Avocado pear. • Not the most flattering name, but it's what we once called the avocado. Before millennials began enthusiastically smashing it on toast, this subtropical fruit was named after the green skin of a gator. (Floridians probably loved it.) Today, the avocado is as delicious as it is Instagrammable. (A search of the hashtag #avocadotoast yields more than 300,000 posts.) Rich and buttery, the avocado feels like an indulgent treat — but it's actually good for you, containing healthy fats that can help your heart. This Cinco de Mayo, enjoy some guilt-free guacamole, then explore our five other ideas for avocados, ranging from a sweetened mousse to a springtime pasta.
Emily Young, Times correspondent
Rimmed with salt and adorned with a lime wheel, this avocado margarita makes for a vibrant toast to the beginning of summer. Plus, it includes avocado, so it has to be healthy, right? On a small plate, combine 2 tablespoons salt with 1 teaspoon lime zest. Moisten the rim of 8 margarita glasses with a lime wedge, then rotate the rim of the glasses in the salt mixture until they are decorated with a lime-green coating. To prepare the margarita ingredients, begin by removing the peel and pit from an avocado. Chop 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro. Place the following ingredients in a blender: the avocado flesh, ¾ cup tequila blanco, an additional 2 tablespoons tequila blanco, ¾ cup triple sec, ¾ cup fresh lime juice, the chopped cilantro, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of lime zest and 2 ½ cups crushed ice. Puree until the mixture becomes smooth. Pour into each of the salt-rimmed margarita glasses and adorn with lime wheels. Serves 8. Recipe from Bon Appétit.
Sweet Avocado Mousse
Looking for a culinary adventure? Check out this recipe for sweet avocado mousse. It may be an acquired taste, if you're used to avocados being a savory dish. It serves four, so don't be afraid to invite your friends along for the ride. Begin by halving 2 chilled, firm-ripe California avocados, then remove the pits and peel. In a food processor, puree the following ingredients: the avocado flesh, 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ¾ cup whole milk, ½ cup sugar and a pinch of salt. You'll know it's done when it becomes completely smooth. Next, pour ½ cup chilled heavy cream into a bowl and beat until it just holds stiff peaks. Use a spatula to gently fold avocado mixture into whipped cream until combined. Recipe from Epicurious.
Asparagus, Snap Pea and Avocado Pasta
This elegant pasta recipe takes only 30 minutes to make (including cook time) and uses one large pot for everything. To begin, take 1 pound of asparagus, trim the ends and cut into 2-inch lengths. Cut the flesh of 1 ripe avocado into ½-inch chunks and set aside. Although the recipe doesn't call for this, you can use lemon juice to help the avocado stay fresh while you prepare the next steps. Remove the strings from 1 pound sugar snap peas. Shred ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Chop ½ cup of fresh mint, parsley or basil. Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for about 2 minutes, until it turns bright green, then add the sugar snap peas and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the cooked asparagus and snap peas to a bowl, but leave the water in the pot — you'll use it to cook the pasta. Bring water to a boil again. Add 1 pound bow-tie pasta (farfalle) and cook until al dente. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water, which you'll use in the next step. Use a colander to drain pasta, then set return pot to medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter in the pot. Add cooked asparagus and snap peas, along with the minced garlic, then season with salt and paper to taste. Toss the vegetables together and cook for about 2 minutes; you'll know they're done when they are crisp yet still tender. Add the cooked pasta, avocado, herbs, Parmesan cheese and cup of reserved pasta water. Season with more salt and pepper. The bright green vegetables served over cream-colored, buttered pasta makes for a perfect spring meal. Sprinkle cheese over top as a final garnish. Serves 6. Recipe from Everyday Food.
Avocado Hummus Dip With Crispy Sea Salt Pita Chips
Love guacamole? Love hummus? This recipe combines both into a healthy appetizer or a quick, easy-to-pack lunch. To complement the dip, prepare your own batch of homemade pita chips. They're easy to make: All you'll need is 2 store-bought pita, either whole wheat or regular. To make, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the pita in half, then brush each side with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Season with flaky sea salt and pepper. Cut each half into 8 wedges so they resemble triangular chips. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then place in the center of the oven. They should take 15 to 18 minutes to bake. When they're done, they will be crisp and browned. To prepare the ingredients for the hummus guacamole, begin by coarsely chopping the flesh of 1 large, ripe avocado. Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans. Pulse the following ingredients in a food processer: the chopped avocado, the cannellini beans, ½ packed cup arugula, ⅓ packed cup cilantro, the juice of 1 lemon, the juice of half a lime, 1 smashed garlic clove, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. When the mixture is coarsely chopped, it's ready for the next step. With the food processor on, slowly add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Continue to process until it turns creamy. I prefer mild hummus, but if you like yours spicy, feel free to add hot sauce or cayenne pepper. Recipe from Savor Home.
This recipe takes 45 minutes to make, but you'll end up with a pint of homemade salsa that you can use for future dishes. Plus, who doesn't love homemade tacos? It yields 12, so you will have enough to share at a small Cinco de Mayo gathering. To make the salsa, begin by removing the stems and seeds from 4 pasilla chiles. Next, you're going to char them, so make sure to grab a pair of tongs. If you have access to an open flame on the stove, use the tongs to hold them over the flame until they are charred on all sides. Alternatively, use your oven's broiler. In a food processor, combine the charred chiles with ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt and pulse until it becomes a powder. Add 2 garlic cloves and 10 tomatillos, boiled in salted water until soft. Puree until smooth. This is your salsa. (After you use your desired amount for the tacos, refrigerate the remaining salsa in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.) To prepare the rest of your taco ingredients: Cut the flesh of 3 avocados into thin slices, chop ½ cup cilantro and finely dice ¾ cup white onion. Spread 3 to 4 slices avocado on each of the 12 tortillas, then top with salsa. Divide the cilantro and onions among each taco and sprinkle over top. Recipe from the New York Times.