The Avocado: Thinking Outside Guacamole



That buttery, rich mouth feel of a fresh avocado can't be beat! It has been a mainstay in Mexico and Central and South America since 500 B.C., and it has found its way into the hearts (and stomachs) of many of us ever since.  Its "good for us" fats, amazing high fiber content and all its vitamins and minerals should give us comfort in knowing it is nourishing to both our body as well our soul.





FIve Avocado Fillings In Five Minutes 

If an avocado is sitting idle on your counter top and you have only a few minutes to spare to get a light meal on your table, here are some ideas to get your imagination going.  Guacamole is always a great choice, but all these fillings come together in a snap, and the avocado half serves as nature's own serving bowl.  How great is that?  Leave the avocado intact and serve two luscious halves each with another vegetarian side or two and you have a great vegetarian meal before you.



For each of these fillings, two avocados halves are needed (which makes one serving).  Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit and leave the skin intact.  No need to take the time to peel.  (Read further in the post about what lies below the skin's surface on this green gem.) Then, stuff with your filling of choice.

Black Sesame with Mango

Gather
  • 1/2 cup chopped mango
  • 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds


Now do this
  • Mix the first three ingredients together and fill the avocado halves.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.



Micro Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette

Gather
  • drizzle of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of a lemon
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato diced
  • 1 cup micro greens of choice (pea shoots, broccoli, spinach, etc.)


Now do this
  • Combine first five ingredients and mix well.
  • Toss greens and tomato with dressing and stuff avocado halves.



Chimichurri Zucchini 

The zucchini and onion can be served raw or lightly sautéed in this filling.  Your preference.

Gather
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 small zucchini minced, either raw or lightly sautéed
  • 1/8 cup red onion minced, either raw or lightly sautéed

Now do this
  • Combine first six ingredients and mix well.  
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Toss with zucchini and red onion and fill avocado halves.



Eggs in Tomato Sauce 

Gather

Now do this
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon marinara sauce into avocado half.
  • Crack 1 egg into each half.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until eggs are set to your liking.



Chipotle Jack


Gather
  • 4 tablespoons grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 whole chipotle chili in adobe sauce (depending on your desired heat level), minced
  • juice of a lime
  • sprinkle of salt 


Now do this
  • Mix the first two ingredients together and fill in the avocado halves.  
  • Sprinkle with the salt.
  • Place under the broiler until bubbly.
  • Squeeze the lime over the top.


Dig Deep for the Real Scoop

An advantage of these recipes with these fillings is that you are leaving the avocado whole and it does not require peeling -  time saver indeed.  But an additional bonus is you get to take advantage of the high nutrient value in the dark green flesh right under the skin.  Research has shown that the greatest concentration of carotenoids in avocado occurs in the dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin.
So, remember to dig deep and scrape off as much as you can to partake in this healthy elixer!



The Right Peel

Should you decide to peel and not serve your avocado in its skin, try your best to not slice into that dark green portion any more than necessary when you are peeling your fruit. For this reason, the best method is as follows:

  • Cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. 
  • Hold both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they separate. 
  • Remove the seed.
  • Cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. 
  • Much like a banana, grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, leaving the avocado with most of the dark green layer so rich in carotenoid antioxidants!














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