fabulous crunch and remind me of Chinese sesame brittle candy. Except without the tooth-breaking hard sugar.

Since the dates come in third place out of four ingredients, these cookies are not overly sweet. In fact they’re just right for me.

I love that besides being super healthy, super crunchy, and super delish, these cookies are also super portable. I take them with me on my long training runs and carry them in my purse when simply running errands. They’re not going to melt or easily get crushed. Because they’re packed with nutrition, they don’t just satisfy cravings or fill your stomach, they also nourish you and help you get through the day.

A 3 ounce bag of Go Raw Chocolate Super Cookies (that’s 3 generous 18-cookie servings) is $5.49. Other Super Cookie flavors include: Lemon, Masala Chai, Carrot Cake, Ginger Snaps, Spirulina, Pumpkin, and Original. There’re so many to choose from! I think I’d like to try Masala Chai next. What about you?

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 7

Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can’t remember what they are. ~ Matt Lauer

Today’s chocolate is found in an unusual place. No, it’s not in marijuana. It’s in your morning (or afternoon) cuppa tea. And the reaction this tea produces in your brain is pure bliss.

Numi Tea‘s Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea combines black and rooibos teas with cocoa and spices to create a cup of contentment.

Pu-erh tea comes from 500 year-old organic wild tea trees in Yunnan, China. A special processing method gives Pu-erh tea its unique taste. Rooibos is a South African herbal tea. Both are reported to have numerous health benefits.

Numi Tea contains only real ingredients for a fresh, pure taste. No natural or artificial flavorings. Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea is gluten-free and contains: Organic Black Pu-Erh Tea, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Vanilla Beans, Organic Rooibos, Organic Cinnamon, Orgnic Orange Peel, Organic Nutmeg.

It’s packaged in biodegradable filter-paper tea bags, not plastic “silky” bags or GMO cornstarch bags. Did you know that tea bags could actually be made from GMO corn? Wow! GMOs can be hidden just about anywhere. Scary! Luckily, Numi Tea teas are 100% organic and 100% GMO-free.

Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea has a pleasant, nutty taste with notes of chocolate and vanilla. It’s smooth and rich enough to be a suitable replacement for a mild coffee addiction, but not for a triple-espresso habit. If you’re craving a creamy, very chocolatey hot chocolate, this is not your drink. But if you’re looking for a pleasant morning or afternoon pick-me-up without the sudden jolt and jitteriness you get fom coffee, then this subtle hint of chocolate is just your cuppa tea.

My favorite way to drink Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea is with a tablespoon of coconut cream swirled in. Vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel are sweet seasonings, so if your taste buds are accustomed to less-sweet flavor like mine are, this tea should be perfect the way it is. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, add a touch of your favorite sweetener.

If you brew your tea just right, it won’t be too weak or overly bitter. Here are some tips to make the perfect cuppa:

  • Use 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of water per tea bag. If you fill an American-style coffee mug to the brim with hot water, your tea is going to be too weak. If you want a bigger cuppa tea, add more than one tea bag.

    Note the difference between the 6 ounce Japanese tea cup on the left and the 10 ounce American coffee cup on the right.

  • Use filtered water for the best taste. Contaminants can and do affect the flavor of tea for the worse.
  • Use the right temperature water. Water for black tea should usually be boiling. Water for green tea should be a touch cooler than boiling. If in doubt, follow the package directions.
  • Steep the tea bag for the right length of time, usually 3-5 minutes, but check the package directions to be sure. Green tea sometimes requires a shorter time. But when you leave the tea bag in too long, excess tannins may be released into the water, which will make your tea taste bitter. If you want stronger tea, add an extra tea bag.

Numi Tea Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea sells for $8.99 a box of 16 tea bags. Other flavors of pu-erh tea include Basil-Mint, Cardamom, Coconut, Emperor’s, Ginger, Jasmine, Magnolia, and Mint.

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

Find out more about my Cuppa quilt.

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 6

Save the earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate.
~ anonymous

Thanks to Endangered Species Chocolate, we can now eat chocolate and save the earth at the same time. Endangered Species Chocolate is not only Rainforest Alliance certified, they also donate 10% of their net profits to help support species, habitat, and humanity in the rainforest. Sweet!

Endangered Species’ Organic Health dark chocolate bars have special healthy, exotic ingredients and are certified gluten-free, organic, GMO-free, vegan, and kosher. So you can indulge worry-free. :)

The experience begins before you even open the package. The front of the label features a photo of an at-risk rainforest species and the back contains a mini conservation newsletter telling about the featured animal, special ingredients in the chocolate bar, and conservation tips.

Nice touch for ex-breakfast cereal eaters like me, who used to like reading the back of the cereal box while munching on a bowl of granola. And in case you’re wondering …
why yes, I did enjoy a few squares this morning for breakfast.

Organic Health 70% Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, Yacon & Açai features the red-eyed tree frog. This is a smooth and creamy, mild-tasting dark chocolate bar with hints of fruitiness from the yacon and açai, a touch of vanilla, and just the right amount of crunch from finely ground cacao nibs. If large chunks of cacao nibs are too much for you, you just might learn to appreciate cacao nibs in this bar.

The complete ingredient list includes: Organic Dark Chocolate (*Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, *Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Yacon Syrup, Organic Freeze Dried Açai Powder. Allergens: Contains soy. Produced on equipment that also processes product containing milk, peanuts and tree nuts. *Cocoa comes from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.

Other Endangered Species Chocolate: Organic Health flavors include Goji Berry, Pecans & Maca and Golden Berry & Lucuma. They sell for $3.89 a 3-ounce bar.

Click here to learn more about my tree frog quilt

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 5

I could give up chocolate, but I’m not a quitter. ~anonymous

Sacha Inchi seeds are a Peruvian food from the Amazon rainforest. Roasted and coated in 70% cacao dark chocolate, they become Vega Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds. They’re a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and a complete vegan protein.

SaviSeeds taste like a cross between a peanut and a soy nut. At first, I didn’t like them at all. Maybe I was expecting Peanut M&Ms or chocolate-covered almonds. Plus, I was never a fan of soy nuts.

But I had a 5-ounce bag to finish, so several days later I tried them again. And surprise, the SaviSeeds grew on me! I was really enjoying them by the time the bag was finished. They’re not too sweet, and the melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate contrasts nicely with the crunchy SaviSeed. Underneath the chocolate, the SaviSeed has a sweet, crunchy layer that reminds me a little of the M&Ms’ candy shell.

The ingredients for Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds are: Sacha Inchi Seeds, Organic Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa (Cocoa Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder), Organic Cane Sugar. They’re made in a facility that processes wheat, soy, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts, so beware if you need to avoid any chance of cross-contamination. SaviSeeds also come in Oh Natural and Karmalized flavors.

At $9.99 for a 5-ounce bag (5 servings), Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds are a bit on the pricey side, but add them to some raisins, pumpkin seeds, and your favorite nuts, and you’d have a great homemade trail mix.

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free] Chocolate: Day 4

What use are cartridges in battle?
I always carry chocolate instead.

~ George Bernard Shaw

Of course, if your chocolate “cartridges” are anything like Wonderfully Raw Gourmet Delights’ Brownie Coco-Roons, then you’re going to have a hard time keeping yourself supplied. As evidenced by my empty bag at right, and the empty shelves at my local health food store, who just happens to be currently having a fantastic sale on Coco-Roons.

I’ve eaten gluten-free, refined sugar-free vegan cookies that taste, quite frankly, like chocolate styrofoam. I’m sure you have, too.

Brownie Coco-Roons however, are simply a fabulous tasting cookie of any kind, gluten-free, sugar-free, or otherwise.

They have just the right amount of chocolate, just the right amount of coconut, and just the right amount of sweet–from unfiltered maple syrup. The maple also brings a nice complexity that you don’t get with white sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, not to mention a touch of minerals too. If you like coconut and chocolate, you’ll LOVE these Coco-Roons.

Coco-Roons are certified gluten-free, organic, vegan, and kosher. And they’re made in a facility free of wheat, soy, dairy, and grains. The complete ingredient list for the Brownie flavor includes: Raw Unsweetened Coconut, Raw Almond Flour**, Raw Cacao, Unfiltered Maple Syrup*, Raw Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil, Vanilla Extract, Himalayan Crystal Salt.

*Not Raw
**CA almonds by law have to be pasteurized, however, the oils within remain raw.

Other Coco-Roon flavors include Apple Pie, Lemon Pie, Almond & Strawberry “PB & J”, Vanilla Maple, and Cacao Nib. 

A 6-ounce bag of Coco-Roons with 8 cookies sells for $8.99. You might want to carry two bags. Better to be safe than sorry.

Next I want to try the Lemon Pie Coco-Roon. Which flavor would you most like to try?

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 3

Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.

“Would you like one?” she asked the little dog.

“Yes, please,” whispered the dog. “Only not toffee ones. They make me drool.”

“I thought chocolates weren’t very good for dogs,” she said, remembering something Miss Forcible had once told her.

“Maybe where you come from,” whispered the little dog. “Here, it’s all we eat.”
~ Neil Gaiman, Coraline

If you suffer from food allergies or intolerances, unfortunately chocolates can often be one of those “not very good for you” kinds of foods.

Enjoy Life foods changes all that. Eat Freely is their motto.

boom CHOCO boom Dark Chocolate Bars are certified gluten-free. Made in a dedicated nut-and gluten-free facility, they are also vegan and free from dairy, nut, and soy. With no artificial anything. Their ingredient list reads: Natural Chocolate Liquor (non-alcoholic), Evaporated Cane Juice, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter. What’s more, I’m thrilled to tell you that Enjoy Life products are now certified GMO-free as well.

boom CHOCO boom Dark Chocolate Bar is a semi-sweet chocolate. I’d put it at right around 60% cacao. So it’s definitely sweeter than my usual. Still, a fine tasting bar of chocolate nonetheless. Makes me think of chocolate chunk macadamia nut cookies or fresh s’mores around a campfire.

You can also find boom CHOCO boom bars in Ricemilk Crunch and Ricemilk Chocolate flavors for a dairy-free milk chocolate treat. boom CHOCO boom sells for $1.99 a 1.12 ounce bar. Enjoy Life also makes Mini Chips and Mega Chunks for baking, as well as many other allergy-friendly foods. Visit the Enjoy Life website for more information, recipes, and printable coupons.

P.S. If you’ve got s’mores on the brain, here’s a recipe from Enjoy Life: Frozen S’More Cookie Sandwich. Enjoy!

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 2

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. ~ Charles M. Schultz

Here’s a chocolate treat to love: Gopal’s Raw Alchemy Cherry Brownies.

It’s not intensely chocolaty and doesn’t really taste like a brownie, but it is a delicious, nutritious, and satisfying whole foods energy bar.

Organic, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free.

If you’ve tasted a Larabar, you have an idea of what this brownie is like. Except better. One thing I don’t particularly care for in Larabars is the way that all the nuts and fruit are all ground up into a single texture: not really crunchy and not really chewy. I especially like the contrasting texture that you get from the large pieces of walnuts and the chewy fruit in Gopal’s raw brownies.

These are also not as sweet as a Larabar. Walnuts are the first ingredient here, rather than dates. Sometimes the dates can overwhelm your taste buds in a Larabar. After all, although dates are a whole food, they are a seriously sweet food. I know, I sweeten many of my own recipes with dates. A little goes a long way.

The third thing I like about Gopal’s brownies and energy bars is the fact that they are not a part of General Mills. If you have been following the food fight over Proposition 37 in California, you probably know that General Mills and other mega food and biotech corporations are fighting against labeling GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the foods we eat. (Visit the California Right to Know website to learn more.) Larabar is a part of General Mills, whom I choose not to support with my purchases because they are against Prop 37.

Gopal’s Health Foods has their own small manufacturing plant in Texas that produces a variety of organic raw health foods. Many of their products even use sprouted and germinated nuts and seeds. I inquired about cross-contamination and found out that Gopal’s does not process any gluten ingredients in their facility. They make one product that does contain oats. Many of Gopal’s customers are gluten-sensitive, so this is an issue they take seriously.

Gopal’s Cherry Brownies contain: Organic Walnuts, Organic Dates, Organic Cacao, Organic Cherries, Organic Carob Powder, and Organic Orange Peel. (May contain nut shells.) A 2 ounce brownie bar sells for $2.89 online and in health food stores.

Other flavors of Gopal’s energy bars include: Original Brownie, Sesame-Mango Rawma Bar, Walnut-Fig Rawma Bar, Apple-Delicious Rawma Bar, Pumpkin-Date Rawma Bar, Pineapple-Nut Rawma Bar, and Carob-Quinoa Rawma Bar. Which one would you like to try?

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1

I never met a chocolate I didn’t like. ~ Deanna Troi, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Happy World Chocolate Day! And welcome to the first day of The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate. Unlike Counselor Troi, I’ve met many a chocolate I didn’t like. But we’re not here to gripe about bad chocolate, we’re here to celebrate the good stuff!

I have no intergalactic chocolates to share, so let’s start with one of my most recent delish international chocolate discoveries: Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate: A traditional Mexican-style chocolate stone milled in small batches. Quite a mouthful, both literally and figuratively.

Fortunately the ingredient list is anything but a mouthful. Two ingredients: Organic Cocoa Nibs, Organic Cane Sugar. That’s it. Count ‘em. One. Two. No gluten-filled vanilla flavoring. No GMO soy lecithin. No dairy to muddy up the pure chocolatey goodness. (may contain traces of tree nuts) $3.99 for a 2.6 ounce package with 2 chocolate disks.

This chocolate is not for creamy milk chocolate lovers. Is it just my imagination that it seems more chocolatey than other 70% and higher chocolate bars? Not at all. Cacao percentages indicate the total ingredients by weight that are cocoa-derived: cocoa mass plus additional cocoa butter. Extra cocoa butter makes a milder tasting and creamier dark chocolate. With no additional cocoa butter, this stone ground chocolate packs a chocolatey punch.

Bold chocolate taste with a satisfying crunch. If you like cacao nibs, you’ll love this. Little bits of cacao nibs and sugar crystals create an irresistible crunchy texture. Definitely not melt-in-your-mouth. Molded into round chocolate disks, this is what Oreo Cookies want to be when they grow up.

TJ’s organic stone ground chocolate also comes in a Salt and Pepper Dark Chocolate flavor.

I emailed Trader Joe’s for specific information on chocolate manufacturing facilities and gluten, but they essentially told me to read the labels carefully for myself. Good advice, but not exactly the answer I was looking for.

Trader Joe’s labels indicate when natural flavors contain gluten or other allergens, and when there is a possibility of cross-contamination. According to TJ’s, their suppliers also follow “Good Manufacturing Practices” to minimize risk of cross-contamination. (Click here for TJ’s FAQs page where you can read their allergen policy in its entirety. Click here for TJ’s No Gluten Ingredients Used list, which is a sampling of products made without gluten, not a comprehensive list) Since Trader Joe’s private label products are all GMO-free, that’s one less thing I have to check for.

So far, I’ve never had an adverse reaction to any of Trader Joe’s chocolate. And believe me, I’ve eaten my share of TJ’s chocolate. However, your results may vary. Only you and your health care provider can decide what an acceptable risk in your situation is.

What I actually wanted to hear from Trader Joe’s was more along the lines of what Taza Chocolate (a Massachusetts maker of artisan Mexican-style chocolate) has to say:

Taza Chocolate is completely vegan friendly. It contains no dairy, lactose, soy, soy lecithin, wheat, or gluten. Taza chocolate poses no risk to sufferers of lactose intolerance, soy allergy, or Celiac disease. Our chocolate contains many of the vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health, including iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and the vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E. And chocolate has more magnesium than any other food.

Way to go Taza! If you’re wondering how Taza dares to make this guarantee, visit their factory and see for yourself how the chocolate goes from bean to bar in handmade small batches, right there in Massachusetts. Hmm…Massachusetts and chocolate in autumn. Sounds like a perfect trip to me!

You can even learn about how your particular Taza bar was made by entering the batch number on Taza’s website. Find out the particular farm that grew the cocoa, where the sugar and other ingredients came from, the temperature and length of time the beans were roasted, and even the names of the people who made that batch of chocolate.

Taza might possibly be the manufacturer of Trader Joe’s stone ground chocolate. TJ’s doesn’t disclose who makes their private label products, so we’ll probably never know for sure. If you’re looking for a gluten-free guarantee on your Mexican-style chocolate, stick to Taza. You can buy Taza organic Mexican-style chocolate disks in 2.7 ounce packages online for $4.50.

I haven’t seen Taza Chocolates locally yet, but I’m going on a quest to find them. … Or buy them online when the weather cools down. I’ve got my sights set on Taza’s 70% Dark Organic Orange Chocolate Mexicano flavor.

For those of you who prefer a milder dark chocolate bar, let’s make our way across the Atlantic to Belgium for Trader Joe’s Fair Trade Organic 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar: Intense full bodied dark chocolate made from fairly traded cocoa beans.

Three ingredients: Organic Cocoa Mass, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter. (may contain traces of milk, peanuts, tree nuts and soy) Great dark chocolate taste that melts in your mouth for just $1.99 a 3.5 oz bar.

Join us tomorrow for a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free chocolatey treat!

What kind of chocolate do you like? Do you personally trust and eat products with allergen warnings?

The 12 Days of {gluten-free} Chocolate: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12

Guacamole Fresco

Guacamole. Two words: Love it!

You had me at avocado. However, if any of you need more convincing, how about cool, refreshing, and bursting with fresh farmer’s market goodness!

In this easy-peazy guacamole recipe, you don’t even have to mash the avocado. Just chop and stir. Not too much stirring, or you’ll end up mashing the avocados in spite of yourself.

To ensure a wonderful chunky texture, make sure one of your avocados is firm ripe. Not rock hard though. Rock hard avocados are definitely NOT delicious. Trust me on this. (View the California Avocado Commission’s Hass Avocado Stages of Ripeness guide.)

I created this chunky Guacamole Fresco for this month’s Gluten-Free Whole Foods Vegan Cooking Class. We served it on Roost Blog’s Raw Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream.

We used butter lettuce for the tacos instead of cabbage, but any sturdy leafy green will do. Use your favorite or whichever one is freshest! A perfect combination for those lazy late summer days when it’s too hot to cook.

Also featured at August’s cooking class was Jan’s delicious Black Bean Quinoa Salad. (stay tuned, recipe coming soon!)

Guacamole Fresco

Guacamole Fresco

Ingredients

  • 2-3 avocados, diced 1/2 inch (2 cups)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced (1/2-3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced (2 tablespoons)
  • a sprinkling of lime zest, optional
  • Coarsely ground Himalayan or sea salt

Instructions

  1. Prep all ingredients as indicated.
  2. Place all the ingredients except salt and optional lime zest in a bowl. Stir gently to combine. Stir less for a very chunky guacamole. Stir more to make it smoother.
  3. Add salt to taste and lime zest if desired.
  4. Enjoy!
http://www.laurawestkong.com/gff/2012/guacamole-fresco/

P.S. If you love avocados as much as I do, you’ll be thrilled to know that this guacamole can shine all on it’s own as a wonderful avocado salad. No chips or tacos required.

(This recipe was shared at: Gluten Free Friday)