Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Avocado

Veggie BLTs (aka PLATs)


You guys. So good.


I’m super-excited, because, after a long dry spell with very little cooking inspiration, we have just started up with a new CSA. This is how I always used to cook — get the fresh, in-season, local veggies, and go from there. Waste not, want not (especially for dinner inspiration).

Then we had a new baby. And we decided to cancel our CSA for a bit, since we knew we wouldn’t be cooking that much for the early weeks, and well… we’ve been planning dinner in a less organic, more what-can-we-make-happen-in-the-next-few-minutes-before-meltdowns-occur sort of way for a while now. Yeah.

But we’re back in the groove! Last week was out first delivery from Farmhouse Delivery, which is kind of a local aggregate CSA for the Austin area. I love it already. In our first box, we got sweet corn on the cob, avocados, limes, giant slicing tomatoes and a beautiful head of butter lettuce, roots and all.


I also sprung for a weekly staples package, complete with organic, low-temp pasteurized milk from Mill King, fresh-baked multigrain bread and local free range eggs. Yes yes yes. Back.

We made a mixed grill with the corn and some tomatoes and peppers from our garden this weekend for dinner, served alongside a salad with red quinoa, feta, kalamata olives, red onions and some of that avocado, cubed. It was good stuff.

And, well, with such beautiful lettuce and tomatoes, I could think of only one thing: BLTs.

I am, of course, a vegetarian. But I live in a mixed household, and the omnivorous members of the family enjoy bacon. Naturally. Well, I remembered a staple from my childhood that I hadn’t had in a while — fried provolone. Yep, the cheese. If you fry deli slices of provolone on the stovetop, they bubble up, brown and become crispy, just like bacon, and they slide right out of the pan after you cool them slightly, with no need to add oil. Fried provolone is a fabulous substitute for bacon in a sandwich, and it did just the trick here. Plus I couldn’t resist adding some of that delicious avocado, because, let’s face it, just about everything is made better with a few slices of avocado. So, rather than a veggie BLT, perhaps we should call this sandwich a PLAT — provolone, lettuce, avocado and tomato.

I think sandwich recipes are kind of silly, since you basically just throw everything together according to your own taste, but here’s a good starting point for you, because this sandwich is just too delicious not to share!

Veggie BLTs (aka PLATs)
Recipe type: sandwich
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 slices sandwich bread (preferably freshly-made sourdough)
  • mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried with paper towels
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  1. Put a nonstick griddle or frying pan over medium high heat and add the cheese slices in a single layer. Allow to fry, turning the pan to ensure even heating as necessary, until bubbly and golden brown on bottom. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and then tear into strips or large pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the bread and slather one side with mayo. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover the bread with lettuce leaves, and layer the tomato slices on top, using as many of each as suits your taste. Top with the provolone, and add avocado slices.
  4. Assemble, cut in half and chow down!


Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Cracked Pepper and Parmesan

Spaghetti with cracked pepper and parmesan is one of my go-to weeknight meals when everything else falls through and I need to get dinner together in 20 minutes. I can throw it together with stuff I have on hand, and it’s always delicious.

pasta with cracked pepper

Make sure to use good-quality parmesan, since that’s where the flavor comes from. I like whole wheat pasta not only because of the nutritional content, but also because it has a heartier, nuttier flavor that holds its own in this dish. I served it the other night with a quick salad of wilted spinach, avocado and some balsamic vinaigrette.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Avocado and Balsamic Vinaigrette

And that was that! It was a delicious weeknight meal with a minimum of fuss. That’s just how I roll.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Cracked Pepper and Parmesan
Serves: 4
  • ½ lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. Toss the warm pasta with the parmesan, olive oil, a generous dose of pepper and salt and a splash of the pasta water.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more pasta water if needed. Serve and enjoy!


The hubby is usually in charge of guacamole around here. It’s just one of the things he always does, like man the grill or make the sandwiches. Last weekend, I had two avocados that were perfectly ripe but about to go downhill, so I decided to go rogue and make guacamole of my own while Nora and her daddy were out for a walk.

Nora has never been a giant fan of avocado (much to my chagrin), but she loves guacamole. She’ll eat it by the spoonful, even if it’s a little spicy. Gotta love that! Plus, my tummy was rumbling for an appetizer. So, I scooped out the avocados, mashed them up with a chopped tomato, minced serrano from our garden, a little garlic powder and salt, and a squeeze of lime.


Turns out I can be the guacamole chef, too! The hubby usually adds a little minced purple onion to his, too, but I forgot that part — oops! I don’t think he’ll be relinquishing his title anytime too soon.

Regardless, this is the best, freshest guacamole ever, and so simple to make. It really does make the perfect snack on a lazy summer afternoon… margaritas optional!


2 ripe avocados
1 small tomato, chopped
1 serrano pepper, minced
1/2 small purple onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)

Halve the avocados, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork, and mix in the tomato, serrano, onion, and garlic powder. Add the lime juice and salt to taste, along with the cilantro, if using. Adjust seasonings as needed, and serve with tortilla chips.

Black bean and cabbage tacos with avocado

Do you ever have one of those evenings when you really, really don’t want to cook? Well, I do. Even though I love cooking, sometimes the day-to-day drudgery gets to me, and I just have nothing left by the time dinner time rolls around.

It happened to me the other day. I had planned to make cabbage rolls for dinner, but, by the time the hubby made it home, I hadn’t even looked up recipes or come up with a solid plan. It just wasn’t gonna happen. I suggested takeout, but neither of us was really feeling it, so the hubby volunteered to throw something together. Instead of cabbage rolls, we ended up with black bean and cabbage tacos.

Taco night!

I thought the idea of a cabbage taco was kind of wacky, but once I started thinking of it like a fish-less fish taco, it made more sense. The spicy, tangy dressing and the creaminess of the avocado make the tacos delicious, and it’s a super-quick meal to throw together — even better if you can get someone else to do it!

We topped them with sour cream and some blender salsa leftover from the last time I made tacos,* and it made a nice, hearty meal. Better yet, it used up a head of cabbage and some carrots that had been languishing in the fridge. Win-win.

* I just strained out the extra moisture, canned it, and have been enjoying it ever since!

Black Bean and Cabbage Tacos with Avocado
Loosely based on this recipe

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
juice of one lime
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 small onion, chopped
1 head of cabbage, cored and shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
whole wheat tortillas
sour cream and salsa for topping

Place the black beans, avocados, lime juice, garlic, and onion in a medium bowl and toss. Add salt to taste. Place the shredded cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and serrano in another bowl. Add the oil and vinegar and salt to taste and toss to combine.

Build your tacos by adding a generous spoonful of the black bean mixture to a tortilla, then topping with the cabbage mixture. Top with sour cream and salsa, and enjoy!

Quinoa salad with edamame, ricotta salata, and avocado

I’m pretty bad at lunches. As much as I plan ahead for dinners, I just don’t for lunch. Half the time lunch ends up being leftovers, and the other half of the time, I am scrounging the fridge, freezer, and pantry for something acceptable to eat.

This weekend, I did a little better than usual, though. I threw together a delicious quinoa salad with edamame, avocado, and ricotta salata.

Let’s do lunch.

I am a huge fan of quinoa, so I always have it around. It only takes 10-15 minutes to cook, and then it can be tossed with a little dressing, add some veggies and/or some cheese, maybe some toasted nuts, and you’re good to go. I don’t know why I don’t think of this more often! Now I will.

This particular incarnation had ricotta salata (leftover from kale salad earlier in the week), frozen edamame from Nora’s stash, and a nice lemony dressing, with some sliced avocado served over the top for good measure. Hubby called it a “perfect lunch” — I’d say that equals success!

Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Ricotta Salata, and Avocado

1/2 cup dried quinoa
juice of one lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
2 oz ricotta salata (or other crumbly cheese, like feta), crumbled
1/2 package frozen edamame, cooked and shelled
1/2 avocado, sliced

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Rinse in a mesh colander with cool water and drain well (or just let it cool in the refrigerator, covered, if you are making it ahead). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Add the crumbled cheese and shelled edamame and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with the sliced avocado on top.

Wilted spinach salad with manchego and avocado

I was tired of always doing the same old thing with spinach. I usually use it as a cooking green, but I felt like something different this weekend. So, while I went out for an evening run on Brushy Creek Trail (which is beautiful, by the way), I asked the hubby to see if he could come up with a creative new use of the spinach we had just received from our new CSA.

He got creative, indeed, and the results were excellent. He simply wilted the chopped spinach in a little olive oil, and served it as a salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and topped with cubed manchego and avocado.

Well done, sir.

Served with a quick stovetop mac and cheese whipped up my your truly, this was a great side dish.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Manchego and Avocado

1 bunch spinach, coarse stems removed and chopped
2 oz manchego, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
balsamic vinegar to taste

Heat a dash of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and stir briefly, until just wilted. Divide between two plates.

Add half the manchego and half the avocado to each of the plates. Dress to taste with good-quality balsamic vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

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