Guacamole — this creamy green dip has made its way far outside the Mexican restaurant, and is popular in many American fusion cuisines (it seems fair to say that anything that’s been combined with bacon on a burger can be counted as solidly American). But if you’re looking to expand your home use of guacamole beyond a bowl of dip and a bag of chips, you might be a little less sure of your footing. Here are some commonly asked questions about guacamole whose answers might surprise you:
- What Is Guacamole, Exactly?
Guacamole originated in ancient Mexico during the Aztec civilization. Back then, the dish was called dahuaca-mulli (“avocado sauce”) and included mashed avocados and sea salt. Now, most avocado-based dips are recognized as guacamole, although there are many variations. Classic guacamole recipes tend to include avocado, lemon or lime juice and salt for sure, and often tomatoes, onions and peppers. But people sometimes use sour cream or yogurt to change the texture of the dip, and add other spices and herbs for flavor.
- Can Guacamole Be Cooked?
Most guacamole dips are served fresh, probably stemming from the fact that avocado itself is almost always used raw. But avocado can indeed be cooked (baking and grilling are both ways to bring out the flavor). Few people know that guacamole can be used in soups and casseroles, where it adds a creamy texture and rich flavor.
- Are Recipes Using Guacamole Healthy?
People are often confused by guacamole health facts because they’re told it’s a nutritious food, but also that it is high in fat and calories. Both these facts are true. The key to understanding this seeming paradox is to remember that not all fat is bad for the body when eaten in moderation. The type of fat found in avocados is similar to that found in many nuts and seeds, and is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. So while you can’t expect to scarf down a container of guacamole a day and lose weight, it’s a nutritious way to indulge when included in a balanced diet.
Do you have any recipes using guacamole to share? Add your ideas in the comments!