There is no denying: avocados are having their moment…and then some. These happy little fruit-veggie crossovers are a natural source of healthy fats, and the creamy texture and distinct mild flavor make avocado a favorite for endless dishes. If you like avocados, something in this collection of avocado recipes is sure to make you a lover. If you already love, ’em, then get ready to become obsessed.
Imagine, if you will, witnessing the literal meteoric rise of a fruit in real time. In the US, avocados went from being the darling of the California health food scene (and not much else) to the scapegoat for the financial woes of an entire generation. That’s a lot of baggage.
But luckily, the humble avocado has a thick skin…and perfectly delicate, buttery, earthy, sliceable, spreadable flesh on the inside that has become a staple in everything from salads to sandwiches and smoothies to spreads. Get ready to get your green on!
How to Tell if an Avocado Is Ripe
Any recipe calling for sliced or diced avocado needs a firm, just-ripe fruit.
Softer avocados are great for mashing, but their texture can be off-putting if you need a bit of bite. Remember to look for the right:
- COLOR: Find a deep green – almost forest, but not quite – and avoid anything skewing towards emerald (not ripe enough) or brown/black (overripe). If you see no flecks of green, it’s too far gone.
- STEM: Flick and pick! If there’s still a little nub of stem, it should pop right off. If not, the avocado still needs to ripen. Just make sure when it comes off the navel is still green. “If it’s brown, put it down.”
- FEEL: You want your avocado firm and flexible, not easily mashable. Place your whole palm around the fruit and give it a tender squeeze. If you feel the skin give in ever so slightly to your hand, you’ve hit the sweet spot.
How to Ripen Avocados
Avocados will naturally ripen in 3-5 days if left to their own devices on the counter.
To cut the wait time in half, place them in a regular, old brown paper bag and roll/fold the top down. If you want to speed it up even more, add a banana to the bag. Just remember what usually happens to bananas so be mindful for about 24 hours.
Being patient is up to you, just remember, warming an avocado up won’t make it ripe, and putting it in the fridge will actually stave off ripening.
How to Cut an Avocado
Rest the avocado on a cutting board. Using a short, sharp knife, slice lengthwise around the perimeter. If your avocado is ripe and ready to be used, you should meet no resistance – just be careful around the seed.
Once cut, separate the two halves and remove the pit. You can use a utensil to pry it out, or simply push from the back side and pop it out. Once the pit is removed, there are two ways to slice and/or dice an avocado:
METHOD 1: use a knife to score slices or cubes into the flesh. I find it easiest to simply slide the curved edge of a spoon along the skin to separate the two, though some also pop the skin inside out before doing so.
METHOD 2: slice the avocado halves into fourths. Starting at one corner, gently peel back the skin to release the fruit. For a visual tutorial, see this post.
Are Avocados Good for You?
I was unfortunate enough to live through a time when people didn’t understand healthy fats, so trust me when I say how relieved I am to tell you avocados are (arguably) one of the healthiest fruits on the planet.
Now, is an avocado fatty? You betcha. One of the fattiest forms of plant life known to man, but hold up…
This superfood possesses oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been proven to lower cholesterol. It also contains no cholesterol and is surprisingly low in saturated fats (source).
So yes, in half an avocado there’s about 161 calories and 15 g of fat, but there’s also:
- 2.01 g protein
- 8.57 g carbohydrate
- 6.7 g fiber
- 12 mg calcium
- 29 mg magnesium
- 487 mg potassium
- 10.1 mg vitamin C
On top of that, it’s a vegan/vegetarian, low carb, paleo, whole30, and ketogenic diet staple (thank you, fiber and fat), and boasts an array of other vitamins and minerals including vitamins K and E, folate, lutein, and other antioxidants. (And by the way, maybe that potassium number doesn’t mean much to you, but for context, a whole banana has 422 mg, so… you do the math.)
Salad Secrets…Avocado Salad Recipes
With or without leafy greens, adding avocado to a salad just makes good sense. Healthy fats go a long way towards keeping you feeling full, and avocado’s creamy texture is perfect as a dressing or as complementary texture for crunchy veggies or charred protein.
Avocado Salad: Perfectly bright, with just a little bite! Avocado Salad will satisfy your guac cravings without the need for table-side service. Fresh, traditional flavors from ripe avocado, seasonal tomatoes, zesty red onion, herbacious cilantro, and fiery jalapeno are buoyed by tart lime juice and smoky cumin in this “deconstructed” Guacamole Salad.
Avocado Strawberry Chicken Salad: As long as you can get your hands on peak-fresh strawberries, this strawberry chicken salad with avocado should be in rotation. This filling dish a perfect balance of veggies, fruit, and protein, but the real “tip of the hat” goes to a bold, creamy balsamic dressing that brings out the best in each ingredient. What more could you want from a healthy, vibrant dinner salad that’s ready in just 30 minutes?
Grilled Avocado and Gem Salad with Herb Yogurt Dressing: Clean and fresh flavors shine in this simple little salad. An easy, tangy yogurt dressing with fresh herbs, shallot, and honey over crisp gem lettuce and creamy grilled avocado makes for a bold but light companion to grilled proteins this summer. Recipe and description by Spoon Fork Bacon
Citrus Kale Salad with Avocado Jicama: Bet you haven’t had this combo before! The blend of flavors and textures featured in this citrus kale salad are out of this world. It’s a sweet, tart, and crunchy vegan winter salad everyone will love. Dress it up with a champagne citrus vinaigrette for a fast, easy, and gorgeous side that’s absolutely loaded with nutrients.
Cucumber, Tomato, Avocado Salad: Forget ice cream and melon, this is summer in a bowl. Bite-sized cuts of fresh, ripe tomato, cucumber, and avocado get a zesty upgrade from fresh basil and macerated red onions in a honey-tinged vinaigrette.
Mango Salad with Avocado and Lime: If ripe, fresh, and flavorful is your thing, then get this Mango Salad in rotation stat! Juicy mango, creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, and zesty red pepper combine into a symphony of taste and texture. Fresh herbs and citrus make it a magnum opus! All you need are a few knife skills and your appetite.
Very Berry Avocado Salad: Why stop at just one berry? This Very Berry Avocado Salad is full of fresh fruit and ripe avocados. Served over spinach, the addition of creamy feta and crunchy sunflower seeds makes it an instant favorite at BBQs and picnics. It’s so sweet and refreshing – the perfect healthy summer side dish. Recipe and description by Diethood
Tomato Corn Salad with Avocado and Buttermilk Dressing: This salad is an absolute winner at cookouts, pairing perfectly with all your grilled favorites. Traditional tomato corn salad is typically tossed with a vinaigrette, but I’m shouting out to my southern roots by tossing this version with creamy, tangy buttermilk dressing that pairs perfectly with…creamy avocados!
Salmon Avocado Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing: Tender, flaky salmon shines bright all on its own, but it really stands out in this salmon and avocado salad, tossed with seasonal produce and creamy lemon dressing. This salad is a true superfood combo, loaded with healthy omega-3 fats and all of the vitamins and nutrients your body craves.
Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad: Creamy without the cream? Get the same chicken salad texture you love – plus bonus avocado flavor – without mayo, yogurt, or sour cream. Avocado chicken salad is a healthy alternative that doesn’t skimp on the flavor thanks to fresh avocado, corn, and cilantro. Recipe and description by Gimme Delicious
I Dip, You Dip, We Dip: Avocado Dip Recipes
Avocado’s creamy texture makes it the perfect add-in for dips, dressings, sauces, and salsas. Bringing on the green has never been easier (or more delicious!).
Strawberry Avocado Salsa: When ripe juicy berries are in season, pass on thicker, heavier dips like guacamole and go for this sweet-not-spicy strawberry avocado salsa with a citrusy kick. It’s a quick and easy recipe, packed with vitamins and nutrients. It’s surprisingly filling, so it works great with chips for a light meal. But don’t sleep on this at backyard barbecues in your party spread or even as a bright topper for grilled chicken or pan-seared fish.
Bacon Guacamole: Does bacon make everything better? Bacon guacamole may be the definitive answer to that question. Plus, this salty, smoky twist on a classic also proves restaurant quality guac is totally achievable at home with a few simple tips and tricks (like macerating your onions in lime juice!). Start with perfectly mashed, perfectly ripe avocados for can’t-stop-won’t-stop snackability.
Avocado Dressing: The flavors in this creamy avocado dressing meld perfectly, but it’s the silky-smooth texture that gives this homemade condiment the edge over anything in a bottle. Made for salads, but equally delicious on grilled or roasted veggies, and grain bowls. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will keep for up to 2 days. Recipe and description by Love and Lemons
Avocado Hummus: It’s the hybrid we’ve all been waiting for! This avocado dip pairs the best of guacamole and hummus. It only takes minutes to make, and is great for those times when you need to stretch one avocado a bit further. Plus, it’s perfect for parties – not just because it’s a great big-batch recipe, but because both guac and hummus lovers will agree on how great it is. Recipe and description by Recipe Tin Eats
Mango Avocado Shrimp Salsa: You already know avocado in salsa is next level, but with the addition of tangy mango and succulent shrimp this one’s on a whole other plane. Mango avocado shrimp salsa is a warm weather favorite! Squeeze on the lime juice and serve it with fresh tortilla chips (or even in lettuce cups) for a major flavor ‘W.’ Recipe and description by How Sweet Eats
Quick Meals Featuring Avocados
There are few meals that aren’t enhanced by the addition of avocados. Go beyond salads and tacos and think burgers, grilled chicken, soups, omelets, and seafood.
Avocado Salsa Over Grilled Chicken: Take chicken from plain to poppin’ with just 5 ingredients and a little salt and pepper. Our avocado salsa is fresh, flavorful and so easy! Never settle for boring breasts again. Naturally Whole30, paleo and keto, this is the perfect healthy-but-delicious meal you’ll crave all summer. Plus, it’s ready to serve in around 20 minutes!
Avocado Ranch Chicken Burgers: Prove the ground poultry naysayers wrong with fast, kid-friendly Avocado Ranch Chicken Burgers. Prep your ground chicken patties by mixing first with key flavors from parmesan, green onion, and zippy ranch seasoning, then gently fold in fresh, diced avocado and cook in a cast iron skillet with olive or avocado oil for a blast of healthy fat. Serve up warm on a toasty bun for dinner, or even enjoy leftovers straight out of the fridge the next day.
Cucumber Avocado Gazpacho with Shrimp: Gazpacho isn’t just for tomatoes! Cucumber avocado gazpacho with shrimp is a silky – but refreshing – soup for a hot day. Customize with extra toppings, like grilled corn or diced tomatoes. It’s creamy, but dairy-free, and Paleo and Whole30 friendly. Recipe and description by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
Crab Omelet with Avocado and Herbs: Imagine having a recipe in your arsenal that doubles as an impressive brunch for guests or fast weekday breakfast just for you. This crab and avocado omelet is a fancy but fuss free recipe that’s ready in just fifteen minutes! Plus, if the crab and avocado didn’t make this creamy dish decadent enough, a burst of fresh chopped herbs will really seal the deal.
Spicy Shrimp with Avocado Aioli: Stop scrolling if you’re looking for an easy and fast weeknight dinner recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor – or texture. This paleo spicy shrimp with avocado aioli is the midweek miracle you need to change things up. The spicy lime shrimp are hot and tangy, and go so well with tart, creamy avocado aioli. Plus, this dish pairs with just about any super simple side you can throw at it.
Avocado Green Goddess Sandwiches with Havarti: The moment I saw this recipe, I wanted this sandwich; the moment I ate one, I knew I’d crave it for the rest of my life. Avocado green goddess sandwiches layered with creamy dill havarti, cucumber slices, shaved zucchini, and sprouts slathered with whipped herbed avocado spread are an unparalleled balance of flavor and texture. Serve it on your favorite loaf, like the lightly-toasted thick gluten-free boule pictured here. Recipe and description by Snixty Kitchen
Avocado Egg Salad: If the guac-inspired deviled eggs above are a-bridge-too-far from the classic for you, try avocado egg salad instead. The classic recipe gets an extra one-two punch from avocado and spring onion. It’s practically perfect and makes an extra-special lunch on thick, crusty – and toasty – bread like ciabatta. Recipe and description by This Healthy Table
A dollop of this or that nestled into half an avocado is basically a gift you give yourself!
Bruschetta Stuffed Avocados: These little dreamboats are a perfect antidote when you need a filling snack or meal that doesn’t leave you feeling full. We love adding these bruschetta stuffed avocados into the rotation as soon as fresh local tomatoes become available. The bruschetta stuffing lasts in the fridge for several days, so they make for a quick and easy fuel boost midday or post-workout.
Crab Salad Stuffed Avocados: Lightened-up crab salad stuffed avocados are an easy and healthy brunch, lunch, or light dinner idea. You’ll go gaga over the addition of flavor twists like créme fraiche, swiss cheese, fresh mint, and pistachios. It’s a food surprise you never saw coming! Recipe, description and photo by Foodie Crush
Avocado Appetizers and Snacks
There’s nothing these little miracle fruits can’t do, and staving off an afternoon hunger pang or acting as the perfect happy nosh is included in that list. Bring your avocado to your yard or post-workout routine with one of these irresistible recipes!
Protein Packed Mango Avocado Smoothie: This mango avocado smoothie is packed with 14 grams of protein without using protein powder and has tons of super healthy fats, so it’ll fill you up and keep you full from breakfast through lunch, or as a post workout snack. And since it only requires five easy ingredients and five minutes, you’ve got no excuses to sip this superfood smoothie ASAP!
Avocado Fries: While these may not be your classic French fry, do not shy away from this taste experience. Sliced avocado gets lightly breaded and lightly fried for crispy golden brown perfection in this recipe for avocado fries. I promise you’ll love the texture. Truly the ultimate appetizer or side dish for avocado lovers! Recipe, description and photo by Dinner At The Zoo
Avocado Chicken Summer Rolls with Coconut Peanut Dipping Sauce: Fresh is first on the menu with these avocado summer rolls, stuffed with avocado, chicken, cucumbers and cilantro. But it’s all that plus the flavor of the incredible coconut peanut sauce that sets these apart from every other summer roll you’ve ever had. You’ll be amazed at how easy these are to get right at home. Recipe by How Sweet Eats
Avocado Deviled Eggs: If you’re a deviled egg fan, I guarantee your life will change for the better if you add avocado. Avocado deviled eggs are an easy, tasty twist on this beloved classic appetizer. Just add avocado, red onion, cilantro and lime juice to your yolk mixture for a creamy “guac-stuffed” deviled egg that you may not want to share. Recipe by Downshiftology
Avocado and Chocolate
Yeah, we went there. No, we’re not sorry. Whether you’re looking to add healthy fats to your dessert recipe game or simply need an excuse to use up avocados in a not-so-healthy way, look no further. Chocolate and Avocado are a delectable mash-up!
Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding: The OG of avocado desserts will have the most skeptical of skeptics asking for seconds. Unbelievably choco-licious, this simple chocolate avocado pudding takes just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make. You won’t believe this decadent dessert is healthy! Recipe, description and photo by Making Thyme For Health
Mocha Avocado Cream Pie: If you haven’t tried avocado for dessert yet, welcome to your conversion. This luscious Mocha Avocado Cream Pie gets its magic from chocolate avocado pudding! This no bake, low card, paleo recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s silky and rich, but never heavy, and perfect for hot summer days. Recipe, description and photo by Chelsea Joy Eats
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