Introduction: Paleo Avocado & Tomato Salad

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My favorite food of all time is Mexican food. You have a burrito?  Okay, I'd love one!  Oh what's that you say?  It's deep fried into a Chimichanga? Okay, I'll take 3!

But since adopting a new style of eating, Mexican food is but a thing of the past for the most part.  But I still yearn for some of those flavors.  It was here that I sort of started making this un-smooshed, slightly deconstructed, guacamole as a side salad to accompany my lean meats. 

It's delicious and THUPER easy to make. 

This salad serves 2, or if no one is looking, just YOU!

Step 1: Gather Your Weapons

You can really add whatever spices and flavorings you like.  If you are practicing Paleo like I am, you will want to avoid salt as much as possible, so I like to substitute with lots of spices, or when I'm exceptionally lazy, I use "salt-free" Mrs. Dash.  I like to keep all natural sea salt for emergencies, however refrain from using as much as possible.

So For the core of this salad, I use the following:

1 Med-Lg Avocado
About a 1cu to 1.5cu of cherry or grape tomatoes.
1 Jalapeno Pepper
Lemon Juice (or lime juice)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Onion

Some other good spices to use: chili flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic....whatever you like!

Step 2: Bust Out the Knife!

I like to cut the tomatoes in half.  The water from the tomatoes help to sort of coat the avocado, and it makes everything that much more "bite sized."

I then cut the avocado into small bite sized pieces and pile it all together.

Step 3: IAye! IEs Mucho Caliente!

There are many ways to chop up a pepper.  You can do slices, you can just use the meat of the pepper.... But one thing to bear in mind, its the seeds and membrane of the pepper that give it the spice, so depending on how spicy you want your salad to be, you should cut accordingly.

I typically like things REALLY spicy, but for this salad, I don't want the spice to overpower the great flavors of the avocado and the sweetness from the tomatoes, so I cut the seeds and membranes out.

The best way to do this is as follows:

Cut the stem clean off.  Stand the pepper up and cut it down the center.

Now this is important! With a spoon (or gloved hands), scoop the membrane and seeds out.  Be careful not to touch the pepper innards excessively, and if you do, WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY!  I can't stress that enough.  (however, even then, sometimes that doesnt help.  I touched them, washed my hands, ate dinner, proceeded to wash dishes later that evening...and when I went to bed some 4 hours later, I scratched my eye and it started burning like holy hell..... be careful)

Chop the pepper up into a small rough chop.
This is probably a good time to get those onions chopped too.

Step 4: Mix, Pour, Squirt!

Mix the onions and pepper in with the tomatoes and avocado. 

Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the mix as well.  Since we aren't mashing this up into a guacamole, the light coating of olive oil helps to give it that "salad dressing" feel.  I would say this is optional, but it really adds nice flavor to the dish.

Squirt! An important element to this salad is the presence of something acidic like lemon or lime juice.  Not only does it add a great depth of flavor, it keeps the avocado from turning brown.  I like to use anywhere between a a teaspoon and a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.

Step 5: Cilantro

I have found that people either love or hate cilantro.  There is really no in between.  I happen to LOVE cilantro. It has this sort of spicy and peppery taste to it and really compliments this salad.

The best way to cut cilantro?  Take the bunch and hold it upside down.  Then slide your knife down the stems of the bunch so you are just shaving the leaves off.

Then rough chop them into more manageable little morsels.

Step 6: Season It Up!

This is where you can get really crazy and put all your favorite spices in.  Be sure to taste frequently as you don't want to put too much of any one spice in!  Here, I am using Mrs. Dash because a) Im lazy, and b) it tastes pretty good

Step 7: Fiesta En Su Boca!

Once everything is mixed together, give it a second to really absorb and marinate in the flavors.  I typically eat it about 15 minutes after I have mixed everything.  Then enjoy as a great side salad with your meal!

Bon Apetit!