Avocado is the new “it” food. Well, maybe it competes with kale, but they’re both fast becoming staples in the ‘trying to be healthier’ kind of household.
But if you’ve bought an avocado before, you know that it’s, well, “finicky”. If you don’t use it right when it’s ripe, it gets brown and mushy. But if you try to use it before it’s ripe, it’ll be hard and difficult to eat – not to mention it won’t be as flavorful.
I’ve really tried, in these past few months, to make avocado one of my OHI or staple foods: one of those ones that I can use in multiple different ways, so I make a point to always have it ‘on hand’. However I have to admit that as much as I hate wasting, I have thrown one or half of one out just because I didn’t use it up in time.
So today I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to use avocado. These are the ones that you can make ‘on the fly’ – if your avocado suddenly ripens before you’re prepared to use it, for example. Or if you forgot it was there until it was ALMOST too late to eat. Or, if you’re like me, and you’re the only one that really eats avocado enthusiastically and you’d like to ease your family into the delicious & nutritious creation. And just like anything else, you want to eat everything in moderation, so try these recipes a little at a time.
Before we start: if you are unsure why trying avocado is a good idea, here are a few reasons!
– Avocado is one of the only things that is super high in the GOOD fats – monounsaturated. When eaten in moderation, benefits of MUFAs include contributing to low cholesterol and good heart health and reducing your risk of stroke; decreased risk of breast cancer; weight loss and reduced belly fat (when you replace trans and saturated fats with MUFA; see below for ideas to help with this!).
– Avocados are high in essential vitamins and minerals.
– Avocados help the body absorb other nutrients better, when eaten together.
– Avocados are high in protein – without all the bad fats!
I’m going to share some recipes with you, but before I do, consider these ideas and use them in your current favorite recipes:
*Substitute mashed avocado anywhere you would use mayo as a dressing – for example, as a spread on a sandwich, as the binder for chicken salad, to make a salad dressing or a dip.
*Often, avocado is paired classically (and predictably) with lime and cilantro. But by mixing up the citrus and herbs, you can get a whole different taste and revive a tired recipe – for example, lemon or orange instead of lime, and parsley or mint instead of cilantro.
*Cut your avocado in chunks and use it mixed with other chopped veggies in a cold salsa or salad – the most popular of course is guacamole!
*Don’t be afraid to cook/bake/heat avocado. Someone told me this would be gross. They were wrong. 🙂
In case you don’t know, here’s how to pit an avocado and get at that delicious fruit inside. Because you have to start there 😉
THE RECIPES! (Finally)
– I have yet to try these amazing looking avocado fries!
– And these avocado eggs! Or these ones!
– This Homesick Toast is DELICIOUS. (Don’t let the name throw you off. The author is from Australia, and apparently they eat this kind of thing all the time over there – yeah mate – Considering moving?) Instead of lime (I was out! shocker) I used lemon. I didn’t have mint so I skipped it. I used feta, a drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground sea salt. I spread it on toasted Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain bread. Great for breakfast, lunch, or a filling snack.
– Spinach Artichoke Chicken. Instead of the mayo, use 1/2 cup mashed avocado instead. It tastes delicious and even Avocado haters will not even know it’s there!
– You can try this avocado cream. I didn’t like this as much as my own Avocado Ranch spread, but you can try them both and decide what your favorite is 😉
– Avocado purees. This deserves a little time. If you have one that’s just about to go bad, puree it in a food processor. If you get the extra large ones, a half will make just about 1/2 cup. What can you do with this puree??? Put it in the fridge in a container or a baggie. I like the baggie idea if you’re going to use it right away (within a day), because you can release more air thus ensuring the avocado puree does not turn brown. I’ve heard that you can freeze these purees, but I have not tried it personally yet, so proceed at your own risk! What can you do with your avocado puree??
— Use it in chocolate cake, cupcakes, or brownies (just Google it. Trust me.)
— Use it for an amazing healthy chocolate fondue. Here’s the thing about the fondue. It is not my recipe or my idea. It is a recipe in Jessica Seinfeld’s (yes Jerry’s wife!) cookbook called Deceptively Delicious. I feel like I would be plagiarizing, or committing copyright fraud, if I copied the recipe here exactly. The recipe is not on her website of the same name, so I can’t link to it either. I can tell you it does contain sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, a teensy bit of margarine, and carrot and avocado purees. I can also tell you that you should just Google it. 😉 There are also lots of chocolate pudding recipes with avocado in them. I have not tried those yet. Fondue is more interesting to me; FROM NOW ON, this will probably be how I use my avocado to make sure it doesn’t go bad. Because who doesn’t want to serve their kids a healthier option for dessert??? (Read this for more on the ‘dessert deal‘ and picky eaters.) And they think they’re getting away with it! HAH! (FYI, even after I told my avocado-hating daughter that there was avocado in this, she still continues to eat it and say how good it is.)
In this post I also describe some tips on how to keep avocado/guacamole from turning brown.