Updated: Jul 20, 2018
There's no denying that #avocadotoast is probably the best thing invented since sliced bread (ha!), but did you know that avocados can be used in so many other, versatile ways? From smoothies to baking substitutes to dressings and sauces and everything in between, this fruit is one of my favorites because there is no shortage of ways to use it! I know you're curious about how to use this fruit in ways other than mashing on toast (not that avocado toast will ever get boring, but it's fun to change things up - and you don't want to miss out on the other tasty ways to enjoy avocado)!
Fact: Smoothies made with avocados are the creamiest. Okay, maybe it depends, but avocado smoothies are seriously creamy and dreamy! Also, avocados are full of good-for-you fats and contain fewer carbohydrates than many other fruit options, which is a unique trait for a fruit, and pairs well with a fruit-based smoothie. This is beneficial since consuming fat with carbohydrates (such as fruit) helps to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream (so basically, consuming fat and sugar together means more stable blood sugar levels than consuming carbohydrates alone). Also, the fat content of the avocado increases the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in the smoothie! Avocados can also typically be substituted for yogurt in a smoothie for consistency purposes, which is a great way to make a smoothie dairy-free for those who prefer! Stumped finding ways to incorporate avocados into your smoothies? Try this simple Spinach Mango Avocado smoothie - a go-to simple snack or meal of mine!
Ingredients (yields 1 serving)
*If consuming as a small snack, make one for now and one for later -save half in an airtight container in the fridge for the next day!
2-3 ice cubes
1 large handful spinach (about 1 1/2 C)
1/2 C mango chunks, frozen
1/2 banana, sliced (slightly brown bananas make for sweeter smoothie additions)
1 C milk or milk alternative (if choosing a milk alternative, opt for unsweetened)
2-3 drops vanilla extract
Pulse ice in blender until crushed. Add avocado, spinach, mango, banana, milk (or milk alternative) and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth, approximately 30-45 seconds. Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:
Calories 364 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Carbohydrates 50 g, Fiber 11 g, Protein 13 g, Sodium 174 mg, Calcium 368 mg
*Note: Analysis uses skim milk.
2. Sauces and Dressings
Similar to the creamy factor that avocados add to smoothies, they also make for an amazing, creamy sauce or dressing. Also, while many creamy sauces and dressings contain milk or cream, this fruit adds creaminess without the dairy, meaning it's suitable for those avoiding dairy (such as those who may be lactose intolerant, vegan, or allergic to dairy). Next time you think making a homemade dressing seems overwhelming, try this simple recipe:
Ingredients (yields ~ 2/3 C, or 6 servings)
*store in airtight container in fridge and use within 5 days
1/4 C olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 Tbsp lemon juice)
1 tsp mustard (I prefer spicy brown mustard, but any mustard should work)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Place all ingredients in food processor (this will fit in a mini food processor, if you have one). Blend until smooth and creamy - dressing should be liquid, with a thick/creamy consistency. Chill in fridge in airtight container for at least 1 hour prior to serving, and shake well before using.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving = 2 Tbsp)
Calories 110 calories, Total Fat 12 grams, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates2 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 0 g, Sodium 107 mg, Calcium 3 mg
3. Baking/Sweets Ingredient
Avocados are a great substitute when baking, since they add a creamy consistency while packing in fiber, vitamins and minerals. While it's important to understand that avocados are, themselves, a fat source, they are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. This means that, while substituting avocados for a different source of fat may not result in fewer calories, the type of fat may be more healthful, depending on the swap. From avocado brownies to chilled chocolate mousse, there is no shortage of ways to highlight (or disguise) avocados in sweets and baked goods. Check out my favorite summer dessert, my homemade chocolate avocado mousse, here!
4. Vehicle for a Dish (Avocado Boats)
Avocados aren't just delicious- they're also a pretty serving piece that happens to be functional (er, edible)! Scooping out the pit allows for the perfect space to fill with, well, anything you'd like! From egg-filled avocado boats for brunch, to chicken or tuna salad filled lunches, to ceviche-filled boats for dinner, you can swap out the center for anything you feel like eating! I may be biased, but I think my simple Avocado-Tomato-Mozzarella Boats are one of the prettiest side dishes or hors d'oeuvres for entertaining!
5. Condiment Replacement
Avocados are a great swap for other condiments, such as mayo and other creamy condiments. The creamy texture stays the same, but avocados are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious option. Some ideas for using avocado in place of other condiments include:
Tuna salad made with avocado
Salmon salad made with avocado
Egg salad made with avocado
Using avocado as a sandwich spread
Swapping about 1/2 mayo for avocado in an aioli recipe
Swapping cheese for avocado in eggs and other main dishes
Avocado toast is still a tried and true favorite - and for good reason. However, switching it up and finding different ways to use this nutritious food is definitely fun and tasty! What are your favorite ways to use avocado??