the delicious and nutritious avocado

Living out here in Southern California, we have access to delicious avocados most of the year. But as it’s the middle of peak avocado season right now, this tasty fruit is available all over the country to be enjoyed by everyone. My favorite way to eat them is sliced with a dash of sea salt, a sprinkle of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Complete delicious-ness. Lately, I’m also obsessed with a bit of avocado on fresh summer veggie sandwiches and even melted into grilled cheeses. If you haven’t tried that, you definitely should. And let’s not forget, guacamole and tortilla chips. The best summer snack E-VER, especially when paired with a margarita or two. 😉

Speaking of which, I figured we’d make some guac at some point this weekend since my brother Darshan and sister-in-law Ankita were visiting with us from Atlanta and because we all love it so much. I bought a couple of avocados from this little stand near my house that sells all kinds of amazing produce from their organic farm and for reasonable prices. But instead of guacamole, we ended up using the avocado in a completely different way thanks to Ankita. Ankita suggested we make a caprese salad but use avocado in the place of basil. I already had some marinated buffalo mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes, so we decided to skewer the three for an easy, refreshing and satisfying snack.

Here’s how we did it…

Ingredients (for approximately 7 skewers)

• 1 ½ – 2 ripe avocados, we used Haas
• 1 pint of cherry/grape tomatoes
• 1 tub of marinated mozzarella balls
• 1 lemon
• dash of black pepper & sea salt
• skewers

Directions:
1. Cut the avocado into bite size pieces. Give them a dash of salt and pepper plus a squeeze of the lemon – set aside in a dish.

2. Rinse tomatoes well, drain and set aside in a bowl. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper if desired.

3. Remove 14 mozzarella balls from the tub and transfer into a bowl or dish (we decided 2 per skewer). By doing so, you now can easily access the marinade.

4. Gently toss about 4-5 generous spoonfuls of the marinade with the tomatoes so that each one is evenly coated. If you can’t find marinated mozzarella balls, you can also toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil plus salt and pepper. I picked these up at Whole Foods on sale for $4.99.

5. Season tomatoes and mozzarella with a bit of sea salt and black pepper, if desired.

6. Skewer avocado, tomato and mozzarella in any order you want…we skewered two of each – avocado, tomato and mozzarella on each skewer.

…and ENJOY immediately!!  Ok seriously, how yummy do these look?

We sure loved them. They were a delicious variation to the traditional caprese salad. Thanks again Ankita! I miss you and your fun recipes already…and of course you too, Darshan!

Of course, I’m hoping my love for the avocado transfers to my little guy, Jai. One of my dear friends back east used to take one ripened avocado, mash it with a fork and then stir in a little breast milk or formula for a quick and easy to make baby food. Her baby used to devour it. My pediatrician recommends avocados because of their appealing taste and texture, which she says makes it an ideal first food for babies. She also recommends mixing it with rice cereal and other veggies or fruits too. I am eager for the day when we start solids and I can see if Jai enjoys this delicious fruit too.

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Fun facts about avocados (courtesy of www.avocado.org):

• Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable.

• In 1871 Judge R.B. Ord of Santa Barbara successfully introduced avocados to the United States with trees from Mexico.

• Approximately 90 percent of the country’s avocado crop is produced in California with nearly 5000 growers.

• The average avocado tree produces 500 avocados a year and they grow year round.

• The best way to tell if an avocado is ready is to gently squeeze the fruit with the palm of your hand. When ready to eat they will be firm but yield to a gentle touch.

• To peel an avocado, cut it lengthwise around the seed. Rotate the halves to separate. Then slide a spoon under the seed and gently lift it out. You can scoop out the avocado meat or easily peel away the thick outer skin.

Nutritional facts about avocados (courtesy of www.avocado.org):

• Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

• Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat.

• Among other beneficial nutrients, a one-ounce serving of avocado contains 3.5 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain in babies.

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So what are you waiting for? Go out and grab an avocado or two and enjoy this recipe yourself and prepare some for the little ones in your life too. 🙂

Who else is a fan of the avocado? Do you have any avocado recipes? Share them with us.

-Shraddha

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