Back to Basics: Avocados

Photo: barron Name: Avocado; Persea americana; Alligator Pear; a fruit, specifically a large berry that contains a single seed.

Origins: Avocado trees are native to Central Mexico, and classified in the flowering plant family, Lauraceae, which also includes cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel.

Peak Season: April – July; does not tolerate freezing temperatures and can only be grown in tropical and subtropical climates.

Nutritional Value: High in monosaturated fats (the healthy fats), as well as potassium, folic acid and vitamin K. High intake of avocados has  shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol).

Prep: Avocados are a great addition to many meals and even better as a substitute for saturated fats like butter. Try it as a morning boost in this Avocado-Banana Smoothie Recipe. Or try it in one of these healthy alternative desserts. Luscious and luxurious without the guilt!

Avocado toast with sliced radishes for an added crunch!

Speaking of avocados as a butter substitute, my absolute favorite way to use this silky fruit is spread onto toast. The creamy texture and fresh flavor gives crispy, nutty multigrain toast the perfect partner. Another great thing? It's such a versatile dish that it can easily catered to your own tastes.

Here's some guidelines towards your new favorite breakfast:

Ingredients you'll need:

  • Multigrain bread, sliced approx. 1'' thick (the perfect ratio of bread to avocado)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chili flakes, to taste
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • olive oil

Method: Lightly brush both sides of multigrain bread and either put into a saute pan or toaster until desired crispness. Meanwhile mash up avocado in a small bowl until quite smooth. Then add squeeze of lemon (or to taste) and mix in. When toast is finished, spread avocado mixture on top and then season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.

More Optional toppings: I've been enjoying this energy boosting breakfast for so long that I've found way to zest it up and change it up a bit to keep it exciting. Radishes are a great way to add a refreshing crunch in Spring and Summer. Chamoy is another great way to add sweet, tangy and spicy all in one to your avocado routine.

What's your favorite way to jazz up your avocado?

For more Back to Basics ideas, click here.