Avocados: Talk About a Heck of a Deal!

How wonderful is it that avocados, one of yummiest foods ever, are also one of the healthiest foods you can eat? Ounce for ounce, they contain the highest levels of fiber, potassium, and folate of any fruit, plus a solid punch of vitamins B6, C, and E. Add in its healthy mono-unsaturated fats, and you have a superb food that maximizes flavor and function. Makes a fella want to applaud, doesn’t it?

But besides their health factor, consider their versatility:

  • When pureed with a smidge of olive oil and lemon or lime juice, they make an excellent, salad dressing.
  • And then there’s toast. Avocado toast is just so good. I’ll spread a piece of toast with a thoroughly mashed avocado slice instead of butter. Yesterday I had it with a generous helping of arugula, halved grape tomatoes, a smidge of goat cheese, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have arugula, you could substitute baby spinach leaves.

  • Or remove the pit from an avocado half and fill the space with some chopped tomato, celery, and green onion; I add a dash of garlic powder and I have an amazing little snack or dinner side dish that is simply satisfying. The avocado skin makes a nice cup-like container for this dish. With avocados, we’re limited only by our imagination.
  • Then there’s desserts and smoothies. Healthy eaters know all about pureeing avocado with cocoa powder, vanilla, non-dairy milk, and sweetener of choice (I like to use my homemade date paste). This combination of ingredients makes the best chocolate mousse you’ve ever had. And adding an avocado half to your daily green smoothie creates a divine creaminess.

When selecting avocados, look for those that yield ever so slightly to gentle pressure. The Hass variety has pebbly, nearly black skin, and the larger Fuerte variety comes with a smooth, bright green cover. But whichever variety you choose, the selection process is the same.

To speed ripening, seal your avocados in a paper bag with a banana and store at room temperature. An apple will work as well—it’s the ethylene gas these fruits emit that does the job.

Versatile as they are, you don’t want to cook avocados—they become bitter when cooked. But as mentioned above, their versatility defies the no-cooking stipulation. Instead:

  • Puree or dice them and add them into things. For instance, add pureed avocado into cold (or warm) soups, fold them into shrimp salad with green onions and fresh dill
  • Mash and use them as a sandwich spread. For an amazing bagel, apply layers of smoked salmon and mashed avocado.
  • Dice them. One of our favorite combinations is finely diced avocado, diced tomato, and chopped green onion with feta or blu cheese, cilantro, salt, and a splash of lime juice.
  • Use dollops of pureed avocado to embellish. And have you ever tried replaced all the butter and sour cream you baked potato usually holds, with pureed avocado and chopped green onion? The joy just continues.
To conclude, here’s a killer recipe for the universal favorite stand-by, guacamole. It’s easy, delicious, and healthy. Heck of a deal!

Almost Guacamole Dip

Yield: 3 cups

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup nonfat sour cream
3 avocados peeled, pitted, and quartered
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon mild, canned chopped green chilies drained as much as possible
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Combine strained yogurt, sour cream, and avocados in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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