How to Make a Lighter Guacamole (with Superfoods!)

Some people crave cookies. I crave guacamole. Crave it. Need it. Must have it now. I already use avocados a lot in my recipes because they’re essentially nature’s beautiful butter. But there’s something about that smooth, creamy, green goodness combined with fresh and spicy Mexican flavors that drives me to go on a monologue of “mmmph” sounds until that bowl is scraped clean.

I’m also quite particular about my guacamole. It has to be super fresh (best flavors). It can’t have sour cream in it (blech). And I like it left just a little chunky so there’s always hope of getting a bonus pop of avocado/tomato/onion (yay). I pretty much have an unwritten system for making guacamole at home, that hasn’t been messed with for at least a decade… until now.

This summer, I had a little bit of a game-changing experience. I was thinking about how it would be great to be able to eat even more guacamole (if we’re being honest here), but without having to worry about consuming the world’s largest number of calories. In the past, I’ve made recipes using the sneaky trick of incorporating whipped peas and/or blended steamed broccoli to replace some of the avocados… and I’ll admit they’re pretty good adaptations. But then I remembered my good superfood friend: chia seeds.

Being a native Central American superfood crop, chia seeds inherently go with many types of Mexican cuisine, from drinks to salsas to flatbreads. Tiny and flavorless, they’re so easy to use, boosting the nutrition of dishes with their Omega 3’s, antioxidants, minerals and fiber. However, they’re also excellent when used as a low calorie “filler.” Soak chia seeds in liquid, and within 15-30 minutes they’ll swell up with hydration, forming a gelatinous substance affectionately known as “chia gel.” And guess what - if you soak them in a flavored liquid, they retain much of the introduced flavor too.

This light guacamole cuts down on the avocado overload a bit, and uses the smooth, undetectable texture of low-calorie gelled chia seeds (soaked in pureed tomatoes) to “fill in” the rest of the bowl. Boasting tons of great Mexican flavor, amplifying nutrition, and reducing calories, this is one guacamole adaptation I’m proud to stand behind… and “mmmph” over again and again.

Chia Guacamole

This incredible guacamole has all the flavor of the classic Mexican recipe, but about half the calories – thanks to the smart use of chia seeds.

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 very large juicy tomato (heirloom varieties are great)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup white onion, minced (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • sea salt, to taste (optional)
  • hot sauce, to taste (optional)

In a food processor or blender, blend the tomato into a chunky puree. Transfer to a small bowl, add the chia seeds, and stir well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell and the mixture to thicken.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mash the avocado with the back of a fork into a paste. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, mixed onion, cilantro and lime juice, and mix well. Add the thickened tomato-chia mixture and stir. Add sea salt to taste, and spike with hot sauce, if desired, to preferred heat level. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with extra chopped onion and cilantro.

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