A creamy half avocado filled (to overflowing) with diced heirloom tomatoes, jalapeño, and cotija tossed with a fresh and fabulous citrus vinaigrette... Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (Veracruz Style) is a beautiful and healthy side to enjoy with a Mexican main dish or simple grilled fish or chicken!
I'm curious... Where do you "come down" on the avocado debate? For years I considered avocados a "splurge" ingredient, laden with fats and calories. In recent years, however, my approach to a healthy diet begins
and ends with macronutrients. By the simplest of definitions, macronutrients provide energy, and include protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
There is no diet that is healthier than another, nor one that is more correct than another. It all boils down to those "macros" as we call them. IMHO. I have seen people take fat out of their diets, and languish; I have seen people cut carbs out almost entirely for years at a time, and it's not healthy. I've had friends stay on a high fat diet long enough to put their cardiovascular health at risk. If you have dietary restrictions, by all means, do what your doctor recommends. Otherwise, target those macronutrients and total calories! It really is the best long-term, healthy approach...
Featured Ingredient: Avocados
We love avocados in guacamole, but this versatile ingredient is showing up in smoothies and frozen desserts, mixed into hummus (I had that at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville last summer), and spread on toast. Lately we've enjoyed ripe avocado spread on a pan-toasted ancient grains tortilla eaten alongside eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce (shakshuka). What's your favorite way to enjoy avocados?
Yes, the avocado is fat dense, but most of that fat is "good fat." One medium (150 g) avocado has 22 g fat (34% of the recommended daily allowance), 13 g carbohydrates (4%), 10 g dietary fiber (40%) and has 240 calories.
So if you're trying to eat a healthy diet, what do you do with that information? This Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette provides an excellent example. Rather than have your avocado mashed up with sour cream and tortilla chips (loads of calories and fats), enjoy it with other nutrient-rich foods in a healthy salad. Each serving of this lovely salad contains xxx calories, and xx grams of fat. Served with grilled tuna, salmon, or chicken breast, and whole grain tortilla, you've got a healthy and delicious meal.
An Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
My approach to food and cooking is one that includes a vast variety of foods, and lots of moderation. Fitness is a priority, so I try to include protein throughout the day. I limit my fats to mostly "good" fats - olive oil, nuts, avocados, etc. My carbohydrates are almost exclusively whole grain and minimally processed like my Spring Vegetable Freekeh Salad. This approach has served me well. I have rarely had to battle my weight.
So, enjoy your avocados, just keep in mind the fat and calories, and adjust in another area. They're high in several B vitamins and vitamin K, and a good source of vitamins E and C, and potassium. Avocados can remain on your list of healthy foods, and you'll definitely enjoy my Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (Veracruz Style) if you love them!
Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (Veracruz Style)
Half an avocado overflowing with diced heirloom tomato, tangy cotija, and minced jalapeno tossed with a lovely citrus vinaigrette. This Veracruz style salad is a perfect accompaniment to your healthy Mexican main dish!
- citrus zest from the fruit prior to squeezing
- 1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon white wine or rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1/2 cup cilantro (leaves only) very finely chopped
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper to taste
Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad
- 2 medium firm but ripe avocados halved lengthwise and pit removed
- 1 cup heirloom tomatoes 1/2" dice (see notes)
- 2 ounces cotija small dice or crumbled
- 1 jalapeno, Fresno, or serrano pepper finely minced
- a few grinds sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- chopped cilantro to garnish
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar (or similar). Shake vigorously. Taste for sweetness and seasoning. Set Aside.
Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad
Using a spoon, carefully remove the avocado halves from their skins.
Combine tomatoes, cotija, and pepper in a medium prep bowl. Toss well. Season lightly (vinaigrette is seasoned to taste already).
Pour the vinaigrette over the tomato mixture, and gently fold to combine.
Spoon the tomato mixture into the avocado halves. Spoon any remaining vinaigrette over top. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. Enjoy!
I used blood orange and meyer lemon as they're in season here (as I'm writing the post). Any orange or tangerine should be an easy substitution. You can also use a combination. The agave nectar will probably need to be adjusted for lemon and lime juice. Grapefruit juice is another nice option. Taste and adjust the sweetener (salt and pepper too)! Don't forget to zest the citrus before squeezing.
I've used both full-sized heirloom tomatoes and tiny heirloom tomatoes. I love a variety of colors. Use the freshest, most flavorful you can find in any combination. You want to cut them pretty small to make the salad easier to eat.
You probably know your heat level preference better than I. 😉 Choose accordingly. If you just can't handle heat at all, omit the pepper.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 245 calories; 6 g protein; 16 g carbohydrates; 18 g fat.
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