Pomegranate-Mango Guacamole

There are various types of people who make up groups of friends, and I'm sure a lot of you are the foodie friends. That makes two of us. Whenever a party commences, I'm required to bring these two things: bean salad and guacamole (we're dip people). Of course I can add to my contributions, but if these items are not on the table, someone is going to bring it up. And it's not that I mind in the least bit either. These two dips guarantee my appetite will be taken care of amongst a sea of buffalo chicken and cream cheese. I tend to stick with variations of these and other Mexican-style dips, because I know they'll be crowd pleasers. "Vegan dip" can sometimes be met with wandering eyes. I've been holiday party hopping as of late, so I changed things up slightly to be a little more festive. Green avocados + red pomegranate seeds? Nailed it. And I know pomegranates can seem like a lot of work, but c'mon, they're like instant (not so instant) fancy food. I've been sprinkling these magenta jewels on just about everything, so I knew they'd be a great addition to a savory dip, not to mention meet my desire to add to the nutritional profile of anything I serve. This pomegranate-mango guacamole is skin-loving, superfood heaven. The entire pomegranate fruit (skin and all) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, from remedies for intestinal troubles, to blood building and cataracts. The arils inside contain free-radical fighting antioxidants and provide the body with a good dose of vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber - all of which are effective in reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk factors. Their antibacterial properties may even help with dental plaque! On top of all that, the avocado, perhaps the most delicious addition to any meal, has a nutritional profile to match. Recent research shows that lycopene and beta-carotene (two key carotenoid antioxidants) absorption increase tremendously when avocado is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad. It's also recommended to peel your avocados rather than squeezing out the buttery insides to get the most bang for your buck. The greatest concentration of antioxidants lie just underneath the skin. Besides the healthy fat that make up most of the calories in the fruit, avocados are excellent sources of fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, B5, B6, and potassium. All of these stats are sure to combat the entire bag of chips you're about to throw down, too. It's called balance.

Pomegranate-Mango Guacamole
Inspired by A Cup of Jo

4 ripe avocados
3/4 cup chopped mango (fresh or frozen, thawed)
3/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
himalayan pink salt (or sea salt), to taste

Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt to a medium sized bowl. Mash as much as possible with the back of a fork or a potato masher (or use a mortar and pestle). Add in 3 of the avocados, and mash again, mixing everything together. Stir in the mango and pomegranate arils. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lime juice if necessary. Chop the last avocado into chunks, and gently fold in. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, and enjoy!

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