It's not looking good for avocado lovers. It takes a lot of water for California to produce 95 percent of the avocados grown in the U.S. Thanks to the dry spell that is about to enter its fourth year, Governor Jerry Brown has announced mandatory cutbacks on water usage for the first time in the state's history. Although the cutbacks exempt agricultural use, it still doesn't change the fact that you can't grow avocados without water. We're not just talking potentially skyrocketing prices. We're talking not enough to go around for all of us to satiate our cravings.
How do we deal with the shortage?
It's true: nothing tastes like an avocado. But desperate times call for desperate measures. The Cook's Thesaurus recommends you stock up on chayote squash. When cooked, it makes an excellent low-calorie substitute for avocados in many dishes, including creamy avocado soup, baked avocado "fries," stuffed avocado or even just sliced avocado as a side.
The thesaurus also recommends using artichoke hearts in place of sliced avocados in salads. Sure, it's not the same, but artichoke hearts are still quite tasty and filling — a noble substitute, when you think about it, which may help keep our minds off what we'd rather be eating.
As for guacamole, there are two things you can do.
To make a decent amount of guacamole for, say, a party (consisting of you, your sofa and your hot date, Netflix), you need at least three Hass avocados. If you can still find one, even a very small one, you can make it stretch with other ingredients. The Food Network's Guy Fieri suggests sour cream, roasted corn, tomatillos, green onions, sweet pomegranate, mango or pineapple.
Instead of sour cream, try some Mexican crema because it's absolutely delicious or some plain, low-fat Greek yogurt. You can also use cream cheese in a pinch, but if you don't want your guac to be cheesy then it's time to let tofu — silken tofu, specifically — finally have its day in the sun. See how we vegetarians and vegans can come in handy to you omnivores? We're all in this together, after all.
The very idea of making avocado-less guacamole may seem anathema to you, but in case you don't want to wait for things to turn around in California before you get to enjoy your favorite dip again, we found you eight alternatives.
Closet Cooking's Kevin Lynch acknowledges that what he's made here, which is delicious, may just be a black bean dip but it's made just like a guacamole.
Women's Health is on the case with this edamame "guacamole" that's just as creamy, rich and healthy as the original, with about half the calories and three times the protein. Nice!
The Kitchen Table by Nutiva concocted this avocado-less guacamole for those who don't like, or are allergic to, avocado. It's made with chickpeas and kale juice and looks like it's a little too runny, so maybe hold back on the kale juice and water until it's the consistency you prefer.
Chocolate-Covered Katie's guacamole may look like it's made with avocados, but it's actually made with asparagus.
Tori Avey asked why anyone would mess with something as classic as guacamole. But when she tasted the spring pea version, she got it. It's close to the real thing, a bit sweeter than regular guacamole, not to mention lighter and much lower in fat than the real thing. Avey points out that it's perfect for serving at parties, since it won't go brown like avocado-based guac. Green peas, she adds, which are harbingers of spring, are also high in vitamin K, loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits and support blood sugar regulation.
Here's a recipe by healthy chef Anthony Stewart at the Pritikin Longevity Center, which we featured last year. It combines broccoli stems, lemon juice, tomato and herbs and spices for a surprisingly creamy, flavorful dip.
Okay, so Frieda's recipe calls for a ripe avocado, which if fine if you can find one that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg, but you can follow this recipe and omit the avocado just the same.
Yummly and Food52 featured this version of guacamole that replaces avocados with Japanese eggplants. Intriguing!
If all else fails and you're willing to exhaust absolutely every possible alternative to keep your avocado fix going, you could always flex that green thumb and try growing your own. Just let us know if you succeed. We might want to buy some from you.