From the avatar on the top of Liv Life, you may have guessed that the avocado rates fairly high on our favorite foods list. While I find the fruit obviously visually appealing, the nutritional punch the little beauty packs while bringing flavor and texture to recipes has my heart... literally.
Deemed a Super Food in the eyes of many (*** please see below for info on peeling to get the most health benefits), the avocado features a plethora of health benefits including supporting cardiovascular health, aiding diabetes with blood sugar regulation, and enhancing the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Though high in fat, the avocado's fat content has been classified as the "good for you" type and has been documented to provide an anti-inflammatory benefit to problems involving arthritis. The health benefit list goes on and on, but frankly it's the creamy, flavorful goodness that has me reaching for avocados on most occasions.
The versatile avocado will never lose face with a simple, delicious guacamole, but it wasn't until I opened my eyes that I began seeing avocados in baking, in ice cream, in soups and yes, in smoothies.
Moving Liv to a dairy-free diet, she found she missed her daily yogurt in her smoothie. Yesterday I surprised her with this latest smoothie version and she thanked me for adding the "yogurt" to make it creamy. It wasn't until she was about half way through that I told her about my secret ingredient... no yogurt, the smoothie was indeed dairy free, it as the avocado that provided a touch of creaminess with out altering the flavor.
Looking for a few avocado recipes or something different from just adding avocado to a salad? Check the California Avocado Commission's recipe section. Or, just today I stumbled across this stunning cake from my friend, Chris, over at the Café Sucre Farine... I say we all join her in her kitchen for a slice of the beautiful Avocado Cake with Raspberry Filling and Lime Buttercream Icing?? (Note... this one looks to be a must try for me, but I know I'll never get mine looking as pretty as hers!)
In the meantime, here's a nice, creamy, dairy-free, vegan smoothie that will have you dreaming of the tropics while reaping the incredible health benefits of the lovely avocado.
Avocado Mango Smoothie
Mixed with Liv's favorite ingredients, give this version a try, or simply try adding half of an avocado to your favorite smoothie!
1 1/4 cup juice (we use a Trader Joe's Mango Smoothie or Green Machine when they have it in stock, we've also just used plain orange juice or simply a whole peeled orange)
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/4 cup frozen pineapple tidbits
1/2 ripe banana
water or extra juice to think if too thick.
Place all ingredients into your blender - my new tangerine colored KitchenAid continues to be a workhorse bringing super smooth smoothies every time.
Blend the ingredients thinning with a few tablespoonfuls of water or additional juice as necessary. Enjoy!
*** The following information on peeling an avocado for the best health benefits is directly from the Whole Foods Avocado Health Benefits page on their website... please see their site for additional information.
From Whole Foods: The method you use to peel an avocado can make a difference to your health. Research has shown that the greatest concentration of carotenoids in avocado occurs in the dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin. You don't want to slice into that dark green portion any more than necessary when you are peeling an avocado. For this reason, the best method is what the California Avocado Commission has called the "nick and peel" method. In this method, you actually end up peeling the avocado with your hands in the same way that you would peel a banana. The first step in the nick-and-peel method is to cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate. At this point, remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. You can use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would do with a banana skin. The final result is a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh so rich in carotenoid antioxidants!