If there’s one thing I hate it’s food waste. So imagine my horror at the recent U.S. embargo on avocados from Mexico. Thanks to a series of violent incidents and threats against a U.S. plant inspector, avocado imports from Mexico were halted. Avocados are highly perishable, so the end result would have been an appalling waste of perfectly good avocados.
Fortunately the embargo was cancelled a week later, but the situation got me thinking about avocados in general.
- In 2021, 92% of avocados consumed in U.S. came from Mexico (California supplies the rest).
- Avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable.
- Avocados are of course vegetarian and vegan.
- Nutritionally speaking, one avocado has about:
- 240 calories
- 3 grams protein
- 22 grams fat, mostly monounsaturated (like olive oil)
- 10 grams fiber
- significant lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants important for eye health) and potassium
- many other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and iron
- They taste good.
- You don’t need to cook them.
Cooking avocados?? Why would you do that? An ongoing cooking fad involves sticking Health Halo ingredients into dessert recipes. Beet Chocolate Cake is one example. Avocado brownies are another. Again, why? Avocados don’t make the brownies ‘healthier’. Plus they end up with a weird flavor, possibly leading to food waste, which I hate.
Some other weird ideas that I will never attempt include avocado whipped cream, ice cream, tempura (that’s cooking!), grilled (also cooking). What next, avocado frosting? Don’t laugh, it’s been done.
10 Ways To Use Avocados
There are plenty of ways to use avocados in their preferred just-ripe state:
- Guacamole. Guac can be incredibly simple — just mash up some avocado with a splash of lemon or lime juice and some salt. Or it can be more complex — add minced garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, chopped tomatoes/scallions/jalapeno, minced cilantro. Some recipes I’ve seen add sour cream or mayonnaise, which dilutes the lovely avocado flavor and just adds more fat. Why would you do that?
- Avocado Toast. The latest thing in breakfast. It’s a nice way to use avocado and adds healthy fats to your toast. Add a slice of cheese or sprinkle some sunflower seeds for protein.
- Chopped in salads. All manner of salads are improved with avocado, from tossed greens to hearty grain salads. One of my favorite uses is in a black bean summer salad.
- Stuffed avocados: Put the salad in the avocado half. A great way to serve a high protein salad like tuna, shrimp, salmon, crab or chicken.
- Avocado Deviled Eggs: Peel and halve 6 hard boiled eggs and remove the yolks. Mash with 1/2 avocado, season with cayenne, salt, a dash of lime juice. Spoon the mixture into the egg white halves.
- Avocado on sandwiches: Spread avocado on the bread in place of mayonnaise or butter. Or just add slices. Goes great with just about everything, from cheese to sliced meat, bacon, canned sardines, smoked fish or tuna salad. Bacon-Avocado-Lettuce-Tomato, yum!
- Avocados on burgers. The burger is already high protein, so add avocado instead of cheese.
- Add chopped avocado to burritos, wraps and nachos.
- Blend avocado into salad dressing recipes. The recipes I’ve found look like watered down guacamole, sometimes with actual water, sometimes with yogurt.
- Blend avocado into smoothies. Not my favorite thing to do, but works for some smoothie aficionados. Keep in mind, it adds healthy fats to the smoothie, but does not add protein.
The official Avocados From Mexico website has ideas for guacamole variations, in addition to Health Halo recipes like avocado pound cake and avocado sundaes.
Avocados are perishable. Once they’re ripe, you need to use them in a timely manner. Dab unused halves with a bit of lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.