Whether you toss slices into a salad, mash them up in a traditional guacamole, or puree them into a chilled soup, avocados are a smart addition to any meal. That’s because they’re a good source of vitamins C and E, lutein, and monounsaturated fat (the beneficial kind).
Plus, “there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh avocado,” says John Taylor, a member of the Panera Bread® culinary team. There are so many delicious ways to add the simple goodness of avocados to your table. Here are some of our favorite ideas.
Grilling garnish: Dice an avocado, a mango, and a cup of cherry tomatoes into a bowl. Add lime juice, a bit of olive oil, chopped fresh basil, and a dash of kosher salt. Use to garnish grilled chicken or fish.
Bagel spread: Mash a ripe avocado. Stir in fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and spread on a toasted bagel.
Omelet complement: Mix an avocado with a little cheese, sour cream, and cilantro for an omelet filling.
Frozen treat: Make ice cream by combining three pitted and peeled avocados, 1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk, 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon almond extract until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for four to six hours. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Seafood salad shell: Stuff a chilled avocado half with fresh tuna or lobster salad.
“Mexed” up: Slice thin avocado wedges into homemade tacos or burritos.
Creamy sip: Whip up a smoothie by putting one medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted, into a blender. Add 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, 1 1/2 cups orange juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring, and two ice cubes. Pulse until smooth.
Fresh dressing: Puree a fresh avocado. Add a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Use to dress a salad.
Chilled soup: Place 8 to 10 large avocados, pitted and peeled, in a blender. Add 2 cups chicken stock, 1 cup heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Puree until smooth. Add water as needed until the soup reaches the consistency you prefer. Chill and serve. Garnish with lump crabmeat or croutons.
Easy crostini: A dressed-up version of guacamole and chips is easy to prepare with this Avocado Crostini recipe.
Flavorful topper: Top black beans and rice with avocado slices.
Appetizer plate: Arrange thin slices of tomato, avocado, and cucumbers on a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with fresh lemon juice and a good quality olive oil. Add fresh basil leaves and enjoy as a first course with a crusty French loaf.
Perfect pita: Stuff a pita pocket with sliced avocado, feta cheese, and tomatoes. Drizzle with Greek dressing.
And when you run out of ideas to try at home, get a taste of avocado inspiration in our seasonal Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad with fresh avocado or our Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich on Sourdough at your local Panera Bread bakery-cafe.