5 Surprising (and Delicious) Ways to Use Avocado

 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one food would you absolutely have to have, no matter what?

There’s a lot to consider since we’re talking about survival here. I’ll assume there are coconuts on this island, and having seen Castaway about a hundred times (and being a massive Lost fan), I’ve learned basic coconut-opening skills with nothing but some rocks, arm power, and a bit of patience.

That leaves me with avocados. How can I live without them?

I’ve featured a number of recipes using avocado in the traditional ways: mashed into guacamole, sliced up in tacos, or chopped into a salad.

But have you tried avocado in a cake? Or pudding? Or in mac and cheese?

These fruit (yep, they’re fruit!) are super versatile, and can be used as a substitute for healthy saturated fats, like butter or oil, in many different recipes.

There are over 500 varieties of avocado from all over the world varying in size and color. My personal favorite is the Hass avocado. It’s dark green pebbly skin and creamy flesh stands out from the rest and on any given day, you’ll find at least one or two in my fruit bowl. Aside from its incredible flavor and versatility, avocados pack a mighty punch on the nutrition end. Here are some of those benefits:

  • Sodium and cholesterol-free, but densely packed with approximately 380 calories, 35g of fat, 16g of fiber and 5g of protein in an 8oz serving. Despite the high fat content, these fats are mostly monounsaturated (MUFAs) which are healthier and mainly found in avocados.
  • Speaking of fat: Perhaps the biggest health benefit of eating avocados is oleic acid, an omega-9 fat which helps decrease blood cholesterol by increasing the production of HDLs, or high-density lipoproteins.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: In a 1oz serving of hass avocado (about 1/5 wedge), there is 152mg of potassium (4%DV), 6.3mcg of Vitamin K (8%DV), and 27mcg of Folate (6%DV). Avocados are also rich in Vitamins B6, E,C, and Riboflavin each accounting for 4%DV.
  • Fiber: Avocados are high in fiber with approximately 40% of your DV in one serving. Fiber improves digestion and can help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

If I could have an avocado a day, I would. In fact, I usually do!

Here are 5 surprising ways to use avocado that has nothing to do with tacos, salad, or sandwiches:

Avocado Coconut Popsicles from SkinnyTaste

photo courtesy of SkinnyTaste.com

The creaminess of avocado with the subtle sweetness of coconut, make this popsicle a yummy and refreshing treat this summer. With less than five ingredients in this recipe, this is easy enough to pull off any day of the week.

Avocado Buckwheat Pancakes from Kitchen Kemistry

Avocado pancakes
photo courtesy of KitchenKemistry.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no such thing as too many pancake recipes, in my opinion. This avocado buckwheat version powers up your breakfast with loads of fiber and is a great gluten-free substitute for traditional wheat pancakes.

Avocado Spaghetti from The Londoner

I know what you’re thinking. Spaghetti and…avocado? Surprising, I know. But when you consider the buttery texture and mild flavor of avocado, it makes sense. It’s like a different version of pesto. I’d consider going with a whole wheat pasta here to add some nuttiness and even more fiber.

Avocado Mac and Cheese from Two Peas and Their Pod

photo courtesy of TwoPeasandTheirPod.com

Mac and cheese usually gets a bad rap for being an unhealthy food, but there are easy ways to give this dish a healthy makeover. We’ve seen that avocado and pasta can go well together, so this shouldn’t be much of a stretch. I love the use of cilantro and lime here to give this mac and cheese some punch. This is a comfort food recipe that you can adapt to each season. Add some butternut squash in the winter months!

Fudgy Avocado Brownies from How Sweet Eats

Fudgy Avocado Brownies I howsweeteats.com
Photo courtesy of HowSweetEats.com

Chocolate and avocado may be the most surprising combination….but it works. Trust me. I’ve made chocolate avocado protein smoothies before and it’s delightful. Brownies are the ultimate splurge food, so it’s pretty great to find a recipe out there that won’t make me feel completely guilty. Time to treat yo’self with these brownies!

There are so many amazing avocado recipes out there. Open yourself up to trying one that’s a little out of the ordinary to spice up your weekly menu. It’s time to pick up some avocados!

What’s your favorite avocado recipe?

Please feel free to share your thoughts below or on FB and Twitter.

Blog Signature

Featured post

Light and Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

Tapping the microphone.

Shaking the dust off my favorite pretty apron.

Clearing the throat. Ahem. AHEM!

Yes, I am still here!!

After a very long winter hiatus, I am back on the blog with a brand new recipe for my favorite day: Meatless Monday!

And while there isn’t a mic, there is a camera. Yes, an actual video camera helmed by my brother who chose me as the subject for his video documentary project for school.

Look ma..no hands!

So under the bright and glaring lights of the…uh tiny handheld camera, I awkwardly walked through this recipe for the one person who will watch this video (okay maybe two assuming my brother’s teacher actually sits through the whole thing) and put together a delicious meal. Altogether, not a bad way to get back into the food blogging game.

More to the point, this soup. This light and creamy Potato Leek soup is really exactly as advertised. And the roasted cabbage? A nice touch if I do say so myself.

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day which gave me an opportunity to do something a bit different while celebrating the holiday the proper way- sharing a pint of Guinness with someone dressed as a leprechaun with Irish food!

Corned beef, boiled potatoes, and cabbage never appealed to me plus it all seemed a bit obvious. Instead, I went for something simple, tasty, and quick while using quintessential Irish ingredients. The best part is I was able to make this whole meal for under $10. Save that pot of gold for something else..er..okay, and I’m done with silly St. Patty’s Day jokes.

A couple of notes before I get started with the recipe sharing business:

  • This is my first time cooking with leeks, but I was forewarned of the extra work involved. Leeks are veritable dirt traps so be sure to clean them properly before you use them in this or any recipe.
  • I couldn’t stand cabbage up until about a year ago. That was until I learned that cabbage could be absolutely wonderful if cooked with the right ingredients. I’d only ever had it raw in salads or cole slaw and it was usually too bitter for my tastebuds. Roasting them seemed a genius move and so simple. Plus they taste AH-MAZING!!!!
  • This recipe can be adapted for vegans by simply eliminating the sour cream. I actually debated this myself when I saw just how creamy the soup was after the vegetables were pureed. The sour cream adds another layer of richness without being overwhelming, but the soup was wonderful without it.
  • You’ll note the color of the soup is a little darker than normal. The vegetable stock I bought was tomato-based which I didn’t realize until I poured it out of the carton. This didn’t affect the flavor of the soup in a bad way, but just a heads up if you’re wondering why the shade seems off.

Now I normally include a nutrition factoids section in here, but I’m doing things a bit differently this time. Needless to say, my raison d’être remains the same: healthy cooking that doesn’t require a lot of fuss and is delicious. I think I accomplished that pretty well in my first pre-Spring go in the kitchen. 🙂

INGREDIENTS

Servings 6-8 people

Serving size, approx 1 cup

Soup

  • 2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (white and pale green parts only!)
  • 4-5 medium-sized yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 medium sized cabbage, 1″ thick slices
  • Olive Oil Spray (or 2 tsps olive oil)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare all vegetables by peeling, rinsing, and chopping as necessary. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

2. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch-oven and add onions, garlic and leeks once hot. Cook at medium-heat for about 10 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. DO NOT BROWN THE LEEKS!

3. Add the potatoes, stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to the onions. Stir everything together and reduce heat to a simmer. Place the lid and allow it to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

4. While the soup is simmering, prepare cabbage on an oiled rimmed baking sheet and season both sides. Place in 400°F oven and cook for 40 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Remove from oven once they’re caramelized and brown on the edges.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

5. Working in batches, carefully place soup in a blender (or food processor), filling it halfway. Do not seal completely, remove the plastic nozzle in the middle and cover with a kitchen towel. Pulse it for several seconds about 3 times before pureeing it completely. Do this for each batch and place the soup in a separate pot.

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

6. Turn the heat on to low and stir pureed soup for several minutes. If you’re going for a vegan version of this dish then you’re done! If not then add the sour cream and continue stirring until it’s completely incorporated. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

7. Serve up a bowl of soup with several pieces of roasted cabbage. Garnish with chopped spring onions. Done!

Light & Creamy Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Cabbage

I hope you enjoyed the recipe. I’ve slowly been making my way back into the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes and finding some of that creativity with food that I enjoy so much. This time I managed to get it on camera and onto this blog to share it with all of you, and I couldn’t be happier.

If you tried the recipe, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions below or on Facebook and Twitter!

recipe adapted from Eating Well magazine

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

Featured post

Caramelized Onion, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza

Welcome back to my summer recipe series!

There was no way I could do a series featuring the best of summer produce without strawberries. I went through dozen of recipe options, most of them in the dessert category, but after making my upside down cake earlier this spring, I decided to go for the challenge of a savory dish.

Now, let me be honest here. Things are bit hectic in my world at the moment. I’m back home from vacation and in between work, gym, writing, and school, my time is pretty limited. I had plans to take this recipe one step further by using a cauliflower crust, a challenge I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into since I wrote my cauliflower post earlier this year, but I needed to face facts that I couldn’t get it all done.

Even in summer, life can be crazy busy. Sigh.

This doesn’t mean that making a healthy and tasty meal in less than time then it takes to catch up on your email, is completely impossible. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. So, no excuses for me or for you!

My compromise comes in the form of one of my favorite quick go-to meals that allows me to be creative and practical all at once. It’s pizza time!

Not a terrible compromise if you ask me. 😉

I really love experimenting with pizza toppings to see what works and what doesn’t. Also, it’s a great way to utilize any extra vegetables (or fruit!) you have stocked up.

You can purchase pre-made dough pretty much anywhere these, days, instead of making your own. I decided to use the whole wheat dough I already had in my fridge, and build my own pizza creation with strawberries, goat cheese, caramelized onion, and….kale. Yes, kale. Why not?

This recipe is really just one version of many versions, but I strongly encourage you to have some fun with this and adapt with whatever ingredients strikes your fancy. Prefer arugula to kale? Go for it. Like brie instead of goat cheese? Go nuts. There are no rules here. Just don’t burn it. And share. Always share.

Onto the science!

NUTRITION FACTOIDS

strawberries

Vitamin C.  This super-vitamin seems to be a major player this week in the produce I’ve featured this week, only strawberries really outshine all the rest. One serving of strawberries (about 1 cup) yields…wait for it… 141% of your DV!!! Get all of the antioxidant and collagen building benefits with one serving and you’re set.

Anti-Aging Properties. Strawberries are a good source of biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails, while also improving your skin. Research suggests strawberries may also help reduce wrinkles due to the presence of the antioxidants that protect the elasticity in skin.

Heart Health. A recent Harvard study suggests that strawberries may significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease due to the presence of the anthocyanin.

Whiter Teeth. Strawberries are high in polyphenols which helps reduce the amount of plaque that develops on teeth from sugary foods, and fights the bacteria that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay.

Keep in mind that as awesome as strawberries (and berries in general) are, they are also very susceptible to pesticide and bacteria contamination due to the porous skin. Whether you buy organic or not, be sure to rinse the berries under water for at least two minutes prior to eating.

Onto the recipe!

SummerSer3 Banner

INGREDIENTS

  • Makes one 10-inch pizza
  • 4 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • ½ large red onion, sliced thinly
  • 10-12 large fresh basil leaves
  • ½ 4 ounce plain goat cheese log
  • ½ cup chopped kale
  • 1 fresh whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze (for garnish)

SummerSer3 Pic2

SummerSer3 Pic 1

SPECIAL TOOLS

  • Pizza stone or flat baking sheet
  • Medium sized nonstick pan

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Set oven to lowest rack and preheat oven to 450ºF.

2. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat and add onions. After 2-3 minutes add balsamic vinegar and reduce heat to low. Stir onions until they’ve softened completely and turned several shades darker, approximately 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

3. If you’re using store-bought dough, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Take a small amount of dough and spread it into a thin, even circle about 10 inches across on a sheet or pizza stone. Begin layering the toppings, starting with the fresh basil, followed by the onions, strawberries, goat cheese, and top with kale.

SummerSer3 Collage

4. Place sheet in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool for several minutes before cutting across. Add balsamic glaze across the top for garnish and then here comes the best part: you serve up a slice and eat it. 🙂

SummerSer3 Pic3

SummerSer3 Pic 4

Did you know?

Botanists don’t actually classify strawberries as berries. Other berries have their seeds on the inside, while strawberries have their yellow seeds on the outside. Oh, and those aren’t even seeds. They’re actually separate fruit in and of themselves. Crazy!!!

I’M NOT DONE YET. COME BACK TOMORROW FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF SUMMER KITCHEN FUN!! 🙂

Resources and Links:

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: