All hail the almighty avocado! This delicious fruit (yes, it's a fruit!) is ubiquitous in Latin kitchens. From breakfast to dessert, you can find this green gem in every plate. Sliced onto omelets, layered into sandwiches, mashed into chunky dips, pureed into puddings and cakes. Smooth, luscious, even a little decadent, the avocado is a prized part of the Latin pantry and a much welcomed addition to any dish.
It also has tremendous health benefits. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that eating a moderate fat diet that includes fresh avocado may lower cholesterol levels more than eating a moderate fat diet without avocado. This is important news for Latinos and timely news for all, as February is National Heart Health Month and cardiovascualar disease is the #1 killer of Hispanics.
With its positive health impact and fantastic flavor, avocados should be a part of every diet. To help you incorporate them into your daily routine, here's a collection of our favorite avocado recipes, from smooth to chunky, sweet to salty! Just grab one of our favorite avocado scoops to cut down on prep time and head into the kitchen.
This simple guacamole recipe, from Season 3 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time, is featured on the menu at Rick Bayless' Chicago-based Xoco.
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 ripe avocados, preferably the black-skinned Hass
- 1 small white onion (fresh knob onion—green tops still on—is best), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- hot fresh green chiles to taste, stems removed
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh Mexican herbs (such as cilantro, pipisa, or papalo)
- queso fresco and sliced radishes, for garnish
There are a lot of flavors coming together in this pasta dish, but they all harmonize perfectly with each other. The entire meal leans heavily on the Latin cuisine with a hint of Italian influence. The avocado sauce is rich and creamy, and goes well with the pasta, and the garlicky shrimp harmonizes the entire dish.
This Strawberry Avocado Smoothie mixes vitamin C-rich strawberry and coconut water (chock full of electrolytes) with avocado. High in vitamin E and healthy fats, this a perfect way to start your day.
- 1 1/4 cups frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1/2 ripe medium avocado
- 1/2 cup coconut water
"Pairing buttery avocados with tender hearts of palm is a tradition in my family for special occasions. Cherry tomatoes and corn make the salad even more alluring, and pumpkin seeds add a nutty crunch. Serve as a main dish with a side of toast or pita bread, or serve as a side dish to chicken, meat, or fish. No one who has tried it at my home or in my class has ever left without the recipe."
- 3 tablespoons hulled raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican) or 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Crab and Avocado Cakes are comprised of the same ingredients commonly used in seafood salads enjoyed along the Gulf of Mexico. Packed with sweet and salty morsels of crab, crunchy bread crumbs, and lumps of cool, buttery avocado, Crab and Avocado Cakes need only few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice in order to achieve perfection.
These cold treats unexpectedly combine savory avocados with sweet coconut milk for a refreshingly exotic dessert with a tropical twist. If you don’t have ice pop molds, use disposable cups. Simply freeze for 30 minutes, then add the popsicle sticks, and return to freezer.
Avocado is in every bite of this decadent dessert, it adds a creamy touch to tequila-laced ice cream as well as a rich component to chocolate brownies spiced with chile.
This dish can be served as a guacamole with chips or even as a pineapple-avocado salad appetizer.
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced (10-12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, minced, including seeds
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large or 4 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced (1/2 inch sizes)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
Salsa doesn’t have to clobber you with spiciness or overpower your palate in order to be considered authentic. Of course, salsa shouldn’t be bland either, but should act as an enhancement to your main dish. Our Creamy Avocado Salsa is mildly piquant, and is absolutely delicious on fried tostadas, chalupas, gorditas and especially flautas. Easy to make, you may find yourself using it as a sandwich spread, or as a dip for cold shrimp. We even like it on our eggs, sunny side up!
These two-bite tostadas are topped with a bright tapenade of creamy avocado, salty olives, and capers. A sprinkling of parmesan cheese on a lightly toasted flour tortilla is the perfect base to hold all these flavors.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 25 kalamata olives, pitted
- 3 jarred Spanish caper berries, drained and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 10 7-to-8-inch flour tortillas
- 4 ounces thinly shaved parmesan
- chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
For late-in-the-day workouts, prep with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Cream Pasta. Whole wheat pasta, avocado, olive oil and roast chicken give you the perfect amount of carbs and protein to prepare you for a tough training session.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 slices avocado
- 1/2 cup cooked pasta
- 4 ounces roast chicken
Hummus is a spread made from chickpeas or garbanzo beans. This version incorporates aLatin touch with the addition of avocado and a garnish of cilantro. Serve with veggie sticks or chips.
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon Tahini paste
- 4 ounces Olive Oil
- juice of half a lime
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- chopped cilantro, black olives for garnish, paprika, for garnish