H’av-ocado

AvocadoPhoto_thumb

 

For those of you that know me you will know I am never far from an avocado… I often have them on my desk, in my handbag or rolling around the kitchen counter. I am currently working on a post about the health benefits of avocado so watch out for that but in the mean time I wanted to share some of my favourite ways of eating avocado.

Firstly, it makes a brilliant breakfast! I love it on toast since the texture of a ripe avocado is buttery and this is why avocado makes an excellent replacement for butter in healthy baking (perfect for dairy-free or vegan cooking). Seasoned with freshly ground salt and pepper, a sprig of basel and a few roasted cherry tomatoes makes a divine and filling breakfast. Another breakfast idea is using a firm avocado slice as a replacement for bread in eggs Benedict which is perfect for those following a gluten-free or Paleo diet. Eggs and avocado is a delicious and nutritious combination!

One of my favourite avocado recipes is avocado stuffed with prawns and this makes a brilliant dinner party starter. I like to add finely chopped tomato and red onion and drizzle with lime juice. Beetroot, salads or rice dishes also make good a stuffing. Another good starter or a light refreshing dinner on a hot summer evening is avocado and cucumber gazpacho – simply blend avocado, cucumber, vegetable stock, onion, garlic, coriander, lemon juice and seasoning and refrigerate for an hour before serving. Cherry tomato or sun-dried tomato and avocado kebabs make a great side dish at a BBQ. If you are not dairy-free, adding feta or mozzarella to these kebabs is a yummy addition.

My inner food obsessed Italian is a lover of pasta and pasta dishes are another great way to use avocados. The softness of ripe avocados is a wonderful alternative to more traditional sauces made with cream and the characteristic soft flavour of avocado goes brilliantly with a wide range of ingredients. One delicious pasta dish combines prawns, pine nuts, lime zest, chilli, and chopped coriander with a creamy avocado sauce. Pancetta, peas and parmesan shavings is another yummy option. If you are gluten free you can use brown rice or quinoa pasta.

Avocados are also a brilliant ingredient in healthy yet deliciously satisfying desserts. I’ve mentioned using avocado in baking but avocados can also be used to make a divine chocolate mousse which combines the creamy rich texture of ripe avocado with the intensely chocolately taste of cacao. Adding coconut oil adds an extra punch of fantastic nutrition. Raw honey, maple syrup or agave can be used to sweeten the mousse. Another good dessert recipe is frozen lime and avocado tartlets which are made by blending ripe avocado, ripe banana and lime juice in a blender until smooth creamy, adding this mixture to pre-baked tartlet cases and freezing for a few hours before serving. These can be served garnished with berries and a sprig of mint. Avocado can also be used to make a healthy and divinely creamy dairy-free ice-cream.

Avocados are also fantastic in smoothies – try blending ripe avocado with coconut milk and adding either cashew or a nut butter for a nutty avocado smoothie, frozen berries or tropical fruits like pineapple and mango for a deliciously sweet and fruity smoothie or cacao for a silky chocolate avocado smoothie.  For more vegetable based smoothies (so lower in sugar) try blending with spinach, cucumber and mint leaves.

Breakfasts, starters, soups, sides, main dishes and desserts. When it comes to the avocado the options are endless… Oh and did I mention that the avocado is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet…? So maybe chuck one in your handbag too…

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