Janet's Notebook
Avocados: An Unlikely Love Affair

Easy Avocado, Grapefruit Salad

There was a time when my husband loved to share guacamole with me... because he would get to eat it all! I was a non-believer, an avid avocado avoider. I took my tortilla chips straight, with just a hint of salsa if I was feeling wild. But, oh how far I've come!

With an open mind and a good recipe, I've yet to meet an ingredient that couldn't win me over. Through the oodles of cooking we do in the Test Kitchen, avocados slowly began making regular appearances in my fruit bowl. They'd get sliced into a salad, spread onto a sandwich, even blended into a smoothie! And you know what, I loved it.

Naturally rich and creamy, avocados are one of the most fascinating foods you'll ever come across. They're full of vitamins and minerals, and packed with healthy oils! (Leave it to me to fall for the fattiest fruit possible, huh?) They are downright crave-worthy served on their own with just a sprinkling of lime juice and salt, but also hold up well in the many inventive recipes we've had the pleasure to toss them in.

So, remember the smoothies I mentioned a moment ago? We weren't joking! Melissa Baldan's Avocado Strawberry Smoothie is just that: a creamy, sweet, super strawberry treat. "Don't let the name (or ingredients) throw you or keep you from trying this," encourages Melissa. "This is a summertime staple at our house and my kids - currently 8 and 10 - ask for this daily!" The unexpected blending of strawberries, avocado, vanilla ice cream and milk is peppered with the delightful flavors of honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. The result is kid-friendly nutrition disguised as an extra thick strawberry milkshake! Let's hear it for hidden fruits and veggies!

Amanda Fields and Nikki Smith are fans of mingling their avocados with fruit as well, only they choose to serve them in salad form.

"I love Avocados!!!" exclaims Nikki proudly. She suggests whiling away your "lazy" summer afternoons reclined with the refreshing avocado salad that she whips up regularly. Filled with red onion, sweet orange sections and ample cilantro, this salad of romaine lettuce and avocado is nothing short of delightful. The unexpected combination of flavors works surprisingly well. And the simple dressing of salad oil, lime and sugar is a simple pick-me-up for any summer salad. Color us refreshed!

Equal yum-props go out to Amanda for her grapefruit-y spin on light, summer deliciousness. Her E-Z Grapefruit Salad has been passed down through the generations and is as easy as they come. "My Aunt loved this recipe on warm summer days," says Amanda. "She would say, 'With the already-prepared grapefruit sections, this salad can be fixed in a snap!'" Amped up by the addition of red wine vinegar and Roquefort cheese, this avocado salad really transcends the expected and is a tribute to the creativity of Amanda's aunt. "She passed away," says Amanda, "but her recipes keep her active in my heart."

It was a friend who introduced Jeanne Benavidez to her now signature recipe for Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes. The miniature stuffed tomatoes burst with flavor and are a take-along favorite... perfect for picnics and cookouts! "A friend brought this to a back yard party once and I really liked it," she says of the Blue Ribbon dish. "She was kind enough to give me the easy recipe. I have made it several times and everyone seems to really enjoy the little morsels of coolness." Stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and avocado, these beautiful cherry tomatoes are as tasty as they are cute. They're a festive addition to any table, adding a special pop of color and yummy flavor.

With recipes like this it's hard to remember back to that time in my life when avocados were met with a turned-up nose. It just goes to show that even as adults we have so many wonderful flavors and techniques still waiting to be sampled and enjoyed. It sure is one delicious journey, isn't it?

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Patricia Porter - Aug 21, 2012
Having had a HUGE avocado tree, and giving away grocery bags full to friends and neighbors to enjoy and pass on to others, I still had more than my fare share which allowed me to use avocadoes any way possible. I would eat upwards of 6 a day, and never had problem with cholesterol. My skin was beautiful and healthy (avocados have lots of vitamin A, as well as numberous other vitamins and minerals). This is about as close to a perfect food as I have come across, it has everything in it!!
emily nettles - Jul 25, 2012
i really love goat cheese but w/ alvocado it soooo perfect
JoAnn Melton - Jul 21, 2012
I'm glad someone else asked how to save this page - what happened to that feature?
Kathleen Hodgins - Jul 19, 2012
Thanks Penny !
Penny Burdge - Jul 19, 2012
Here is a website that has pictures of different types of avocados:
Melissa Baldan - Jul 19, 2012
Check out my newest Avocado Recipe...This time: A frozen treat! Yummo!
Eileen Kaiser - Jul 19, 2012
I love avocados....I work at chilis and they have a awesome recipe...Ive added a few things to it and Im going to post it and put it in my receipe book.. thanks for the information.. Eileen..
Rosette Rooney - Jul 19, 2012
Kathleen, I agree with you - NOTHING beats a good crawfish/crab boil including fresh avocados. I feel sorry for Elisabeth not able to get fresh produce, but as Kathleen can attest, we get all of it - peaches, lemons, apples, oranges, persimmons, figs (a plenty), berries, etc. Granted some of it is from neighboring states, but it's still fresh and delicious. I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to get any of these things. I lived in San Antonio recently for 5 years and they got all the fresh produce, but not the seafood. They did get some crawfish and raw oysters, but not like in Louisiana. I'll stay right here from now on and enjoy our great seafood and wonderful produce.
NIKKI SMITH - Jul 19, 2012
Thanks again JAP, I have been eating a lot of avocados lately.. Have some more recipes planned..:) Congrats to everyone.. Cant wait to try them all..:)
Kathleen Hodgins - Jul 18, 2012
I love lemons, peaches, nuts, olives avocados, carrots and lettuce but I would NEVER trade them for boiled Louisiana Crawfish any day ! Good to know the difference in the avocados...thanks
Elisabeth SuChy - Jul 18, 2012
Living in California does have its benefits. When we lived in S. Calif, avocados, lemons, carrots, and lettuce were aplenty and affordable. In N. Calif, we found the same with peaches, persimmons, apricots, pears, nuts and olives. In Washington, it was the berries. Moving East, it became hard, if not impossible to find or afford these fresh foods. I will trade our seafood for really good avocados, persimmons and berries any day!
GamaEdna Martin - Jul 18, 2012
Laurie, Haas is the kind of avocado, there are also Reeds,and many other kinds. the best way to find out the types go to a Farmers Market and have them tell what they are. Hope this helps.
Lydia Solis - Jul 18, 2012
I love your article. Is there a place to save it?
Rosette Rooney - Jul 18, 2012
Hass avocados are the tastiest and smoothest textured avocado. The other one (Florida avocados) are larger in size, brighter in color and lesser in flavor. You definitely want the California - Hass - avocado. I don't know if anyone posted this, but to keep your avocado from turning brown, dip the cut edge into fresh orange juice. Some use lemon, but I prefer orange since it doesn't add any flavor to the avocado.
Patricia & Jake Fish - Jul 18, 2012
Avocados benefit women's healthy, even shaped like our ovaries. Highly recommended by doctors.