While it is advisable to stick to locally available, and indigenous ingredients as the mainstay for everyday food preparation, simply because it is practical, wallet friendly, as well as good for our systems, experimenting sometimes with some exotic foods (availability and wallet permitting) can actually help whip up some excitement in our dulled palate - and inject some fun back into eating!
Try adding avocados in your menu this week and get the taste of the health they deliver in abundance.
Avocados are delicious. There is no doubt about that. But not many know that it is a health bomb too.
This delicious fruit is loaded with health promoting MUFA (Mono unsaturated fatty acids that are great for our heart), potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, and even the elusive folate, which again is a wonderful heart health nutrient.
It also has other disease-fighting compounds such as lutein, beta- carotene, and vitamin E.
And then there’s a lot of gut healthy fibre too. There truly is a lot packed in this, besides its unusual nutty flavour.
There are lots of ways to use this unfamiliar fruit, which has now started making an appearance in India (hope it stays accessible and they price it right too).
In fact it is extremely versatile. You can have it smashed, blended or sliced. And the best news is that it does not need too much preparation and is quick to put together.
Try some of my favourite quick recipes:
Avocado and balsamic toast
Remove the peel and pit from the avocado. Place it into a small bowl and add salt, pepper, and some lemon juice, mash lightly ((you can make the mixture and keep it ready in the fridge).
Top toasted bread with mashed avocado, place a few basil leaves add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Add thinly sliced tomato and sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
Chickpeas and avocado toast
Mash boiled chickpeas, add salt pepper, olive oil, spread over a toast. Mash avocado, add lime juice, oregano or parsley.
Spread over chickpea mixture. Top with red radish /cucumber / tomato thin slices
Hummus avocado toast
Spread hummus on toast too with sliced avocado. Season with salt pepper red pepper flakes
Mash avocado with a little lemon juice, spread it on toasted rye bread and sprinkle it with a topping of garlic salt, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and white pepper.
Bonus tip: you can replace that mayo you usually put on a sandwich with avocado slices or ripe mashed avocados (goes well with both chicken and turkey).
This cold soup will help break the monotony of the regular soups. Chop avocado and pop it in the soup maker along with chopped cucumber, lots of mint leaves and some yoghurt.
Turned this unfamiliar fruit into a delicious cold soup that to my surprise was not just satisfying and filling but also fabulously tasty.
Bonus tip: you can top soups with chunks of avocado.
Chopped Salad With Chickpeas, Feta and Avocado
Place romaine lettuce torn pieces in a large mixing bowl, along with the boiled chickpeas, chopped cucumber, sliced olives and green onions.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil with vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk well.
Pour enough dressing over the salad to moisten; toss well. Add the sliced avocado, feta cheese and herbs of choice and toss gently.
In a bowl mix greek yoghurt or cream cheese, mustard, vinegar. Add oregano, salt, pepper.
Then fold in small chunks of smoked chicken (or boiled chicken), red peppers, corn and avocado slices.
Place in lettuce cups and eat.
Bonus tip: combine sliced avocado with oranges and fresh mint. Delicious!
One good piece of news is that tossing a few slices of avocado in your colourful salad, or mixing some chopped avocado into your favourite salsa or other foods will not only add a rich, creamy flavour, but will greatly increase your body's ability to absorb the health promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.
Double bonus there! So try some avocado this week and report back.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)