Put a new spin on family favourites this avo season

2021 avocado season is in full swing

10 June 2021 - 08:00
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Avocado bagels with Furikake seasoning.
Avocado bagels with Furikake seasoning.
Image: Supplied/SAAGA

Celebrate the 2021 avo season by adding an avo (or two) to your family’s best-loved dishes, for simple, quick and delicious meals made with love. 

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to spend more time doing what we love, such as sharing wholesome meals, and less time doing what we don’t like, such as being in the kitchen preparing them. Good thing the 2021 avo season is in full swing because avos are definitely more of what we love and are an easy way to add that something special to any regular family meal.

The buttery, creamy green-skinned avo varieties Fuerte, Edranol, Ryan, Reed and Pinkerton are available from March until October, and the rich, nutty dark-skinned Hass, Maluma Hass and Lamb Hass from March until November.

While we love the fact that SA avos are available almost all year round, we’re particularly happy they’re in plentiful supply in winter due to the immune support they may offer in the colder months. 

Did you know avos are high in copper, a source of fibre (5.3g fibre per 100g) and contain antioxidants?

Copper is known to support immune system function. Fibre is essential for good gut health; about 65% of the immune system is housed in the gut, which regulates immunity and helps to protect against invading pathogens that cause disease. Antioxidants are powerful food components that maintain and regulate immune function, and avos contain the antioxidant nutrients lycopene and beta-carotene.

So not only are avos ripe and ready right now, but they’re a source of nutrients, versatile and super quick and easy to add to most recipes. Almost every meal can be perfected with avos; try it on steaks, burgers, baked potatoes, pasta ... the list goes on. 

MEXICAN CHICKEN TRAY BAKE 

Mexican chicken tray bake.
Mexican chicken tray bake.
Image: Supplied/SAAGA

Serves 4 

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cooking time: 40 minutes 

Total time: 50 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 4 x chicken thighs 
  • 4 x chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 x jar tomato salsa (may substitute with 1 can chopped tomato & onion)
  • 500g pumpkin or butternut, seeded, peeled, cut into wedges
  • 1 x red onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 x red and yellow peppers, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 200g mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1 x avocado, stoned, peeled, thinly sliced

For the chilli-lime cream:

  • 160g sour cream
  • 2 tsp chilli or hot sauce (optional) 
  • 1 tbsp lime juice 
  • Fresh coriander
  • Additional mashed avocado or guacamole to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs and drumsticks with the taco seasoning.
  2. Spoon tomato salsa over the base of a casserole dish. Arrange the pumpkin, onion, peppers and tomatoes over salsa. Top with chicken mixture. Drizzle with oil. 
  3. Bake, turning occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Set aside for five minutes to rest. 
  4. Meanwhile, to make the chilli-lime cream, combine sour cream, chilli sauce and lime juice in a small bowl. Season. 
  5. Arrange the avocado and coriander over the chicken mixture in the pan. Serve with the chilli-lime cream and extra guacamole.

AVOCADO BAGELS WITH FURIKAKE SEASONING 

Furikake seasoning is a Japanese seasoning of dried seaweed, toasted sesame seeds and spices, usually used on rice; it is also delicious with avocado. 

Serves 4 

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cooking time: 0 

Total time: 10 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • Bagels
  • 2 x large ripe avocados
  • Toppings of your choice: strawberries, radishes, microgreens, pickled red onion, 

pomegranate seeds, toasted seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower

For the Furikake:

  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds 
  • 1 sheet nori, torn into pieces
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes 
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of sugar 

Method:

  1. To make the Furikake: In a mini food processor or spice grinder, whizz all the Furikake ingredients for a few pulses quickly to combine and break up the nori. Take care not to over blend; simply break up the seaweed and blend all the ingredients.
  2. Assemble the bagels by slicing the avocado or cutting into interesting shapes (with miniature cookie cutters), top with toppings of your choice, and sprinkle with the Furikake. Remaining Furikake can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month. 

GRILLED AVOCADO & BABY GEM SALAD 

Grilled avocado and baby gem salad.
Grilled avocado and baby gem salad.
Image: Supplied/SAAGA

Serves 4 

Preparation time: 20 minutes 

Cooking time: 2 minutes 

Total time: 22 minutes 

Ingredients:

For the tahini-yogurt dressing:

  • ½ ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • ⅔ cup plain (fat free or low) Greek-style or plain yoghurt
  • cup tahini 
  • 1  x garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water or more as needed to achieve desired consistency
  • 1 ½ tbsp honey or maple syrup 
  • Sesame seeds to garnish 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 x avocados, quartered, pitted and peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • Avocado or olive oil 
  • 3 x heads of little gem lettuce, ends trimmed and cut in half
  • 3 x spring onions, finely sliced 
  • Toasted almond flakes to garnish 

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whizz all dressing ingredients with a stick blender until fully incorporated and smooth. (You can also use a food processor).
  2. Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
  3. Brush flat sides of avocado with oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Place oiled sides of avocado down on grill or grill pan and sear quickly. Do not allow the avocado to heat up as it will become bitter.
  5. Remove the avocados from the heat and transfer to a plate.
  6. To assemble: Arrange lettuce leaves and avocado quarters on a large platter and drizzle with dressing. Scatter with flaked almonds. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. 

Serve with a crusty French loaf or ciabatta.

This article was paid for by the SA Avocado Growers' Association.

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