PCC #5: Stuffed Avocado

I’ll be the first to admit, this set of ingredients (grapes, black beans, avocado, rice, and basil) really stumped me for a while. Black beans and avocado are a natural and traditional combination, so that seemed easy enough. But basil isn’t particularly southwestern. I also thought about making a rice pudding with raisins. But ultimately, I wanted to find a way to combine all the ingredients in one dish. I thought that the grapes would add a nice sweetness next to cool avocado, and the basil would give it a little fresh kick. However, I could not imagine any way in which the texture of black beans would sit well with grapes.

I gave it much thought, and finally, I came up with a pretty little picture in my head of a halved avocado stuffed with a grape and brown rice salad, sitting on a pool of black bean puree. Something was missing though, something that would compliment each flavor individually and tie it all together: I decided that ingredient was mango. Thus, I dressed the rice salad with a mango-basil vinaigrette and added some mango puree underneath the avocado. Finally, some roasted pepitas on top for a little crunch.

The result? When I presented the dish to my fiance, his first reaction was “we’re eating at Bocado again?” Bocado is a fabulous tapas restaurant in our city, with creative food combinations and beautiful presentation. It’s true, this dish resembled and could be perfectly at home on their “small plates” menu. The flavor combination was interesting and refreshing. The mango added a nice sweetness, and ginger-and-lime-infused black bean puree contributed a savory, smoky element, while leaving out the texture I wanted to avoid. The rice salad with grapes, scallions, and mango-basil dressing was really wonderful and would also be great with chilled shrimp, but we didn’t have any. We both agreed this makes an interesting and different first course or side salad.

For the mango puree: peel and cut up a mango, and process in food processor.
For the black bean puree: In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup black beans, 1 cup water, a dash of ground ginger and cumin, and some grated lime zest. Simmer for about 90 minutes, then puree and strain.
For the rice salad: combine cooled cooked brown rice, halved red grapes, and diced scallions to your liking. For the dressing, I used the juice from half a lime, about a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s mango chili vinegar, a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper, and finely minced basil.
I garnished with some chopped basil and roasted pumpkin seeds.

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6 Responses to “PCC #5: Stuffed Avocado”

  1. 1

    Erika — September 5, 2007 @ 3:03 am Reply

    I don’t know how it tastes, but it sure looks beautiful. That vinaigrette artwork is stunning and makes the avocado just POP! I’ve never thought to stuff an avocado- what a clever idea! Shrimp does sound like it would really make the dish too. Great job!

  2. 2

    ashley — September 5, 2007 @ 6:12 am Reply

    i’m constantly amazed by your creativity cara! the presentation is amazing! and i love that you fit all the ingredients into one dish! looks great! 🙂

  3. 3

    Cara — September 5, 2007 @ 12:22 pm Reply

    Thanks ladies 🙂

  4. 4

    Joelen — September 9, 2007 @ 4:28 am Reply

    Awesome creativity Cara & it looks fabulous!

  5. 5

    Joelen — April 5, 2011 @ 1:14 am Reply

    Awesome creativity Cara & it looks fabulous!

  6. 6

    ashley — April 5, 2011 @ 1:14 am Reply

    i'm constantly amazed by your creativity cara! the presentation is amazing! and i love that you fit all the ingredients into one dish! looks great! 🙂

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