Avocados may be fatty, but that doesn’t mean they are bad for your health.
In fact, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse providing numerous potential health benefits. Its creamy texture and rich taste make it a common ingredient in many dishes. It is most well known for being a key ingredient in the Mexican dip “guacamole”.Because of its high fat content, avocado is also used as a meat substitute in sandwiches and salads. But what makes this fruit so good for you? It is an excellent source of potassium, containing more per weight than bananas. In addition, avocados are rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They are rich in phytochemicals, which have been reported to help prevent the development of certain cancers. Fats account for around three quarters of the calorie count of an avocado. Most of it is monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. Monounsaturated fat is considered to be a “good fat” which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. According to Mumbai based Interventional Diabetologist, Dr.Suresh Purohit, Director, Diabetes Care Centre, “For people suffering from diabetes, the oleic acid in avocado is especially recommended for its ability to lower the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while raising the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Keeping cholesterol levels in check is vital for diabetics as they have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease.” He further adds, “The high levels of potassium in avocados is another important nutritional factor for diabetics due to its role in maintaining a healthy heart and regulating blood sugar. Having monounsaturated fats in a diabetic diet is also beneficial for reducing high triglyceride levels and thus improves insulin function and blood glucose levels. All in all, avocado is a very healthy food for those living with diabetes and for people who wish to lower their risk of developing the disease.”
Avocado and chocolate cookies
In a large bowl, sieve together the refined wheat flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder. Melt the sugarfree chocolate and set aside. Place the table spread, mashed avocado and sweetwell in another bowl and blend well using an electric hand mixer or a food processor. Add vanilla essence and half of the flour mixture. Mix well, pouring a little soya milk to make a thick and smooth batter. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Continue making the batter till all the flour mixture and soya milk have been used. Place a tablespoon of the batter on a well greased baking tray. Place the next spoonful of the batter 2” away. Slightly flatten each cookie with the tip of your finger or with the spatula. Place the tray in a pre-heated at 180° C / 350° F oven and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or till set on the edges. The centre of the cookies should be soft. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an air tight container.
Avocado hummus dip
Peel and chop the avocado and set aside. Wash and soak the chickpeas for 8 hours. Place them in a pressure cooker with a little salt and give it one whistle. After 30 minutes, open the cooker and transfer the chickpeas into a blender. Add to it the avocado pieces, tahini paste, very little salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice. Blend to make a smooth paste. Transfer this dip into a serving bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with red pepper fingers, carrot fingers, cucumber fingers, and a variety of crackers and chips. This dip can also be used as a sandwich spread.
Avocado lime tart
Method for the tart
Place the hazelnuts and dates in a dry grinder and grind well. Add in the table spread and further blend well till a crumbly dough is formed. Lightly grease a 7” round tart mould and press this mixture into it evenly. Place the tart mould in a pre-heated oven at 180° C / 350° F and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes. The crust should be light brown in colour and a bit puffed up. Allow it to cool completely before adding in the filling.
Method for the filling
Place the cream in a sauce pan and warm it till little bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan. Take it off the flame, add the sweetwell and stir until it dissolves. Pour this liquid into a bowl and allow it to cool. Place the avocado and cream cheese in a blender and blend well together. Add the lemon juice and process again until smooth in texture. Pour this mixture into a bowl and whip in the cooled cream. Gently mix and pour this filling into the tart case. Place it in the freezer for 2 hours. Take it off from the freezer and let it soften on the kitchen platform for 15 minutes before unmoulding and serving. Serve cold.
Avocado and tomato salad
Cut the Avocado pear into half and then into ½” thin slices. Cut the tomatoes into half and then slice them into long pieces. Mix tomato pieces, avocado pieces and onions together. Toss well. Add the vinaigrette dressing and the black pepper powder. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, to blend flavours.
Recipes by: Gitanjali Gurbaxani.
Expert inputs by: Dr. Suresh Purohit.