Wednesday, July 1, 2015

14 Amazing Avocado Recipes

From guacamole to avocado toast -- and beyond -- we found the most mouthwatering (and unexpected) ways to use everybody's favorite fruit

As far as we're concerned, the avocado is the Beatles of produce. The buttery fruit is a larger-than-life superstar, timeless and an inevitable crowd pleaser. (And, yes, rumors of a looming avocado shortage were throwing us into a panic -- until we realized we can freeze avocados.)

Avocados are packed with skin-enhancing healthy fats, plus nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including and vitamins A and C. Plus, eating half an avocado with lunch may help control hunger throughout the day, according to one 2014 study.

But if you're bored with guacamole (nearly impossible, we know), there are a number of other ways to put this green wonder fruit to good use. Here, 14 easy and healthy avocado recipes to try at home. 

1. Avocado Deviled Eggs

It's a shame that we only really get to enjoy deviled eggs once a year. But this twist on the classic recipe -- which adds avocado to the yolk filling -- deserves to be a year-round staple in your kitchen. 

6 peeled hard-boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado peeled and pitted
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, avocado, lime juice, mayonnaise, parsley and ground mustard, and mash using a potato masher or two forks until nice and creamy. Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients in a food processer and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add mixture into egg whites with a spoon or pastry bag. Garnish with chopped parsley. 

2. Homemade Five-Ingredient Guacamole

Sure, there are probably thousands of guacamole recipes to choose from, but we liked this one because of its simplicity. Why mess with a good thing? 

3 avocados, diced 
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 lime
Salt to taste

Pit and scrape out the middle of the avocados into a mixing bowl. Add the juice of one lime and mash them all up to the consistency you want. Mix in the tomatoes, garlic and salt. 

3. Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Toast With Balsamic Drizzle

This avocado toast recipe combines the best parts of summer (namely, avocado and ripe, heirloom tomatoes) on a slice of bread. Not only is it tasty, tomatoes are full of collagen-boosting vitamin C. 

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 slices hearty, seeded bread
2 small heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Make the balsamic reduction by heating the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the balsamic to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the balsamic vinegar has reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Slather each slice of bread with a drizzle of olive oil and toast. 

Evenly divide the avocado between the pieces of toast and use the back of a fork to smash the avocado. Layer the sliced tomatoes on top, sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Garnish with sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately. 

4. Creamy Jalapeño Avocado Dip

Step aside, guacamole -- there's a new avocado dip in town. This recipe balances the spiciness of jalapeño with cool, buttery avocado and cream cheese. 

8 ounces cream cheese
1 avocado
1/2 cup jalapeño, sliced (you can use jarred)
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Add more salt, garlic or jalapeños to taste. Use the milk or jalapeño juice to help blend. Chill before eating. Serve with chips or crackers. 

5. Avocado Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Avocado is perfect for topping a turkey sandwich or a burger, but it can also be the main event. Exhibit A: This mouthwatering avocado sandwich. 

4 slices wheat bread
1/4 cup pesto
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spread pesto over bread and layer with mozzarella, spinach, avocado and goat cheese. Top with the second bread slice. Transfer to skillet, and brown each side in olive oil over medium heat. Slice and serve. 

6. Avocado Ice Cream

Savory avocado may seem like an odd ice cream flavor, but trust us, the velvety result is divine. (Of course, you'll need an ice cream maker to pull off this recipe.) 

3 avocados
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt, 2% or higher
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (choose something with 60% or higher cacao solids) 

Slice avocados in half and remove pits. With a spoon, scoop the insides into a food processor in chunks. Add sugar, Greek yogurt, heavy cream, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. 

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. About 10 minutes before the freezing time is complete, add the chopped chocolate and continue to mix. Serve immediately (the mixture will have the consistency of soft serve), or freeze in an airtight container for up to 4 hours for a firmer consistency. 

7. Avocado Chicken Salad

Tired of traditional, mayo-drenched chicken salad? That's where this chicken avocado recipe comes in. The avocado adds creaminess and extra flavor, while loading your sandwich up with healthy fats. 

2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1 large avocado
3 tablespoons mayo (or more as needed) 
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the chicken, mayo, lime juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cut the avocado in half, pit and dice into small pieces. Scoop the avocado out into the bowl and stir all of the ingredients together until it has reached your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. 

8. Lemon Avocado Salad Dressing

You can top your salad with diced avocado, or you can whip up this easy avocado dressing recipe. 

1/3 cup mashed avocado 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 to 3 tablespoons water 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir vigorously until combined. 

9. Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Good news, chocoholics: You can throw together this avocado dessert in minutes. In addition to quelling your sweet tooth with this creamy, chocolaty pudding, you're saving yourself some calories by replacing some of the whole milk or heavy cream. 

2 ripe medium avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey or raw agave nectar (or other sweetener of choice) 
1/2 cup milk 
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a blender, food processor or using a handheld mixer until smooth. Serve immediately, or chill first. 

10. Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad

See ya later, lettuce. Avocado, antioxidant-rich tomatoes and hydrating cucumbers are the stars of this salad. 

For the salad:
1-1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces feta cheese, cubed
For the dressing: 
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill

Directions:Combine chopped tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced avocado, minced red onion, minced parsley and feta cubes to a bowl. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and black pepper in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently. 

11. Glowing Skin Smoothie

The blogger behind this avocado smoothie recipe swears it's the key to healthy-looking skin. And she could be onto something. After all, mango and pineapple are full of skin-enhancing vitamin C, and kale and spinach are nutrient powerhouses. 

1/2 cup plain coconut water
2 frozen ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup chopped pineapple (frozen or fresh) 
1 cup chopped mango (frozen or fresh) 
2 cups spinach or kale
1/2 avocado, sliced
Optional: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil

Put all of the ingredients in a strong, powerful blender in the order listed. Blend on high for at least 3 minutes, or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Add more coconut water if it's too thick. 

12. Bacon-Wrapped Avocado

This appetizer recipe features the union of perhaps the internet's two favorite foods. In other words, there's no way it can be bad, right? 

4 to 6 strips of bacon
1 large avocado
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and chili powder and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut open the avocado and remove the pit. Slice about 3/4-inch slices lengthwise, and then cut through the middle to cut all of the slices in half so that you have short, thick chunks of avocado. 

Cut each slice of bacon in 3 to 5 pieces, and wrap each piece around the avocado. Roll in the brown sugar mixture and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to a platter and stick a toothpick in each for serving. 

13. Baked Avocado Fries

Meet your new favorite side dish or appetizer. 

3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs 
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on the sheet. Set aside. Slice avocados lengthwise. Set up three bowls. In the first bowl, place the flour, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Crack the eggs into the middle bowl and beat lightly. In the last bowl, combine the panko and melted butter and mix with your fingers to coat. Add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. 

Dredge each avocado slice through the flour and then the beaten egg. Coat thoroughly with the panko, and place on the wire rack. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until panko is lightly browned. Cool for about 10 minutes and serve with the dipping sauce of choice. 

14. Eggs Baked in Avocado Boats

This recipe's presentation alone is sure to impress even the most discerning brunch guest. 

1 avocado
2 eggs
Ground black pepper to taste
Fine-grain sea salt to taste
Chopped parsley to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Halve the avocado and scoop out enough meat to fit the raw egg, but leave as much as possible. Using two bowls, separate the egg yolk from the whites. 

Place the avocado halves on two ramekins. Fill the avocado halves with the yolk first, then add the egg whites. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks. Garnish with chopped parsley. 

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