June is World Avocado Month as proclaimed by the World Avocado Organization (WAO), of which South Africa is a member, and that means it’s time for some fanfare and fun, time to take your avocado obsession on a culinary adventure.
South Africans love avocados. It’s a delicious fruit that Africans have embraced and cultivated for ages – while we know SA’s first avocado orchards were planted in 1933, many believe avocados came to the continent with Dutch settlers from their West India colonies as early as the 1600s.
However, we can all agree it deserves some extra plate-time this time of the year.
It can be mashed, diced, sliced, or puréed – and used with an array of compatible ingredients.
For those looking to explore their culinary skills using avocado, there is no time like the present. Below are must-try recipes to indulge in as you celebrate World Avocado Month.
Mexican chicken traybake
4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken drumsticks
1tsp taco seasoning
1 jar tomato salsa (may substitute with 1 can chopped tomato and onion)
500g pumpkin or butternut, seeded, peeled, cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
3 red and yellow peppers, seeded, thinly sliced
200g mixed cherry tomatoes
1tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 avocado, stoned, peeled, thinly sliced
For the chilli-lime cream
160g sour cream
2tsp chilli or hot sauce (optional)
1tsp lime juice
Additional mashed avocado or guacamole to serve.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs and drumsticks with the taco seasoning.
Bake, turning occasionally, for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, to make the chilli-lime cream, combine sour cream, chilli sauce, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season.
Arrange the avocado and coriander over the chicken mixture in the pan. Serve with the chilli-lime cream and extra guacamole.
Avocado Vichy soup
2 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped
50g avocado or olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
300g leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, off the stalk and chopped
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until translucent, add the leeks and potatoes, and toss. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Reduce heat, add the thyme, cover, and cook the veggies over low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not coloured.
Uncover, add the stock and bring to a boil, simmer for 5-8 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked and soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Take care not to overcook or the soup will lose its flavour and freshness.
Blend in a jug blender or with a stick blender until smooth.
Serve warm or cold.
Lemony avocado pea pasta
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and diced
100g frozen petits pois or garden peas
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4tbsp finely grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
50ml avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to instructions on the packaging. Add the peas for the last 2-3 minutes. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
Toss the pasta and peas with diced avocado, and cooking water, stir in the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the reserved cooking water, and the avocado oil.
Recipes by the South African Growers’ Association.