They’re delicious, filled with healthy fats and are a great addition to any summer menu. Native to Central Mexico, this fantastic flowering plant is in the same family as Cinnamon, Camphor and Bay Laurel. The avocado fruit is a large berry that contains a single seed and when ripe, the flesh is smooth and subtly flavored. Generally served raw, the fruit of the avocado is distinct and contains monounsaturated fats also known as “healthy” fats or omega fats. Used as a base for a Mexican dip called guacamole, it is spread on corn tortillas, tortilla chips and served with spices. This savory, exotic dip can be made in just a few steps at home and the varieties are endless. A colorful, zesty addition to any outside meal, avocados go great with rice, in salads, or on the side of a main dish. As a dip, guacamole adds a spicy flair to any party.
Nutritionally the avocados calories are about 75% monounsaturated fats and have 35% more potassium than bananas. They also contain B vitamins, Vitamin E and Vitamin K and have a high content of insoluble and soluble fibers. Due to its nutritional content the avocado has been shown in studies to help lower blood cholesterol levels. One study showed that after seven days of eating a diet rich in avocados, participants showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels, a 22% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) and an 11% increase of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).(1)
So let’s see what’s cooking. Here are a few tasty ways you can bring avocados to your summer table.
Habanero Guacamole Dip Recipe, Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- 4 ripened avocados
- 1 Habanero chile
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sour cream 1 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
Preparation: Cut the avocados in half and discard the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a food processor. Cut the Habanero chile in half, scrape out the seeds and discard the stem. Chop each half into quarters and add it to the avocado. Remove the skin from the garlic and add it and the remaining ingredients to the avocado mixture. Pulse in food processor until blended (about 30 seconds to one minute). Serve immediately.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/4 cup | Calories: 168 | Total Fat: 15.1 g | Saturated Fat: 2.4 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 1 mg | Sodium: 300 mg | Carbohydrates: 9.2 g | Dietary Fiber: 6.8 g | Sugars: 1.0 g | Protein: 2.2 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5 |
Lime Guacamole Dip Recipe, Prep Time: 8 Minutes
- 4 ripened avocados
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 limes
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
Preparation: Cut the avocados in half and discard the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a food processor. Cut the limes in half, scrape out the seeds and squeeze out the juice. Remove the skin from the garlic and add it and the remaining ingredients to the avocado mixture. Pulse in food processor until blended (about 30 seconds to one minute). Serve immediately with fresh tortilla chips, or use it as a topping for your favorite Memorial Day meal.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/4 cup | Calories: 171 | Total Fat: 14.8 g | Saturated Fat: 2.1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 155 mg | Carbohydrates: 12.2 g | Dietary Fiber: 7.7 g | Sugars: 1.2 g | Protein: 2.3 g | SmartPoints: 6 |
Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa Recipe, Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- 1 mango – peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preparation: Combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic in a medium bowl. Stir in salt, lime juice, red onion, and olive oil. Refrigerate to blend the flavors, for about 30 minutes before serving.
Yields: 5 servings | Serving Size: 1/4 cup | Calories: 235 | Total Fat: 18.4 g | Saturated Fat: 2.6 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 593 mg | Carbohydrates: 19.9 g | Dietary Fiber: 6.1 g | Sugars: 11.7 g | Protein: 2.6 g | SmartPoins: 9 |