By Aylin Erman, EcoSalon
We often associate the avocado with guacamole, and that’s it. But that would be doing the odd-looking fruit a great injustice.
Because of its creamy texture and impressive nutritional profile, the avocado is a prized ingredient in plant-based dishes. It provides the bulk and the consistency that are usually the product of milk, butter, or cream. These 15 unusual uses for the avocado explore the many ways you can expand your repertoire beyond guacamole.
You may already know that avocados are considered an excellent source of “good” fats. But they are fare more beneficial to your health than meets the eye. Avocados prevent breast cancer with oleic acid content and inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. Avocados also contain lutein for eye health and are known to help lower cholesterol levels due to its beta-sitosterol content. They contain 23 percent of the recommended daily value of folate, which lowers incidence of heart disease, and, they are high in glutathione, which prevents aging, cancer and heart disease. Put those nutrients to work with these 15 unusual uses for the avocado.
Get your chocolate fix without the dairy and white sugar with this avocado chocolate pudding recipe. The avocado gives the pudding its trademark decadence and the lemon juice cuts the avocado flavor, allowing the cocoa and natural sweetener to shine through. It’s a great way to fill up on dessert without the sugar rush.
Instead of spreading a layer of mayonnaise on a bun, add a few slices of avocado. You achieve the same creaminess and neutral taste in a lighter, vegan way.
3. Grilled Avocados
To raise the bar on presentation and infuse the avocado with a savory smoke flavor, get grilling! Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, brush both open halves with lime juice, and then place them face-down on the grill. The grill marks are a feast for the eyes and you can serve the grilled avocados with a few spoonfuls of salsa in their concave centers.
4. Eye and Facial Skin Therapy
Avocados are packed with nutrients, such as vitamin E and A, B-vitamins, folic acid, and potassium, which are enriching to the sensitive area surrounding your eyes and face. Vitamin A helps to remove dead skin cells from the body and the amino acid glutamine helps to clean and protect the skin from environmental damage. Mash an avocado until smooth and apply it around your eyes and face. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
5. Alfredo Sauce
Alfredo sauce now has a better, healthier half.
- 1 large avocado
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Small handful of fresh basil
- Up to 1/4 cup almond milk (or water) to thin it out
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix into your prepared noodles of your choice. Enjoy!
6. Hair Mask
To treat dry or lifeless hair, mash 1 avocado with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Massage into your scalp and hair, making sure the use your fingers to brush through hair strands, from the scalp to the ends. Tuck hair into a shower cap and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and then shampoo and condition hair as usual.
7. Baby food
Avocados are a great introduction to solid foods. Their buttery, creamy texture is easy for babies to chew on and swallow safely. Rich in omega-3s and other nutrients, the avocado offers babies a healthy source of plant-based fat. Be sure to pick an avocado that is gives slightly when squeezed but is not mushy. Blend the avocado in a blender with the optional addition of water to thin the mixture out.
8. Fried Avocados
In the world of weird fried foods, avocado takes the cake. Try your hand at this fried avocado with lime-cilantro dipping sauce recipe. It’s a unique, crowd-pleasing snack that is easy to make!
9. Whipped Cream
This recipe pairs well with as a creamy accompaniment to fish and as a dip for vegetables. Blend the flesh of avocado fast in an immersion blender and the fruit transforms into a decadent whipped cream, even with peaks to prove it. Add garlic and spices for extra taste, or make it dessert apropos with the addition of a sweetener and cinnamon.
10. Green Smoothie
Get your greens in with a creamy backdrop to make them all the more appetizing and filling. This recipe for a green smoothie can be made vegan by replacing skim milk with almond, rice, or coconut milk. Enjoy!
11. Crème Brûlée
This has got to be the recipe that piques my curiosity the most. Avocado crème brûlée is an innovative take on the traditional French dessert and is sure to introduce an earthier, deeper taste and texture.
12. Butter Substitute
Replace ½ the butter in any baked recipe with the same measurement of avocado. The result will be lower in calories and yield a softer and chewier result. If you want to replace all the butter in a baked recipe, the ration of avocado to butter is 1:1, but you have to reduce the oven temperature by 25 percent and increase baking time — this prevents the baked good from rising in the middle and then sinking after it’s removed from the oven.
13. Chocolate Cream Frosting
If you are anything like me, the frosting is the best part of any cake. Of course, it’s also the heaviest part. Luckily, the avocado makes a vegan alternative possible.
- 2 avocados
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 bar dark chocolate, melted
Blend all in a food processor until smooth. Apply to cupcakes or cake or eat it as it is!
14. Ice Cream
In the same way avocado brings creaminess to vegan pudding, the fatty fruit does the same for vegan banana ice cream. Alone, banana ice cream is enough, but the addition of avocado creates an even more textured, filling dessert dish.
When I saw this recipe for a green cheesecake, I was floored by the presentation. It makes perfect sense that avocado would be the base to a vegan cheesecake, only because the avocado mimics the thickness and density of cream cheese. Enjoy!
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