You could say guacamole is like mashed up avocado salad, but that doesn’t make it a legitimate lunch. So here’s the next best thing, which won’t leave you snacky at 3 PM and can keep in the fridge for up to a few days. This spoonable (or chippable) salad gets its kick from a trick we learned from Roberto Santibañez’ genius guacamole: You mash jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and salt into a paste that then coats all the other ingredient chunks. Here, that’s two kinds of legumes and cheddar cheese (here, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese), which means lots of protein. Then for crunch, there’s raw cauliflower that’s turned into confetti (or “rice,” as it’s better known) after some time in the food processor. If you’ve made the salad in advance (which is recommended here), revive it with a little more lime, olive oil, and salt before eating. Oh sure, add avocado, too—why not? —Ali Slagle
(15-ounce) can cannellini, pinto, or black beans, drained and rinsed
chopped red onion
a medium jalapeño, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
sharp cheddar, cut into itty bitty cubes
lime, plus more as needed
olive oil, plus more as needed
In This Recipe
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water with the lentils to a boil, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
Meanwhile, break the cauliflower up into florets. Place them in a food processor and process until the cauliflower resembles rice (for those who want to buy the cauliflower already riced, you’ll need about 3 cups). Dump into a large mixing bowl along with the beans.
Now make the paste: On a cutting board, mince and mash the red onion, jalapeño, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, and ½ teaspoon salt; smash into a paste with the side of your chef’s knife.
Once cool, dump the lentils into the mixing bowl, along with the cheese and the paste. Squeeze the lime over, drizzle with oil, and stir. Taste and adjust lime, oil, salt, and pepper as needed. Add the remaining 1/4 cilantro, cube the avocado and throw it in, give one more stir, then eat!