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Nutrition

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The Versatility of Avocado

The avocado is an incredibly versatile fruit. You can use it in delicious savory dishes as well as amazing desserts. Avocados bring many nutritional benefits to the table: their dietary fat help absorb nutrients like vitamins A,D,K, and E, they have 5g of monounsaturated fat per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). They’re also sugar-free, and contain 11% of your daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. What’s more, replacing saturated or trans fats with unsaturated fats is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More than 75% of the fat in healthy avocados is unsaturated.

The great news is that, thanks to its creamy texture and good fat content, avocados can have a starring role in your baking repertoire, playing roles similar to traditional baking ingredients.

How to Use Avocados When Baking

How do you substitute avocados when you’re baking? The formula is pretty simple to remember! You can use a 1:1 ratio (one cup of ripe avocado per cup of whatever you’re substituting). Not sure how to pick an avocado that’s ripe? Avoid picking those vibrant green avocados and opt for a darker green skin that yields slightly to pressure. Watch this quick how-to video to help you out!

Make sure you smoothly purée the avocado before measuring and pack it tightly in the measuring cup. You’ll have to decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over-browning and bake the goods for a bit longer, so check from time to time. Treat yourself and your family to delicious baked desserts, like dark double chocolate cookies or dark chocolate brownies with all the benefits of avocados!

Avocados can also be used as a binding agent – all it takes is 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup puréed avocado. If it turns out that you don’t need the whole fruit, our how-to video can walk you through the super-simple process of storing the avocado in the fridge to prevent browning — it’s as easy as removing the pit, squeezing on lemon juice, and covering tightly with plastic wrap.

Do we have any other clever, unusual uses of avocados in common recipes? You bet! Avocados can be used in sandwich and salad dressings, spreads like this avocado aioli, and any other dish that calls for traditional sandwich spreads.

To make avocado mayo, put two ripe avocados, 1/4 cup oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food blender. You can also add other flavors to taste, like garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or mustard. Blend at medium speed until the mixture emulsifies and looks creamy and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Add to your favorite wraps, salads, and burgers … be creative! You’ll add a nutritional boost, flavor, and color to your food.

By Barbara Ruhs, MD, RDN March 07, 2018

An avid avocado-eater and guacamole-lover, Barb is the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for Avocados From Mexico and former sports nutritionist for Harvard University. Her philosophy on food is simple: Enjoy what you eat, prepare food with love, and add avocados to everything! 

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