Avocados are a near perfect food. They are creamy, versatile, nutritious and, dare I say, decadent (a rare adjective to apply to something so healthy). That said, a common complaint among the dieter set is that these green wonders are just too fatty to be eaten daily and in large quantities. While it is true that, by vegetable standards, avocados are quite fatty, it is important to note that not all fats are created equal. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart attack and improve brain function. In addition, avocados contain Vitamins E (an antioxidant) and B6 (which promotes healthy skin).
Here are 20 easy and delicious ways to prepare meals using avocados:
Halve an avocado and remove the pit. Pour a raw egg into the indent left by the pit and bake until the egg is cooked through. Serve with salsa.
Avocado on Toast
Replace the butter or cream cheese that you would normally slather on your morning toast with avocado and sprinkle with sea salt.
Take your favorite pancake recipe (and, no, we are not talking about the just add water mixes) and replace all but a tablespoon or two of the oil or butter with avocado puree, simultaneously reducing saturated fat and adding some vitamins.
Make a creamy and delicious superfood smoothie with avocado, kiwi, lime, a handful of kale and a drizzle of honey.
Throw together a simple breakfast pizza in a hurry by layering together a tortilla, some mashed avocado (or guacamole) and a fried egg. Top it off with some hot sauce or a squeeze of lime.
Replace the majority of the mayo in typical egg salad with pureed avocado for a nutritious and filling take on an old favorite.
Smashed Chick Peas and Avocado
For a completely animal-free alternative to egg salad, blend chick peas and avocado in a food processor with some lime juice and cilantro. Serve as the filing of a sandwich.
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad
Toss some grilled chicken and avocado slices into a salad of baby spinach. Serve with the chopped up fruit of your choice and a vinaigrette salad dressing.
Tuna and Avocado
You may be noticing a pattern here. Avocado is an excellent replacement for other, less healthy fats. Try replacing all the mayonnaise in traditional tuna salad with mashed avocado. Add a pinch of sugar for some added sweetness.
In a food processor, puree cooked zucchini and green onion with avocado and vegetable broth. Season with cilantro and lime juice.
Combine grilled shrimp, black beans, fresh cilantro, avocado and lime juice into tacos. Serve with some salsa verde.
Make a creamy pasta sauce without the cheese by mixing pureed avocado with lemon juice, basil, garlic and olive oil. Serve over spaghetti.
Prepare a rough chopped salsa of avocado, red onion, hot peppers, lime juice and olive oil. Dollop on top of baked salmon. Serve on a bed of brown rice.
Blend together in a food processor, avocados, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix into cooked elbow macaroni and add butter and grated Parmesan cheese until you reach the desired taste and consistency.
Grilled Shrimp, Mango and Avocado Skewers
Put shrimp, large chunks of mango and avocado on wooden skewers. Brush with terriyaki sauce and grill until cooked through. Serve with rice.
Avocado Ice Cream
Freeze a couple of peeled avocado slices and blend them with honey or simple syrup to make an ice cream.
Combine coconut milk, melted chocolate and pureed avocados to make this delicious pudding.
Whip together in a food processor avocado, sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Chill and serve.
These brownies replace the egg with pureed avocado.
What happens when you cross a banana cream pie with a popular green Mexican condiment? It sounds gross but it tastes great.
Featured photo credit: Avocado/Liz West via flickr.com