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Love it or hate it, avocado recipes are everywhere at the moment.  Sure, most of us will have heard of avocado toast (even if they don’t quite get it) and it is famous for its part in guacamole.  But there’s a lot more you can do with this trendy food.

Understand the avocado

The avocado is thought to have started life in Central Mexico although most of the current commercial fruit come from the Mediterranean areas.  The tree is part of the same family as the laurel and also cinnamon and there are dozens of different types of avocado available.  All have that rich and creamy texture and mild flavour.

There are two main types available in the UK – the Hass and the Fuerte.  The Hass comes from Guatemala and has a dark purple pebbled skin, oval in shape.  The Fuerte has a thinner, brighter green skin and it less oily and less creamy in flavour.  The skin is also softer, and this fruit takes longer to ripen.  Most people favour the Hass of the two.  Other popular varieties available around the world include the Gwen, Lula, Pinkerton, Brogden, Ettinger and Zutano.

avocado recipes

Why is everyone obsessed with avocados?

There is some very solid reasoning behind the obsession with all things avocado – these fruits contain a lot of good stuff.  They were once shied away from because they contain a lot of fats, but experts now recognise these are monounsaturated fats (the good ones) although they do contain a lot of calories due to this.  Hence the reason that people living on the stuff are not getting a healthy diet.  Most dieticians recommend two avocados a week alongside other fruits and vegetables.

Avocados also have more soluble fibre than any other fruit as well as useful minerals and vitamins including (per 100g serving):

  • 26% RDA Vitamin K
  • 20% RDA folate
  • 17% RDA Vitamin C
  • 14% RDA Potassium – more than in a banana at 10% RDA
  • 14% RDA Vitamin B5
  • 13% RDA Vitamin B6
  • 10% RDA Vitamin E
  • Small amounts of magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, Vitamins A, B1, B2 and B3

Studies have shown that avocados can help to lower cholesterol levels in the body, helping to combat heart disease, the more common disease in the world.  It can significantly reduce cholesterol levels as well as reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%, lowering LDL cholesterol by 22% and increasing HDL (the good stuff) by 11%.

The fruit is also filled with antioxidants and we all know how beneficial they can be.  Well, if you don’t they can combat free radicals that can help with the effects of ageing, eye health, heart disease and even reduce the risk of some cancers.

Avocado recipes

When you get an avocado, the best way to eat it is perfectly ripe.  To get this, leave it at room temperature and test occasionally.  When ripe it should feel slightly soft when you press on it.  Don’t put them in the fridge until they are ripe and when you do open them, you can put a little lemon juice on them to stop them going brown.

But what you can do with an avocado, apart from guacamole and that toast idea?

Chilled Cucumber Avocado with Fresh Dill Soup

Chilled soups are perfect for warmer months when you want all that goodness but not always a warm dish.  This is a no-cook dish that just needs a good blender to create the creamy, smooth consistency.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • ½ medium avocado, peeled and seeded
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 T. fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • optional: sprigs of fresh dill and/or sliced cucumber for garnish

Add all the ingredients to a blender (or a food processor) and blend until smooth.  If the mixture is a little thick, use a little more stock to thin it then add the seasonings.  Leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.  Add sprigs of fresh dill and a few slices of cucumber to decorate or even add some ground cumin and cooked, chilled shrimp if you like.

Avocado Vegetable Dip

This is a great dip to serve with crudities such as carrot or celery sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets or even with a favourite bread.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli
  • 1/2 cup fresh cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 (6 oz. pkg.) dry Italian salad dressing mix

Peel, pit and mash the avocados then chop the remaining vegetables fine and add to the bowl.  Separately, mix the lemon juice and salad dressing mix and add sour cream then blend.  You could also use a pre-made salad dressing if you prefer.  If the dip is a little thick, a little milk can thin it.  add to the vegetables and fold in then cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

BLT with Creamy Avocado Spread

Makes 2 sandwiches

Basic Sandwich Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough bread
2 T. melted butter
8 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
2 medium heirloom tomatoes (red and yellow if you can find them)
6 slices of cooked bacon (not too crispy)
salt and pepper, to taste

Avocado Spread Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado, skin removed and seeded, cut into small chunks
½ cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 ½ T. fresh lime juice (approximately ½ lime)
1 ½  t. ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

For the avocado spread, place the avocado, Greek yogurt, and garlic in a glass bowl and combine thoroughly with a fork. It is okay to leave some small chunks of avocado in the mixture. Add the lime juice and cumin, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to give the flavors a chance to meld. Adjust seasonings a final time before adding to the sandwich.

Brush one side of each piece of bread with melted butter. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and place bread, buttered side down, on pan. Apply light pressure to each slice with a spatula, being careful to not move the bread in the process. Once nice grill marks have formed, remove the bread from the pan and turn off the heat.

Allow bread to cool slightly, then add avocado spread to 2 of the slices on the non-grilled side. Top with lettuce, tomato and bacon slices before adding the top piece of bread. Cut in half and serve with your favourite side dish or chips.

What’s your favourite avocado dish?  I’d love to hear about it!

Avocados are very popular at the moment and with good reason – there’s lots of good stuff in them.  Find out about avocado benefits and recipes including healthy avocado recipes, soup and dips – there’s more than avocado toast and guacamole! #avocado #avocadorecipes #healthrecipes #souprecipe #blt #diprecipe