Well “ode” may be a bit dramatic but some of my fondest memories are of sitting on the kitchen stool, watching my grandmother neatly slice up an avocado, admiring the cool green color as she tossed it on top of some lettuce, used it as a plate garnishment or smashed it on a piece of bread.
I love avocados! Sure they are a little heavy on the bottom, more often than not misunderstood for being moody and can get downright nasty if not taken care of properly. None-the-less, my love affair with avocados goes way back – firmly rooted in my Jamaican heritage. From the slices flavored with only salt and pepper that my grandmother would hand feed me as a kid to the more extravagant dishes that I now serve as an adult, avocados add a splash of color and flavor to every meal.
In fact, in Jamaica, avocados are often used in multiple ways in one sitting – as a substitute for cheese or butter, or as a vegetable, side dish or salad topping. In some other countries, avocados are treated as fruits and are often used in drinks.
My mouth still waters with anticipation at the thought of a piece of avocado accidentally mixing with my rice and peas. But I digress …
What I learned from my Jamaican mother and grandmother who are avocado lovers themselves is that nothing is wrong with a little avocado. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are four more reasons to fall in love with the avocado.
- Avocados are super healthy for you. Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, which is the “good” fat found in olive oil. Avocados are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and copper. Plus, half of a medium avocado has more potassium than a banana. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
- Avocados make for healthy party food. Add it to sandwiches, burgers, salads, and soups or make some yummy guacamole.
- Avocados are versatile. The creamy, buttery, nutty flavor of avocado makes it a great substitute for dairy products like butter and cheese. You can make avocado smoothies. Or take an avocado, mash it up with some eggs whites and honey, and use it as a homemade beauty mask for dry skin.
- Avocados make you feel good. They boost your serotonin levels, so eating them is a great way to beat depression.
But as I said, avocados are often unpredictable so here are some hints to make avocados kitchen-friendly:
- It’s best to ripen avocados on the counter or in a brown bag but never in the refrigerator. I usually buy a green avocado and stick it next to my bananas to ripen. By the time I finish the ripe one I have in the fridge, the new one is ready for me to use, eat and enjoy.
- A cut avocado can be prevented from turning brown by leaving the pit inside and squeezing some lemon or lime juice on the green parts.
- To remove the pit of an avocado easily, carefully stab it with a sharp knife and twist to remove.
Now on to the fun part … RECIPES!
Black Bean Stuffed Avocados
This is one of my hands down, all-time favorite quick meals. It takes 10 minutes tops using canned ingredients. Now you can always make your spicy black beans and pico de gallo from scratch, but I love EDEN Organic Spicy Refried Black Beans, the pico de gallo from the fresh section of your favorite grocery store and queso fresco, which is a traditional Mexican cheese.
- 4 ripe avocados
- spicy black beans
- pico de gallo
- queso fresco
- tortillas (optional)
Split your avocados in half & remove the pit. Fill each avocado with beans and top with pico de gallo, sprinkle with queso fresco and serve with warm tortillas.
Avocado, Onion and Tomato Salad For One~
I think avocados add a dimension and flavor to salads that I often crave so this salad is easy to make and will make your mouth smile!
- 1 large tomato, sliced in thick slices
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 slices red onion
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- sprig of fresh tarragon
- 1 T fruity olive oil
- 1/2 tsp champagne vinegar
Put tomatoes, avocado and sliced onion on a small plate, sprinkle with tarragon leaves and dress with the olive oil and vinegar. Add kosher or sea salt and some pepper to taste. The olive oil is really the key and main flavor so add more to taste and make sure it’s good and fruity to complement the freshness of the other ingredients.
Jamaican Chilled Avocado Soup with Fresh Ginger and Lime Crema
This soup just feels like home to me and the best part is that I don’t have to be on the beaches of Montego Bay to enjoy it and neither do you. It can be served before the main meal or as the entrée itself.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 ounce)
- 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
- 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- Salt and freshly grated black pepper
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions for about 4 minutes, until softened. Add the ginger and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the avocado, lime juice, and chicken stock and whisk to combine. Simmer soup over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the green onion and transfer the soup to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary, until very smooth. Stir in the half-and-half and salt and pepper, to taste. Chill thoroughly before serving.
To make the lime crema, stir together the sour cream, lime juice, garlic, and salt. When the soup has chilled, garnish each portion with a generous dollop of crema.