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Looking to branch out of your guacamole/smashed avocado on toast repertoire? Try these deliciously simple recipes.
Until recently, we were living through what we’re terming The Great Avo Boom. Between 2013 and 2017, UK avocado sales rose by 184%; coffee shops across the nation began serving up the smashed fruit on toast by the truckload; and in 2018, London got its first permanent avocado-themed restaurant in the shape of Avobar in Covent Garden.
Avocados have also sparked a surprising amount of public outrage. When Nigella Lawson whipped up a batch of avo toast on TV in 2015, she was greeted by sneers on social media. Two years later, an Australian property developer made global headlines when he argued that millennials should simply stop buying “smashed avocado” if they wanted to get on the property ladder. Infamously, the Daily Mail even managed to use avocados as a way to criticise Meghan Markle.
But nothing lasts for ever. Glance at the menu of any trendy café in 2021 and you’ll note that avocado has been usurped by the likes of whipped feta and smashed peas as the of-the-moment toast topping. It’s still as delicious as ever, though – and while guacamole and avo toast are classic dishes for a reason, there are lots of other creative ways to cook with it.
Below, you’ll find three recipes that don’t involve toast, nachos or someone telling you that you should be saving for a house deposit. If pesto pasta is your go-to Wednesday night dinner, try Claire Thomas’ buckwheat noodle recipe. Whizz up walnuts, edamame and parmesan, then stir the sauce into tangles of steaming noodles (which just happen to be gluten-free) along with generous cubes of avocado.
Warm weather got you fancying something fresh? Give American chef Joey Campanaro’s summer salad a go. Avocado is combined with spinach and strawberries for a satisfying Louisiana-inspired dish that will convert even the staunchest fruit-in-savoury-salad sceptic.
And if you’re after a vegan take on satay that doesn’t rely on tofu, look no further than Ron Simpson and Julian Zaal’s avo skewers. Indonesian peanut sauce is spiked with lime juice and coriander, then poured thickly over strips of crispy-on-the-outside avocado for an addictively savoury flavour.
All you need to do now is choose an avocado that’s perfectly, squishably ripe. May the odds be ever in your favour…
Buckwheat noodles with avocado, edamame and walnut pesto
Claire Thomson says: “I’m a big fan of buckwheat or soba noodles. From the buckwheat seed, and not a grain as the name suggests, buckwheat is gluten free and a reliably useful and versatile ingredient. Ground as a flour to make noodles or pasta, it has an intensely nutty flavour, which suits cold dishes such as this salad very well.
“While noodles might make you think more of Asia than Italy, as the pesto here might prompt, buckwheat pasta is also used in Italian cooking. Buckwheat, walnut pesto, avocado, chard and edamame – these are all flavours that work very well together, all earthy and nutty. You’ll find buckwheat or soba noodles easily enough to make this recipe, or you could look for more elusive Italian buckwheat pasta varieties.”
- 1 large bunch of basil, leaves picked
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 40g parmesan, grated (shredded)
- 50ml good olive oil, plus more for the noodles and to serve
- 350g buckwheat or soba noodles
- 200g chard, stalks and leaves chopped
- 100g podded edamame beans (fresh or frozen)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 50g rocket, roughly chopped
- 2 avocados, stoned, peeled and cut into small cubes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blend or use a pestle and mortar to mix the basil, garlic, walnuts and parmesan to a coarse paste, then pulse or pound while slowly adding the olive oil to form a smooth sauce. Season well with salt and pepper.
Bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions (about 4–5 minutes), then drain and rinse under cold water and toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Fill the saucepan back up with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add the chard stalks, then the leaves and finally the edamame. Cook for 3–4 minutes, until tender. Drain well and spread out on a plate to cool quickly.
To serve, in a large bowl or a wide platter, add the noodles, chard and edamame and stir through with the pesto (you can leave some to serve on the side, if you wish).
Add the lemon zest and juice, then the rocket and avocado and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.
From Home Cookery Year: Four Seasons, Over 200 Recipes for All Possible Occasions by Claire Thomson (£30, Quadrille), out now
Spinach, avocado, and strawberries with lemon poppyseed dressing
Joey Campanaro says: “I made my first poppyseed dressing when I was working with Chef Andrew Humbert, a former executive chef for the legendary Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, who brought Louisiana Creole cooking to the mainstream. Creamy and sweet salad dressings are popular in the [American] South. When I first encountered them I didn’t think they made much sense… but the flavour is undeniably delicious.
“Achieving a creamy dressing is fast and easy when you use your blender, as the mustard in the base of the dressing emulsifies. And the colours in this salad? Green avocado, white poppyseed dressing, and red strawberries: a nod to both the Italian flag and the other boot, too – Louisiana!”
- 120ml sherry shallot vinaigrette (see below)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp poppyseeds
- 170g fresh strawberries, stemmed, hulled and sliced
- 40g rocket
- 40g packed spinach leaves, washed, dried and roughly torn
- 1 large avocado, diced
- Maldon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the sherry shallot vinaigrette:
- 60ml sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
To make the sherry shallot vinaigrette: in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, and shallot and whisk to blend. Slowly add the oil and whisk until combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate indefinitely until ready to use.
In a blender, combine the vinaigrette and lemon juice. Blend until creamy, about 30 seconds. Stir in the poppyseeds and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, rocket, spinach and avocado. Pour the dressing over everything and add a pinch of salt flakes and a few grinds of pepper.
Using your hands (or tongs), gently toss to coat the salad, being careful not to mush up the avocado too much.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately. (So pretty!)
Adapted from Big Love Cooking: 75 Recipes for Satisfying, Shareable Comfort Food by Joey Campanaro (£21.99, Chronicle Books), out now
Loaded avocado satay skewers
Makes: 8 large or 12 small skewers
- 4 avocados
- juice of ½ a lime or a little sushi vinegar
- 400ml Indonesian peanut sauce (satay sauce), homemade or your favourite shop-bought kind
- 1 spring onion
- 1 small bunch of coriander, including the stems
- 1 red chilli pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
- crispy fried onions (ready-made)
- a handful of peanuts
- daikon cress
You will need:
- (wooden) skewers or lollipop sticks
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, and remove the pits and the peel. Rub the avocado halves with lime juice or sushi vinegar.
Cut them into three lengthwise, and then into three crosswise. You now have nine avocado chunks per avocado half; they don’t all need to be the same size.
Thread them onto the wooden skewers and place them on a platter. Cover the platter and put it into the fridge.
Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce. Finely chop the spring onion and the coriander, and slice the red chilli into small rings.
When the peanut sauce is ready, take the skewers out of the fridge. Sprinkle the smoked paprika powder over the avocado satay skewers, and pour on some of the peanut sauce.
Add the red chilli rings (to taste), finely chopped coriander, crispy fried onions, spring onions, peanuts, and also daikon cress if desired.
Pour the rest of the peanut sauce into a pretty dish to serve on the side.
From The Avocado Book: Recipes For The World’s Most Instagrammable Fruit by Ron Simpson and Julien Zaal (£12.99, Pavilion Books), out now
Photography: Fooddeco; © Sam Folan; © 2020 Con Poulos