Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian
– Writing and Photos

Reprinted from Veg-Appeal

avoSometimes mistakenly called a vegetable, the avocado belongs to the fruit family. Botanically it’s a berry; a very large berry that contains a large seed.  Admittedly we don’t think of fruit as having a high fat content, but the luscious, smooth and creamy meat of the avocado is an exception.   A very nutritious exception!

The monounsaturated fat in the avocado helps lower cholesterol, especially if used in place of saturated fat.  What other fruit can boast containing valuable amounts of nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients such as vitamins K, E, C, folate, and potassium,  magnesium,  iron, calcium, lutein, beta-carotene, and many more nutrients in one package.

In addition, this pear-shaped fruit with the rough, dark green skin contains natural plant sterols which may contribute to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. One can understand why the avocado is considered a nutrient-dense fruit.

So, while it’s true that one medium-size avocado bears the distinction of packing anywhere between 250 to 300 calories, of which 30 grams are fat, did we forget to mention it also contains approximately 14 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and 4 grams of protein?  Because of the fat content, you might want to consider including only an eighth to a quarter of one of these delicious fruits at a meal.

A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado yields to the pressure of a gentle squeeze. The flesh is prone to quick enzymatic browning when exposed to air, which is prevented with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.  Use in fruit and vegetables salads, cold soups, smoothies, sandwiches, California sushi rolls, as a spread on toast, dips, desserts, or just plain with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Veg-Appeal Recipe of the Month: Creamy Avocado Orange Dressing

1 ripe avocado

1 fresh orange, juiced (2 tablespoons of frozen concentrate, mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, may be substituted)

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (other vinegars may be substituted)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 clove of minced, fresh garlic (optional)

Mash the avocado with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Adjust any of the amounts, depending on your taste. Serve over a fresh salad for a delightful, creamy, and fruity dressing. Makes 4-6 servings.

Salad Idea: Toss together spring mix salad greens, chopped red pepper, kidney beans, chopped jicama, finely diced red onion, thinly sliced carrots, halved cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. Top with Creamy Avocado-Orange Dressing for colorful, delicious and light main-course salad!