My Visit to Napa Valley and a Recipe for High-Pro Guaco (AKA Gluten-Free Quinoa Guacamole)

I spent a few glorious days in Napa Valley recently for the Food & Culinary Professionals‘ culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute of America. Wow, that’s a lot of culinary in one sentence, and I certainly experienced a lot of culinary magic during my time there. In an upcoming Cooking with the Moms podcast, I’ll be talking about my trip, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few tidbits and a fabulous recipe that I sampled.

One highlight of the workshop was a visit to the new studio kitchen of Cheryl Forberg, RD (dietitian for The Biggest Loser TV show) where I sampled this High-Pro Guaco from her latest book, Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies.

I had seen Cheryl’s kitchen a couple of years ago when construction began, and it was amazing to see the finished product. Having just completed a six-month renovation of my own kitchen, it was great fun to compare notes! Just when I thought I had a big kitchen suitable for videos and cooking demos, Cheryl’s kitchen knocks it out of the park; it seats an impressive 50 people. What an amazing place to cook.

High-Pro Guaco

Makes 3 Cups

You can serve this as an appetizer with tortilla chips or as a side dish or lunch. I sampled this gluten free, quinoa-filled guacamole at Cheryl’s house, and I was delighted when she packed up a container for me to take on the airplane ride back to Boston.

  • 1 cup cooked black quinoa
  • 3 ripe Haas avocados
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup drained, diced canned fire-roasted tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree*
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt

1. If you don’t have cooked quinoa on hand, cook the quinoa according to package directions and set it aside to cool.

2. Halve, seed, and peel the avocados; then dice them into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the diced avocado and the lime juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl and toss gently to coat. Set aside.

3. In a small mixing bowl, combing the fire-roasted (or fresh) tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, Chipotle Puree, and salt. Mix well.

4. Add the tomato mixture and the cooked quinoa to the avocado cubes. Toss gently and serve immediately with corn chips.

*To make the Chipotle Puree, puree one 7-ounce can chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce with 1/4 cup water in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store leftover puree in the refrigerator for up to a month and use a teaspoon or two to spice up your recipes.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 tablespoons): 46 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated), 55mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 1g protein

Print Recipe

Here I am taking a picture of Cheryl’s flock of chickens, known as the “girls.” I’m a little jealous of Cheryl’s relaxed life in the beautiful countryside of Napa Valley. On my final night of the trip, I stayed with Cheryl and savored a fresh, hard-cooked egg for breakfast, courtesy of one of these lovely ladies.

Here is what you might eat if you spent the night at the home of the dietitian for The Biggest Loser TV show: quinoa breakfast cereal with nuts, a locally-grown kiwi, a fresh hard-cooked egg, and a steaming cup of cappuccino. I can’t wait for my next trip!

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