We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: For all of you who have been tempted to make guacamole into a meal, here's how.
Guacamole is too often pigeon-holed as just an appetizer or a bar snack. But let's start thinking outside of the box, shall we? Because the only thing better than eating fresh guacamole with a basket of tortilla chips is eating it for dinner, scooped up with crispy quesadillas topped with runny eggs.
This menu has all of the components you need for a balanced vegetarian meal: eggs for protein, sweet potatoes and tortillas for starch, and cilantro for green vegetables (yes, it definitely counts). The only thing that would take this meal to the next level? A pitcher of margaritas, of course.
1 bunch cilantro
1 white onion
1 serrano or jalapeño chile
2 small sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon lime juice
8 small tortillas
1 large or 2 small ripe Hass avocados
Your kitchen is probably equipped with olive oil, cumin seeds, paprika, salt, pepper, and eggs. If not, add those to your list, as well.
1. Prepare your ingredients. Start by chopping 3/4 cup of cilantro. Set aside, then finely chop the white onion so that you have 2 tablespoons. Mince the chile, seeds included, and reserve 1 tablespoon. Peel and thinly slice the sweet potatoes.
2. Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and cook until toasted, about 1 minute. Pour cumin oil into a small bowl and reserve.
3. When the potatoes are tender, toss with paprika and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 tortillas and top with a couple tablespoons of cilantro and the remaining tortillas. Set aside.
4. Make the guacamole by mashing the onion, chile, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt) in a mortar and pestle. (You can also mince and mash the ingredients on a cutting board using a large knife.)
5. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Halve and pit the avocados, then crosshatch the flesh (leaving the skin intact) and scoop out into the bowl. Toss well, add 2 more tablespoons of cilantro, and mash very coarsely. Season to taste with lime juice and additional chile and salt.
6. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook the quesadillas until slightly charred on both sides. Then, fry 4 eggs until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
7. Serve each quesadilla topped with a fried egg, drizzled with cumin oil, and accompanied by a generous serving of guacamole.
Photos by Caroline Wright and James Ransom