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What to make when... you have avocados that are finally ripe (and you want to use them fast)

The window between ‘just ripe’ and ‘on the turn’ is short. Here’s how to use up those green wonders.

Image: Shutterstock/MaraZe

THE HUMBLE AVOCADO has firmly rooted itself in the global consciousness. It’s widely Instagrammed, a staple on cafe menus, and you’ll find it on millions of shopping lists worldwide too.

From fitness enthusiasts to chefs, this one seeded wonder is a crowd-pleaser. Avocados can take a while to ripen, and when they finally do become ready to eat, the window to consume them is relatively short. If you’ve bought pre-ripened ones and forgotten about them for a few days, you’ll know just how quickly they can go from magical to mushy.

Thankfully, there are many different ways to use your just-ripe avos, apart from simply mashing and slathering them on sourdough.

Here are a list of some of my favorite avocado-based recipes…

1. Super green smoothie bowl: A smoothie bowl is the perfect way to get all the nutrition of fruit and veggies, with minimum effort. All you have to do is add all the ingredients into a powerful blender and let the motor do what it does best. 

Blend together one large ripe avocado (stoned, peeled, cut into chunks), one banana, a handful of fresh spinach leaves, a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup, and milk of choice, and blend as per required consistency. Serve in a bowl topped with fresh berries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and other toppings of your choice.

2. Avocado superstar salad: Make the avo the hero of your meal. Take one large or two small ripe avocados (stoned, peeled and cut into chunks), one bag of chopped iceberg lettuce or mixed salad leaves, 4 to 5 cherry tomatoes chopped, and a half cucumber chopped into chunks. Add all these ingredients into a large bowl, squeeze the juice of half a lemon, drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix everything well. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh chopped mint, and voila… your salad is ready.

3. Chunky guacamole: Unlike the usual mashed, almost puréed guacamole, this chunky version adds some extra visual texture to your plate. The classic dip can be used in so many ways: on top of cheesy nachos, added to fajitas, or just as a dip with tortillas.

In a bowl add one large avocado, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks. Immediately squeeze the juice of half a lime over the avocado and toss it to mix through, to prevent it from oxidizing (not turning black). Add one finely chopped red onion, one large plum or vine tomato finely chopped and deseeded, one jalapeno chopped, and a handful of chopped fresh coriander. Mix everything until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and finally, add more lime juice to taste. 

shutterstock_558220480 Source: Shutterstock/Zoe Jane McClean

4. Mexican baked eggs: I love Jamie Oliver’s recipe for this breakfast or brunch delight. Preheat the oven to 240C, then drizzle some olive oil on a skillet or an oven-proof round baking dish. Crack in four eggs, and scatter some finely chopped chili pepper on top. Slice up your avo and squeeze the juice of half a lime on top. Arrange the avocado slices around the eggs, season with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated oven for 7 to 10 mins until the whites are cooked but the yolk is still runny. Garnish with chopped coriander and some more lime juice. Serve with crusty bread and dig in.

5. Chocolate avocado mousse: The creamy texture of an avocado makes an excellent mousse when blended with cocoa powder and refrigerated. And don’t panic, the taste of avocado is masked brilliantly. I follow this Gordon Ramsay recipe.

Add two large or four small ripe avocados (peeled and stoned) three to four tablespoons of honey, 50 grams cocoa powder and a tsp of vanilla extract into a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Spoon into four wine glasses and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Top it up with fresh strawberries and dust cocoa powder to turn it into an eye-catching dessert.

More: What to make when… you want vibrant and flavourful Mexican-inspired food at home>

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