‘Break the Box’ Avocado and Black Bean Zucsketti

My mom went back to school full time for horticulture when I was in middle school. She also picked up a part time job at a nursery to utilize the degree making her a ‘professional’ at a talent she already possessed, an exceptionally green thumb. Meanwhile, Dad worked full time as a preservation carpenter and spent much of his time at home fixing the log house we grew up in.

As such, I was appointed ‘Chief Cook and Bottle Washer’ at the ripe age of twelve. Since my siblings and I are all within four years of each other, this made the bottle washing easy. Basically I tidied up the house, made sure Moriah didn’t bite Emily, and left Tyler to his own devices.

This is when I really started to enjoy cooking, but my imagination…well…left something to the imagination. A typical dinner consisted of baked chicken breast with lemon juice and butter, au gratin potatoes from a box, and a heated can of green beans. Delicious? Perhaps. But not very original.

Luckily, with the help of friends and relatives, cookbooks, the Food Network, and the wonderful world wide web, I have broken out of the ‘baked chicken’ box and ventured into recipes I never would have dreamed of. Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a Grilled Avocado and Black Bean Linguini recipe found on Pinterest.

However, since the weather isn’t dazzling, and few of the ingredients actually required a grill, I used the oven and stove top.

Spicy Black Bean and Avocado Zucsketti with Shrimp (serves 2)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 6 oz cooked shrimp
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 zucchini, prepared as spaghetti

Cut avocado in half and place, flesh side up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and move to a food processor. Blend with lime juice, garlic, greek yogurt, and olive oil.

In a separate bowl, mix red onions, black beans, cilantro and 1/2 tsp of the cajun seasoning. Let sit for flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute pre-cooked shrimp with a bit of olive oil and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning.

Mix zucsketti and avocado sauce. Top with black bean medley and spicy shrimp.

Dave is not a fan of zucchini and requested his avocado sauce, beans, and shrimp served over a bed of lettuce. He said he would be content to eat a salad like it every day.

And I have to admit, this combo was pretty fabulous. I had a piece of toast on the side to get every last bit of sauce. Avocado, like granola, seems to make just about everything better. Never would my twelve year old self have thought to make a pasta sauce out of avocado and greek yogurt (then again, I don’t think greek yogurt existed in the grocery store at that time).

I’m so glad I have broken the box.


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