March 5, 2014 at 2:41 PM ET
False alarm, burrito lovers—the guacpocalypse has been called off. It was widely reported yesterday that Chipotle might give guacamole the boot off its menu in the face of rising prices, but that’s not the case, as TODAY.com reported earlier.
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less painful doling out an extra $2 or so for a side of guacamole on top of a $7 burrito—or even making guac at home, for that matter.
Guacamole is expensive to make—a single avocado can currently run up to $2.50 or $3 a pop. Considering lots of guac recipes call for three avocados, you’re already up to perhaps $9, before buying all the other ingredients.
If avocado prices do continue to rise, though, there is hope. Here are tips for maximizing the avocado in your dips—or nixing it from the guac altogether:
1. Swap it out.
Believe it or not, some people don’t care for avocados, like the husband of Florida-based recipe developer Christine Pittman. So she created an “Edamole,” a guac-like dip made with edamame. Edamame is still green, after all, and cheap (about $2 for a frozen bag). “It’s still creamy and has all the background flavors—the lime, the cilantro and salt,” she told TODAY.com. “People are amazed. They say, ‘It really tastes like guacamole!’” Get the recipe.
Lots of folks are even allergic to avocado, Seattle-based food writer Jackie Bodd discovered, leading her to develop a “Broccomole,” made with, yes, broccoli . “Broccoli is pretty inexpensive, super healthy, and this dip is one of those things people are skeptical about but really impressed when they try it,” she said. “The earthiness of the broccoli balances out the spices.”
2. Stretch it with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
If you rather keep avocado in your guac but just cut back, simply halve the amount of avocado and add an equal amount of sour cream or Greek yogurt, Pittman says. She also recommends doubling the lime, onion, tomato and cilantro to keep their flavors potent—plus, the extra veggies will take up more space in the dip.
3. Keep it fresher longer.
Stash a small bottle of lime juice in the fridge to squeeze onto leftover avocado halves, Pittman recommends. If you eat a ton of avocados, consider investing in an Avo Saver, a plastic holder molded in the shape of an avocado that helps keep out air, which oxidizes and browns the fruit.
4. Freeze it.
Most guac recipes yield a party’s worth of dip, but it freezes very well, says Michigan-based weight-loss consultant Jennifer White. She buys avocados 10 or 15 at a time on sale for about $1 each, makes a huge batch, divides it up and freezes it in zip-top bags. “It doesn’t brown and works great. We just pull out what we need,” she says. White also stretches her avocado by adding white beans to guac.
5. Try a Florida avocado.
Hass avocados get all the attention, but Florida avocados are larger (about the size of a grapefuit), Pittman says. They also tend to be less pricey—and they lower in fat.
6. Plant a tree!
Yes, you can grow avocados best in Florida, California or Hawaii, but White says she once had a neighbor in Kentucky whose avocado tree did great—it just came inside in winter. “And then they’re free!” she said.