Guacamole is a beautiful thing, and avocado toast is lovely too, but there are many more adventurous uses for the alligator pear than you might think. These sweet and savory avocado recipes are a testament to its versatility.
With its subtle taste and extra-creamy texture, it can blend seamlessly into drinks and desserts as well as all the usual savory suspects. Plus, it’s full of healthy monounsaturated fats and a great source of fiber and vitamins.
See our avocado guide for everything else you need to know, from picking and ripening to cutting and storing avocados.
Then come on and get cooking! (Or not cooking, since plenty of avocado recipes also possess the beauty of being quick and easy and are mostly a matter of pushing buttons on the blender. Seriously, what’s not to love?)
If you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a smoothie, you can still get your liquid avocado fix in cocktail form. It’s basically an avocado margarita, but with the interesting addition of thyme. Get our Copa Verde recipe.
While guacamole may be the go-to avocado appetizer, they’re great in lots of other dips too, like raw spinach and avocado dip, vegan asparagus-dill-avocado dip, and this tangy, creamy yogurt spread, which is great with raw vegetables for a healthy snack. You can even thin it out and use it as a salad dressing if you have any leftovers. Get our Avocado Yogurt Dip recipe.
Related Reading: Try This Impressive, Easy Avocado Tahini Dip for a Change
Not quite guacamole, but not that far off either, this herby mashed avocado spread is great on sandwiches or served as a sort of relish with roasted meat and vegetables. Or, sure, even on tacos. Get our Herbed Avocado Spread recipe.
Blended avocado makes a super creamy salad dressing that’s dairy-free and delicious with greens or chopped veggies. Our Chipotle Avocado Salad Dressing recipe gets a kick from the saucy little peppers in adobo and raw garlic—but try another variation in our Shrimp and Greens Salad with Yogurt-Avocado Dressing too.
Chilled soup doesn’t have to be borscht or gazpacho; blended avocados make for a beautiful bowl, which is obviously perfect at the height of summer, but can bring a little brightness into a winter day as well. If you’re not into corn (or refuse to use frozen), try this avocado zucchini soup with mint, or chilled avocado, cucumber, and kefir soup for a probiotic-packed bowl. Luckily, you can get good avocados all year long, so try playing around with lots of different flavors and toppings throughout the seasons. Get the Spicy Corn and Avocado Soup recipe.
Avocado lends a little extra oomph to the classic Argentinian garlic-parsley sauce, which is just as great over juicy portobello steaks as it is over grilled beef flank. Get the Grilled Flank Steak with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce recipe.
Related Reading: 7 Versions of Chimichurri for When You Just Can’t Get Enough
For a healthier alternative to alfredo that’s also a little like particularly rich pesto, try this creamy avocado-sauced pasta, which brings in basil and walnuts too. Since you’re being so virtuous, feel free to grate on lots of extra cheese. Get the Creamy Avocado and Spinach Pasta recipe.
If you’re a bit bored with salmon burgers, try these tuna avocado cakes for a change. Should you be cutting carbs, or just up for trying something else new, consider serving them on these low carb avocado burger buns—perhaps with our Chipotle Avocado Dressing on top for good measure, because why not? Get the Avocado Tuna Cakes recipe.
Speaking of chipotle and avocados…Breaded and baked slices of the fruit make an interesting crispy-creamy side dish, even better when there’s a zesty sauce to dip them in. We use a panko coating in our Avocado Taco recipe too, but those are deep-fried; you could always use this baking method instead for a healthier option. Get the Crispy Baked Avocado Fries & Chipotle Dipping Sauce recipe.
Avocado is obviously great as a more traditional salad ingredient (try shaving it with a veggie peeler for extra-elegant presentation), but it also makes a mean dressing, or can be used more simply, as in this chicken salad where it’s mashed and mixed in rather than mayo. Try the same thing with eggs or tuna, or chickpeas, or tofu… Get the Venezuelan Avocado Chicken Salad recipe.
Avocado does dessert, and quite well, too. It’s a great way to add creaminess to dairy-free ice cream, and works with a range of flavors from Mexican chocolate to pistachio, but this rendition adds a little heavy cream to really amp up the smooth, rich texture, along with coconut milk, rum, and a smidgen of lime juice. Serving in coconut shells is a nice touch, but this would be just as good straight out of the ice cream machine. Get the Coconut Milk and Avocado Ice Cream recipe.
Avocado is one great way to get ultra smooth, super rich vegan tarts, like this no-bake deep chocolate version in a crunchy coconut-date shell (which is gluten-free as well). There’s a definite appeal to simply blending and chilling the ingredients (like in this no-bake avocado lime cheesecake…), but avocado can replace the butter in more conventional desserts too, like this Sheba from Queens cake, another one for chocolate lovers. Get the Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Tart recipe.
If you’d rather not fuss with a crust, avocado makes for silky, decadent vegan mousse or pudding that’s incredibly healthy, but doesn’t taste like it. Get our Avocado Chocolate Mousse recipe. (Avocado fudge and chocolate avocado cake are also healthy and delicious.)
Struggling to decide what dessert to serve on St. Patrick’s Day again? I hear ya. This oil- and butter-free cake depends on avocado for its soft texture and naturally green shade—and with very few other ingredients, it’s incredibly quick and easy to make. Get the Avocado Lemon Cake recipe. (Avocado also melds marvelously into more traditional dairy-laden treats, like this Avocado Pound Cake recipe.)
If you’re a true avocado fiend and even crave them in the morning, while you could simply add some to scrambled eggs, bake a whole egg in one avocado half, or go for the classic avo-enriched smoothie, if you also love baked goods for breakfast, try these sweet and zippy lime-honey donuts made with mashed avocado. Toast will be but a distant memory (though the one below is pretty amazing). Get the Honey Lime Avocado Baked Donuts recipe.
Leah Bhabha wrote an earlier version of this story in 2014.
Header image by Chowhound.