My father has always been big on gardening. Growing up in the northeast, I remember our family home having a huge garden of pumpkins, zucchini, scallions, and tomatoes - all harvested by Dad after several months of care and patience.
Upon moving to California, he felt completely spoiled by all of the region-specific vegetables and fruits he was able to plant. We had fig trees, lemon tree, artichokes, mint, and parsley - but perhaps his most beloved plant was his avocado tree.
Not only the main ingredient for your favorite guacamole, the avocado provides plenty of good nutrition among all of that creamy, buttery flavor. In each serving, the avocado boasts 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats, and 7 grams of fiber. It also provides about a quarter of the daily recommended values of Vitamin K and folate, both vital in heart and bone health.
If that's not enough to convince you to slice open an avocado, here are some terrific recipes that highlight its versatility as a sweet, a savory, and even a breakfast smoothie!
Adapted From Elephantastic Vegan
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 1/2 avocados
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
1/3 rice syrup, agave nectar, or maple syrup
Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Cut the avocados in half, take out the pit, and spoon out the avocado flesh. Put the avocado flesh in a food processor together with the lemon juice, and blend until it's a perfectly smooth avocado cream. Open the coconut milk can upside down. Save the coconut water for a different recipe or for a smoothie. Spoon out the coconut cream, and whip it in a bowl with an electrical hand mixer until it's a nice, soft coconut whipped cream. Mix in the avocado cream and the rice syrup, and mix again until incorporated. Put the ice cream in a freezer safe dish. Place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours. If it is too hard to spoon out after 4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for a minute or two. Enjoy!
Adapted From Bon Appetit
MAKES 1 SERVING
1/3 of a cucumber
Fresh lime juice, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 slice of sourdough bread
1 - 2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 of an avocado
1 tablespoon olive oil
Season thinly sliced cucumber with fresh lime juice, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Spread toasted sourdough bread with tahini, and top with smashed avocado; season with salt and pepper. Top with cucumber and a drizzle of olive oil.
Adapted From Fit Foodie Finds
MAKES 1 SERVING
1 cup frozen banana, sliced
3 dates, pitted
4 - 6 leaves of mint
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
1 cup almond milk
Place ingredients in a blender or magic bullet and blend until smooth.