Avocado "Ceviche" & Chili Lime Chips
A fresh, zesty vegan take on a classic ceviche. Avocados and fresh veggies marinated in a bright citrus dressing. And because of the lime juice, the avocado stays fresh until the next day. Serve with homemade baked chili lime chips. Vegan & Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
The first time I tried ceviche was in Chicago. And before you write me off for associating ceviche with Chicago, I should probably start by saying it was prepared by a pretty legit restaurant. Like, legit enough to win a James Beard Award and a nod from the Michelin Guide. The point is: it was good, believe me.
During that time in my life, I was travelling across the border for work. Weekly. When I wasn't spending 12+ hours commuting or 60+ hours working with a team, I was sitting in my hotel room, solo. And I don't know what you do when you're sitting in a hotel room by yourself, but my inclination is to eat. A lot. Sometime between week 2 and week 3, I discovered a sweet Mexican place with colorful walls and delicious jarred salsas at the front door. I'd convince whatever colleague I could to join me for dinner. And when that failed, I wasn't above a takeout bag and disposable cutlery from its sister restaurant next door. To put it simply: I wholeheartedly embraced all the tacos, guacamole and tamales. So much so, that the zippers on my clothes were getting a bit....tight.
During one of these visits, I gave ceviche a try. The bright citrus flavor and acidity was instantly addictive. It was like a breath of fresh air – and I inhaled it as fast as I could. And as if it couldn't get any better, tortilla chips were the “utensil” of choice. Heck yes. Now that I'm meat-free, a bowl full of fish doesn't hold the appeal that it used to. But that's not to say I don't miss the tangy acidity of ceviche. And with the summer heat that currently has me breaking a sweat after less than five minutes outside, I figured it was the perfect time to re-explore those awesome flavors.
I’ve replicated what I miss most about ceviche: that delicious citrus marinade. All it takes is a bunch of lime juice, a bit of oil and a sprinkling of salt. A traditional ceviche (or at least what I've had) is made with fish and veggies. Since we're going the plant-based route, I loaded up on a variety of colorful veggies and made sure to double-down on creamy avocadoes. The combination is a match made in heaven: luscious chunks of avocado, refreshing bites of cucumber, juicy kernels of corn, and plenty of crunchy red peppers and radishes. And once all these veggies are marinated in the tangy dressing, they have all the flavors of a classic ceviche. Obviously, this ceviche is lacking the texture of raw fish, but I'm sure it's a welcomed omission for any vegetarian or vegan.
There’s one other benefit to this recipe that any guacamole junkie will appreciate. It actually keeps in the fridge overnight. The citrus in the marinade helps preserve the avocado, so that if you have any leftovers, you're still in the clear the next day. Meaning, your avocado chunks won't experience the dark brown death that plagues an oxidizing half-eaten guacamole. Brown avocado isn't sexy, that's for sure. In fact, not only does your avocado stay green the next day – but the flavor actually intensifies as it marinates. Which means your mid-day work snack just got a whole lot better.
To be honest, I initially intended to pair this recipe with a standard store-bought tortilla chip. But after Anguel chose a 'salt-free' bag of tortilla chips that tasted as bland as a plain rice-cake, I realized we needed something much better. And these homemade chili lime chips are the bomb. Seriously. Not only are they much more flavorful than store-bought options, but they're also baked (vs. fried). Lime juice helps to cut down on the oil required, and the zest gives the chips an extra pop of flavor (plus, limes are expensive these days, so you might as well get the most out of them). A generous sprinkling of salt and chili powder rounds out these chips – and the flavor combo works perfectly with the ceviche.
VEGAN AVOCADO "CEVICHE" & CHILI LIME CHIPS
SERVES 6 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
2/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2/3 cup cucumber, chopped
2/3 cup corn kernels (~1 small cob)
1/3 cup radish, sliced thinly
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced (seeds removed)*
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Baked Chili Lime Tortilla Chips (recipe below)
Chop the avocado flesh into large chunks and place into a medium sized bowl. Add red pepper, cucumber, corn, radish, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers.
In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and salt. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir gently to coat. Allow the vegetables to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Stir once or twice to ensure all the vegetables are covered with the marinade. Serve with tortilla chips and top with extra cilantro, if desired. Store extras in a sealed container in the fridge.
*Adjust amount to suit your desired spice level. Jalapeno peppers can be substituted for other fresh peppers (e.g. Serrano, Fresno, etc.)
BAKED CHILI LIME TORTILLA CHIPS
SERVES 6 (VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE)
6 small tortillas (6 inch)
4 teaspoons neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt*
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder**
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Stack the tortillas and cut each tortilla into 8 equally sized triangles. Place the pieces onto the baking sheets, ensuring none of the pieces are touching.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice and lime zest. Brush the oil and lime mixture thoroughly across each tortilla piece, ensuring you cover the edges as well. Flip each piece and brush the other side. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the chips are golden brown. Remove from oven.
Chips will continue to crisp up as they cool. Taste and add additional salt and ancho chili powder if desired (e.g. additional 1/4 teaspoon of each). Serve with avocado ceviche.
*Sea salt or Himalayan salt. You could also use flaky sea salt, but adjust the amount accordingly as it varies in volume (i.e 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt will taste less salty than 1/2 teaspoon regular sea salt).
**Can be substituted with other chili powders (e.g. chipotle powder). Some chili powders are spicier than others, so adjust accordingly.
Just like store-bought chips, homemade tortilla chips can become stale pretty easily. Try to eat the chips as immediately as possible, ideally within 1-2 days of baking them. Bag up any extras as soon as they've cooled.