I have been using avocado like it's going out of style. When I make a salad dressing, the oil in the recipe gets replaced by half of a ripe avocado. Smoothies take on an extra special smoothie-ness with an avocado. Baked goods like corn bread, muffins, rolls and cookies (sweetened naturally with honey, of course) are super moist and bind well when I add an avocado and ground flax seed to replace the oil and egg in the recipe.
Avocado can get a bad wrap at times because of its fat content; however, when used as a whole food, avocado has many fantastic health benefits. This Mercola.com article lists many beneficial nutrients such as potassium, fiber, vitamins B and E, folic acid and many more. While being rich in nutrients, it also has been shown to have protective and restorative properties for the liver as well as cancer fighting properties. Don't use processed avocado oil, unless you put it on your skin! There are many great phytochemicals to benefit from when you eat the whole food!
But wait, there's more! Avocado does not need to be organic to be healthy! You can buy conventionally grown avocados and not worry about pesticides. The fruit's thick skin is like a coat of armor against pests. It isn't armor for people, though! When cutting open an avocado, use a sharp knife to divide it from stem to blossom end all the way around the pit. Twist and pull into two halves. To free the retained pit from one of the halves, just use your sharp knife to "karate chop" into the pit. Now rotate the knife and the pit is free. Just use a big spoon and scoop out the avocado flesh.
I have a dressing and guaca-salsa recipe to share with you at the bottom of this post, but I also thought it would be good to post this little video from the Mercola article mentioned above. Before the video, I never thought to combine coconut cream with avocado to make a whipped topping!
Avocado Uses and Health Benefits
Balsamic Vinaigrette ~ my favorite dressing!
1/2 cup water
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
2 T honey or maple syrup
1 T raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 T dehydrated sweet red bell pepper or 1/2 red pepper roasted and peeled
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed until smooth and has a creamy texture. The size of your avocado may require you to add more water in order to thin the dressing to desired consistency, up to 1/2 cup more water. Store in air tight container and refrigerate. This keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.
This next recipe is not original to me. A friend made up something similar one day to bring to a pot luck lunch. It went well with all of the other fresh foods that we ate in combination. It makes a great salad topping and substitute for dressing. It is also amazing on oat burgers, bean burgers and veggie tacos.
Easy Guac-salsa ~ a great salad or bean dish topping
2 ripe avocados, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped in small pieces
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 large lime
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Toss ingredients together and serve. *Spice it up with some chili powder or cayenne if desired. You can also stir in some cooked quinoa and eat this like a main dish.