Carolina Santos-Neves, mbg’s contributing food editor, is the former chef at Comodo, Colonia Verde, and Comparti Catering. She’s a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Chef’s Training program and a Brussels sprout fanatic. In this series, we’ll be exploring all her tricks for plant-based cooking. Get ready for your greens to get a major upgrade.
The 4 Avocado Hacks You Never Knew You Needed
As much as eating avocado toast and guacamole will never get old, it's always fun to discover new ways to add this ingredient to your daily diet. Here are a few ideas from one avocado-loving chef:
1. You've run out of your traditional smoothie ingredients; avocado to the rescue!
Have you ever had avocado for breakfast or dessert? In countries like Brazil and Vietnam, avocado shakes or smoothies are all the rage. In both countries, avocados get blended with ice, milk, or condensed milk and are consumed all the time.
For a healthier twist, sub out both milks for almond (or coconut) and use honey or maple syrup as the sweetener. Or even add a frozen banana into the mix. The end result is this luscious, creamy smoothie. You'll be addicted after the first try and forget berries even exist. Besides, it will keep you fuller for a longer period of time.
2. Your avocado isn't ripe yet. Now what?
You could try this, or you could make avocado carpaccio.
My mom's carpaccio recipe is one of my favorite dishes she makes. The thing is, I'm not always in the mood for meat, and it can be really heavy, especially for dinner!
Lately I've been using avocados instead but still keeping the essence of the dish by using the same sauce and a delicate layer of grated Parmesan cheese on top.
In a small wooden bowl add 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and stir. Then add the juice of ½ lemon and salt, and mix. Last, drizzle olive oil (to taste) and mix with more force.
Cut your avocado in half, take out the seed, flip it over so that the section with the hole is on the palm of your hand. Then use a peeler to thinly slice the pieces, place it on the plate, and layer it until there is no more white space. Grab your favorite greens, toss that in the vinaigrette; place it on top of the avo, and sprinkle the cheese on top of that.
3. You have a kale salad, but you're bored with the dressing.
Who doesn't love a Caesar dressing? At the restaurant, we used to serve a Brussels sprout dish with that dressing, but the base was avocado, NOT raw egg.
Next time you have a Caesar salad craving, grab half an avocado, half a garlic clove minced, juice from 1 orange, 1 large tablespoon Dijon mustard, a touch of salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoons pecorino cheese. Mix (or blend).
Grab your bowl of cleaned and chopped kale and massage the dressing in there! Add some toasted almonds for crunch.
4. You have too many ripe avocados and forgot to make dessert for a dinner party.
As a chef, I always try to make dessert first. There's been way too many times in my career when I was left with very little time to make dessert and panicked.
Chocolate avocado mousse has saved me many times! In a blender add 2 avocados, 1 cup almond milk (or any alternative milk, really) ¾ cup honey, ¾ cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Serve in a little bowl and top with fresh berries.