Going plant-forward is an adventure, and it’s all about adding amazing food to your life, not missing things you love. That’s why I like to investigate dishes that have familar, craveable qualities. Umami is one I’ve delved into often, and today, I’m taking a look at “creaminess.” Ice cream, cheesy pastas, creamy soups and sauces are all crave-inducing foods, for good reason. The plant kingdom’s answer?
Yes, the creamy avocado has the mouthfeel and richness that you desire, in the miraculous guise of a fruit. High in fiber, mono-unsaturated fats, potassium, magnesium and other good things, avocado is a nutritious food, in the guise of a rich treat. It fits right in with my philosophy: a whole food that tastes great and delivers both pleasure and health-supporting nutrition.
Avocados Hit the Spot
If you’ve been eating a low-fat diet, or have just gone plant-based, you may find yourself craving high-fat foods. Research shows that we are hard-wired to seek out fat. The best way to stay in balance is to eat the kinds of healthy fats that are in avocados and extra virgin olive oil. Even if you aren’t eating low-fat, we all find creamy foods pleasurable and comforting to eat. Why fight it?
Just pick avocados for those creamy-food needs.
Avocados Make Decadent Desserts
Most of us were introduced to avocados in Mexican dishes like Guacamole. I know that when my Mom started making guac for us in the 60’s, avocados were exotic and a little harder to get. Guacamole was so amazingly tasty that I guess we just left the avocados to it, for many years. The phenomenon of offering avocado on sandwiches, or even using it in smoothies is a recent thing.
But in the Tropical countries where avocados grow, avocado desserts have always been around.
Vietnamese Avocado Shakes just went viral, and Brazilian Avocado Cream is a long-time favorite. This ice cream is just another variation, adding enough sweetness and vanilla to make the avocado into a familiar, creamy dessert.
Avocado Pasta is Not a Dessert
If you miss the cheesy pastas, give my Avocado, Tomato and Pistacho Spaghetti a try. It gives you the comforting sensation of eating tender pasta, with bits of meltingly tender avocado mixed in, for the creamy factor. This one is a keeper-and easy to throw together on a weeknight.
So, if you needed another reason to love avocados, here you go.
Avocado Ice Cream
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large frozen banana
- 2 large ripe avocados
- Place the ingredients, in order, in the blender. Secure the lid and blend, turning the speed up to high. Use the tamper to press the food into the blades, and scrape down as needed.
- When smooth, transfer to a loaf pan and freeze.Let stand for 10-15 minutes at room temp before scooping.
Avocado, Tomato and Pistachio Spaghetti
- 1 large avocado diced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil julienned
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 cup snap peas
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup toasted pistachios chopped
- Put a large pot of water on for the pasta. In a serving bowl, mix the avocado, basil, zest, garlic and tomatoes, then stir in olive oil. Add salt and pepper and toss.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the peas and broccoli for the last two minutes. When pasta is done, drain well, return to the hot cooking pot, and add the avocado mixture. Over low heat, toss the pasta and sauce to heat through and absorb into the pasta. Add salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with pistachios.