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The Best Healthy Avocado Recipes

The Best Healthy Avocado Recipes

Avocado is a fruit indigenous to North America but currently grows all around the world in Mediterranean and tropical climates. Known scientifically as Persea americana, avocados are sometimes called “alligator pears,” a linguistic corruption of the transliterated Spanish word for “aguacate.” Avocados grow on trees and are considered a berry. These are an ancient fruit and pre-date humanity, with discoveries of the avocado pits (the large seed inside of the fruit) that date back 10,000 years—meaning avocados have been around at least that long, if not longer. Many scientists believe avocados evolved alongside much larger, now-extinct mammals, who could ingest the entire fruit and would disperse the large pit. Today, we enjoy the interior buttery flesh of the avocado in a variety of ways, including on toast, in salads and smoothies, and as delicious dips or standalone sides.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADOS

Avocados are an extraordinarily healthy food, categorized as a “superfood” because of how nutrient dense they are. Avocados are high in dietary fiber, with a single avocado making up about 40% of the daily recommended fiber intake. They feature high levels of beneficial fatty acids, like the kind found in fish, but have very low cholesterol. A single serving of avocado (which is ⅓ of a medium Hass avocado) also has 10 mg of calcium, 0.3 mg of iron, 15 mg of magnesium, 250 mg of potassium, 0.3 mg copper, and 0.1 mg zinc along with vitamins B-6 (0.1 mg),, C (4 mg) E (1 mg), and vitamin K (11 mcg).

Healthy Skin and Hair

Many people make their own avocado face and hair masks, and both the avocado oil and flesh are often included in various cosmetics because of the highly nutrient-dense and moisturizing quality of the fruit. The beta-carotene found in avocado can help reverse sun damage and the signs of aging. The fats and oils in avocados are great for nourishing and moisturizing the skin. Avocado oil is often used for treating plaque psoriasis.

Cholesterol and Weight Management

The high fiber content in avocados helps lower cholesterol in the blood by absorbing it in the bloodstream. Beta-sitosterol, which is a cholesterol-like substance found in avocados and other fruits and vegetables, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of cholesterol. The combination of potassium, oleic acid, and omega-3 acid make avocados great at helping reduce blood pressure as well, a symptom of high cholesterol. The fiber and monounsaturated fat in avocados provides a long-lasting full and satiated feeling, which can aid in weight loss.

Diabetes

Avocados may help those with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. The monounsaturated fats in avocados help balance insulin levels, while the fiber maintains a healthy blood sugar level.

Indigestion

Avocados are a fantastic anti-inflammatory due to the presence of flavonoids, which are responsible for giving avocados their green hue. Scientists believe that flavonoids can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and make your body better at digesting food by cleaning the intestine and reducing swelling. Some studies also report improved breath, which is connected to gut health.

Pregnancy

Avocados contain a high amount of folic acid, about 41% of your daily recommended intake in a single avocado. Many doctors recommend taking folic acid to pregnant women because folate, found in the folic acid, aids in the development of vital organs and brain cells.

HOW TO COOK WITH AVOCADO

Though avocado toast is a perfectly acceptable and delicious way to enjoy the healthy fruit, there are a variety of other avocado recipes to get creative and get your daily healthy fats in, too. Avocados go great with practically anything. An avocado can be eaten simply scooped out of its shell and with some cracked fresh pepper, flaky sea salt, and good olive oil drizzled on top. Avocado is used frequently in Mexican food, topping soups and tostadas, packed into burritos and tacos with avocado salsa, cilantro, and tomato to complement the flavors. Obviously it is the star ingredient in guacamole, which is just avocado, salt, onion, tomato, garlic, and lime juice mashed together. Avocados have made their way around the world, adding a decadent flavor and texture to traditional dishes. For example, a traditional Italian caprese salad with avocado tastes extra creamy and buttery. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, which makes it great to cook with. It also tastes great when used in salad dressings with other raw veggies.

Easy Avocado Tempura

Serving: 4 People
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Equipment

Large frying pan
Full size baking sheet with rack
Knife
Cutting board
3 shallow bowls

Ingredients

Oil for frying (canola or safflower)
3 tbs. Flour
¼ tbs. salt, plus more to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (preferably panko, but regular breadcrumbs will suffice)
2 firm Hass avocados, firm

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place flour into a shallow bowl. Mix in the salt. Place the bowl of eggs next to the flour mixture. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl next to the eggs.
  3. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pit. Cut the avocado halves into ½ inch wedges lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the skin, being careful to keep the wedges whole.
  4. Batter your avocado by dunking it in the flour, then smothering it in the egg, and finally covering it in the breadcrumbs. Set on a dish and repeat until all the avocado wedges are battered.
  5. In the frying pan, pour enough oil to fill about ¼ inch of the pan. Heat the oil on medium heat. Test how hot it is by throwing a few breadcrumbs into the pan. If the oil bubbles, it is hot enough.
  6. Fry avocado in batches until each side is golden brown. Remove from heat and place on baking sheet rack to cool.
  7. Serve alone, with soy sauce, mirin, aioli, or salad dressing.

Avocado Salad with Toast

Serves: 2 to 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutesCook Time

Equipment

Large salad bowl
Cast iron skillet

Ingredients

8 to 10 ounces washed greens, such as spinach, romaine, or a spring mix (about 6 or 7 packed cups)
1 Hass avocado, halved, pit removed, and diced with skin removed
¼ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup pepitas
4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 handfuls basil or mint
6 strips of bacon
4 eggs
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  1. Heat the cast iron skillet over a medium flame.
  2. Place the greens, avocado, quinoa, pepitas, feta cheese, Persian cucumbers, and soft herbs into the large salad bowl. Toss to combine. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind that the dressing will have salt as well.
  3. Cook the bacon in the cast iron pan until crisp. Set aside to cool on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  4. Fry the eggs in the bacon fat.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, honey, and salt. Season to taste.
  6. Divide the greens mixture up into two bowls. Place two eggs on top of the greens and crumple the bacon over each bowl. Split the dressing between the bowls (there will likely be leftover dressing).

Creamy Avocado Pasta with Chili Flakes

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Equipment

Large pot for cooking pasta
Frying pan
Mixing bowl

Ingredients

8 ounces pasta (bowtie, penne, or orecchiette)
1 large red onion, sliced into half moon shapes
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. olive oil (plus more for cooking onion and garlic)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. salt (plus more for cooking pasta)
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
2 medium, ripe Hass avocados, diced

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water, enough to cook the pasta. Add salt. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. When finished cooking, drain the pasta and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, place a drizzle of olive oil into the pan. Sautée the onions until golden. Cook the garlic with the onions for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and red chili flakes together using a whisk or a fork until thoroughly combined.
  4. Once the onions and garlic are cooked, add them to the yogurt sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, add to the mixing bowl. At this point, add the avocados. Stir to combine, so that all of the pasta is covered with yogurt sauce. If the mixture seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water. The avocados may not retain their shape in the stirring, which is fine and expected.

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