recipes

Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Sauce

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Roasted spiralized sweet potato, black beans, a Trader Joe’s salmon burger, topped with my blackened jalapeno and avocado sauce and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

It’s the beginning of the new year and, like a lot of people, I have a couple resolutions related to my health.

One of my resolutions is (surprise!) to exercise more. A few years ago I was really into running. I participated in a local running group and trained with them for my first 5k, then 10k, then half marathon. But I found that running was pretty hard on my back, making my visits to the chiropractor more frequent, and I ultimately didn’t stick with it. For the last year, I wasn’t sure how to exercise. I tried a couple different things, but nothing really clicked. And when I tried running again I hurt my back. About a month ago, a family member told me about an aqua class she tried at the gym and it reminded me how much I love swimming. I took lessons every summer as a kid, and I know that swimming is a good choice for people with injuries since it’s low-impact. Since then, I’ve joined a gym with a pool and my workouts have been really fun! Plus, I get to finish with a few minutes in the whirlpool and steam room, which has been awesome on these super chilly days in Chicagoland!

Another of my resolutions is to improve my diet by reducing the amount of sweets and saturated fats I eat, and increasing veggies and healthy fats. One way I love getting my veggies is by eating bowls. A bowl usually involves a grain, some veggies, protein, and a killer sauce. When I first started cooking, I didn’t know how to make sauces, so I layered my bowls sans sauce. Big mistake. Yuge. The sauce is what makes it.

This Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Sauce does double duty by providing healthy fat and lots of flavor. Fat keeps me full so I’m not reaching for sweets before bed, and unsaturated fats like the kind in olive oil and avocado keep cholesterol in check. This sauce is spicy, creamy, and so delicious. You can dollop it on eggs at breakfast, spread it on a sandwich or burger, or dip veggies in it.

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I’m on a bit of a salmon burger kick lately. They’re tasty, healthy, and quick cooking. Just what I need after a long day at work! And this sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

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Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Sauce
Makes about 1 cup (~3 servings)

1 jalapeño
1 avocado, pitted
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

1. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the jalapeño and cook until charred on all sides. Let cool to touch. Seed and stem jalapeño (some seeds can be left for extra spice, if desired).

2. Scoop avocado flesh into a food processor. Add seeded jalapeño, minced garlic, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, and enjoy!

Notes
Storage:  Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge in a container, covered with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap makes contact with the entire surface of the sauce (you don’t want any air to touch the sauce).

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