I consider myself a bit of a guacamole connoisseur. I’ve tried everything from the commercial brands in the supermarket to those freshly prepared at tableside in high end Mexican restaurants. Some guacamole recipes are as simple as mashed avocadoes with a little lime and salt, while others typically add chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, etc. My favorite quick recipe came from a native Texan who told me to simply mix some fresh salsa into mashed avocado.
All of these recipes have one thing in common. They start with avocado. In fact, there are some people who believe it’s a travesty to suggest that guacamole could be made with anything but. In 2015 the New York Times published a guacamole recipe that replaced just a portion of the avocadoes with green peas and it set off a war on Twitter. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since!
Regardless of your feelings about guacamole there are disadvantages to avocadoes. Some people just don’t like them (I know, really?). Avocadoes can also be expensive, they are high in calories, and sometimes the fickle things can go from rock to overripe in a matter of hours.
Therefore I give you this recipe that substitutes green peas for the avocado entirely. The peas offer solid advantages. Frozen peas are readily available, can be kept for a long time, and they are very inexpensive, not to mention much lighter in calories than avocado.
I have christened this recipe “Mock Guac” so as not to offend any guacamole snobs but if there are any out there you might be surprised to find out how much you enjoy this lighter, fresher preparation. Here’s how I made it.
This recipe starts with frozen peas. Most frozen vegetables are blanched before freezing so they can be eaten without any additional cooking. I use thawed frozen peas and corn in salads and other recipes frequently. It only take a minute or two of rinsing under cold water to get them ready.
Once the peas are thawed you can prepare your jalapeno and onion. Slice off the stem end of the jalapeno, cut it into quarters lengthwise, and use your knife to separate the white pith and seeds. Cut each quarter into very thin strips and mince. Beware the size of jalapeno you use. It can make a big difference in the heat level in your recipe. I’ve seen some giant ones in the grocery store lately. I used one that was on the smaller side.
If you’ve never handled raw jalapenos I will warn you that you must wash your hands thoroughly afterward! Even then be careful of touching any sensitive body parts. I once took my contacts out not long after dicing jalapenos and even though I had washed my hands it was painful!
I know that there are cilantro haters out there. Since this is not a traditional recipe I think you could try parsley or mint instead. Both would go well with the peas. I do think lemon makes a better match with the peas than lime would. Using both lemon zest and lemon juice gives a nice citrusy pop and one fresh lemon gives just enough zest and juice for this recipe. Just be sure to zest the lemon before slicing.
Now all the hard work is done. Everything goes in the food processor at once. Use the pulse feature to blend the mixture until you get to the right guacamole consistency. I didn’t want any whole peas to be visible and that took at least 10-12 pulses.
I served my Mock Guac with homemade tortilla chips. Just cut white corn tortillas into triangles, brush with a little olive oil on both sides, and bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes; turning halfway through. Sprinkle on salt immediately after removing from the oven.
Here’s the recipe. If you try it give me a shout and let me know what you thought.
- 1 – 13 oz. bag frozen sweet peas, thawed
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin or pressed in garlic press
- 1 jalapeno pepper, cleaned, seeded, and minced
- 2 Tablespoons diced fresh onion
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and use the pulse feature to process until the mixture resembles guacamole. It should be creamy looking with just a slight hint of texture. Serve with tortilla chips, fresh vegetables, or as a wrap filling.
Whether you consider this guac or not, it’s a tasty dish with fresh flavors that can be enjoyed any time.