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An a(vo)ffair of the heart

This month we’re celebrating World Avocado Month and adding an avo to our breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or shake.

Avocado’s monounsaturated fat content may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when used to replace saturated and trans fats in a balanced diet. Avocados are also naturally cholesterol-free, an added bonus in heart health!

Great news is that South African avocados are in season right now, so we can have our avo toast and guacamole too! The creamy green-skinned avo varieties are available from March until October and the nutty dark-skinned avos from March until November.

Like bread and milk, avocados are a necessity in most mzansi shopping carts. Use your haul to salute World Avocado Month with local favourites like avo and atchar, curry and avo sambal or braai meat and a mouth-watering avocado salad with roast tomatoes, baby corn and spring onions. At the very least, serve up a smile with the deluxe avocado BLT.

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You can even let your tastebuds dance to some glorious new international avocado vibes. Maybe stay on the African continent for an Ethiopian spris, which is a refreshing layered drink of papaya blitzed with a little water to thin it out, followed by avocado puréed with fresh lime juice and salt, topped with mango pulp.

Go full Mexican fiesta, if you like, using guacamole seasoned with chilli, lime and cilantro to accompany everything from meat and fish dishes to soups. Or stuff avo halves with ceviche like the Peruvians; with chicken, tuna, crab or ham and mayo like the Chileans; and whipped it with lime juice and sugar like the Brazilians.

Tuck into these two delish avo recipes below:  

Avocado salad with roast tomatoes, baby corn and spring onions

Serves 6 – 8 

You’ll need: For the roasted tomatoes – 10 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise; 150g cocktail tomatoes; 45ml avocado or olive oil; salt and freshly ground black pepper; 15ml crushed garlic; pinch of dried mixed herbs

For the salad – a large handful of rocket; 3 avocados, peeled, stoned and cut into quarters; 2 punnets of baby corn, char-grilled or roasted

For the dressing – 30ml avocado or olive oil; 10ml balsamic vinegar; squeeze of lemon juice; 4 – 6 spring onions, finely chopped

How to:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C
  • Place the cocktail tomatoes on a baking tray. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until softened, but do not overcook, they should hold their shape and not be mushy.
  • For the salad: place the avocado quarters on a flat platter, arrange the tomato halves and chargrilled corn on top and scatter over the rocket.
  • Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

Deluxe Avocado BLT 

BLT – bacon, lettuce and tomato, a classic sandwich combo is given an update by adding avocado for a truly impressive brunch meal.

Serves 4 – 6 

You’ll need: For the sandwich – 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced in half horizontally; 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and stoned; 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced; 1 small head butter lettuce, rinse and pat dry; 200g, cooked & crumbled; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; avocado or olive oil, to drizzle; microgreens for garnish

For the avo-li dressing – 120g mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought; 1 small ripe avocado, peeled and stoned; 1 clove garlic, grated or crushed; 15 – 30ml lemon juice

How to: 

  • Start by making the avo-li dressing, place all the ingredients in the jug of a stick blender and whizz until smooth.
  • Lay the ciabatta halves on a platter and spread liberally with the avo-li. Arrange lettuce leaves and tomato slices on the bread, and top with avocado slices and bacon pieces.
  • Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil.
  • Serve cut into wedges with extra avo-li dressing.

Details: www.avocado.co.za or like @iloveavocadoSA on Facebook and Instagram.  

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