If we could eat the avocado piñata hanging in our office, believe me—we would. Unfortunately, we aren’t that lucky and will have to settle for the normal-size, edible ones instead.
So why does the Greatist team love these magical green fruits so much? First off, they’re clearly delicious—dark chocolate avocado cookies or kale salad with avocado and grapefruit, anyone? But they’re healthy too! Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat (which can improve cholesterol levels, decrease risk of heart disease, and benefit brain activity), vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant), and vitamin B6 (which promotes healthy skin and serves as a back-up fuel). Monounsaturated fatty acids prevent the aversive effects of obesity on locomotion, brain activity, and sleep behavior. Sartorius T, Ketterer C, Kullmann S. Diabetes, 2012, Apr.;61(7):1939-327X. Reducing saturated fat intake is associated with increased levels of LDL receptors on mononuclear cells in healthy men and women. Mustad VA, Etherton TD, Cooper AD. Journal of lipid research, 1997, Aug.;38(3):0022-2275. Dietary fat and heart failure: moving from lipotoxicity to lipoprotection. Stanley WC, Dabkowski ER, Ribeiro RF. Circulation research, 2012, May.;110(5):1524-4571. While avocados are a great addition to just about any healthy recipe, just remember not to overdo it—this fruit can be fairly high in calories for those watching their intake.
Here are 49 of our favorite (at least semi-) healthy avocado recipes. Try one of them today!
Pizza for breakfast? Yes, please! Whole-wheat Naan bread or other flatbread makes a great hearty base for a breakfast pizza. Top with avocado mash and an egg cooked any style. Throw on some extra veggies (we like arugula and tomato) for even more flavor and nutrients.
Avocado in pancakes? Yep, you read right. Adding in some avocado purée means cutting out most of the butter or oil in this recipe. Plus, there’s the added nutrition too.
Instead of carb-heavy eggs Benedict, try this take on an open-faced breakfast sandwich served on corn tortillas. Fresh veggies and lots of spices lend tons of Mexican flavor without heavy sauces or loads of cheese.
Easy, quick, and healthy, this recipe is the kind of simple that can't really be improved (unless you have some bacon on hand...in which case, it could be a little improved). Even better, these are equally suited for solo dining or made in batches, no sharing necessary.
Avocado, egg whites, and pepper jack cheese? A low cholersterol breakfast has never looked so good.
Mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes welcome avocado into the fold with an egg to bring everything together. While not necessarily the healthiest dish on this list, it's an easy way to get your veggies in early if you're on the go all day.
Avocado and eggs—a winning pair. In this egg salad, the addition of avocado means cutting back on the amount of mayo while also adding some awesome flavor. Not into mayo at all? Try subbing plain Greek yogurt!
No need for mayo in this chicken salad. Mashed avocado and mustard bind a combo of lean chicken breast and chopped veggies (choose whichever ones you like!). Serve on whole-grain bread, crackers, or cucumber slices.
Yet another perfect instance in which to use avocado as a substitute for mayo! Mash avocado together with a can of tuna, season with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you’d like. Serve in the avocado peel and eat with a fork, or enjoy in lettuce wraps for an easy, carb-free lunch.
For a vegan alternative to chicken, egg, or tuna salad, nothing beats mashed chickpeas! Avocado keeps the cilantro and green onion together while providing a great creamy texture.
It may sound like an unlikely combination, but these three ingredients—and, of course, two slices of whole-grain bread—come together for a decadent and healthy lunch. Strawberries are rich in fiber and vitamin C, and a few tablespoons of goat cheese is a great way to get that cheesy flavor without having to pile on the calories.
Try this topical twist on traditional chicken salad for lunch this week! Greek yogurt replaces mayo, and mango adds a little extra sweetness to this recipe for something a bit different.
This one’s great to keep on the docket for summer. Fresh green peas, avocado, cucumber, and mint make this soup as green as can be, and tahini and lemon add even more flavor.
Mashed avocado is a great substitute for less-than-healthy mayo or a few too many slices of cheese. In this sandwich, the avocado helps hold together mango, red onion, peppers, and dandelion greens on whole-grain bread. The fiber-filled combo is sure to keep you full all afternoon long.
Try this for an interesting lunchtime wrap variation. Fill an herb wrap with peach and avocado slices, basil leaves, and a splash of homemade balsamic dressing (follow the link for this recipe too!) for a vegetarian-friendly lunch packed with flavor and color.
Sometimes the classic soup, salad, or sandwich just seems too boring for that mid-day meal. Enter homemade spring rolls. Stuffed with avocado, rice noodles, cashews, mushrooms, and bell pepper, they’re super healthy and versatile. Add some cooked shrimp or chicken, more veggies, or different nuts to customize them.
Stove and slow-cooker are both viable options for this chicken chili recipe, the kind of meal just right for warming you up on cold fall nights. It reminds us of a hybrid between chicken and tortilla soup—which is our way of saying this is the best soup.
While it seems like an unorthodox combination, avocados actually make a fantastic pasta sauce too. Combined with lemon, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and basil, it’s like a healthier (and greener) version of the classic alfredo sauce. Use whole-wheat pasta and add some extra veggies to the mix to make it even healthier.
Avocados are pretty much crucial in South American dishes. So we had to include this one on the list! The creamy fruits are blended into a super smooth sauce to top chicken enchiladas filled with cheese, jalapenos, Poblano peppers, and onions.
This recipe sounds super decadent and diet-busting, but we promise it’s not. Just make sure to savor every bite (and consume in moderation). Avocado makes it extra creamy, cilantro and lime kick up the flavor a few notches, and Pepper Jack cheese gives it a little oomph. Go with whole-wheat elbow macaroni for some extra fiber and protein.
The only thing better than chicken and avocado separately? Chicken and avocado joined in an holy patty union. Combined with a Poblano pepper, Panko crumbs, and garlic, this burger is so far beyond your basic beef, the argument is moo-t (sorry).
A quick hit in the food processor is all it takes to whip up this avocado cream sauce, which gives light dimension to its blackened chicken counterpart. Truly greater than the sum of its parts (avocado, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt), it's an easy meal for any occasion.
How’s this for a less technical way of making sushi? Rather than meticulously rolling ingredients into a log and slicing, try making sushi rice balls with filling in the center! Bonus: This way requires no special tools like a sushi roller.
Mashed avocado in both the brownie and frosting make this dessert the avocado Holy Grail. Make them a bit healthier by subbing in whole-wheat flour and cutting down on sugar.
Mashed avocado and coconut milk give these pops a creamy texture, while vanilla extract and matcha powder give them a distinct green-tea flavor. You can sweeten them (totally optional) with agave or honey too.
This slightly spiced chocolate cake (hint: It has just a bit of cinnamon!) is brought to the next level thanks to chocolate-avocado frosting. Both are naturally sweetened with agave.
It’s the avocado filling that give this Key Lime pie its bright green color. Ground almonds and dates make a healthy crust, and honey adds a bit of sweetness.
All you need for this recipe is a few frozen avocados, some simple syrup, and a blender. Much like with frozen bananas, tossing frozen avocados into a blender makes a simple, delicious, fruit-only ice cream.
Combined with coconut milk, some melted chocolate, and a few other ingredients, mashed avocado provides a great base for chocolate pudding. No one needs to know!
Greek yogurt and ripe avocado make up the base of this ice cream, and just a bit of heavy cream gives it a decadent-but-still-healthy texture. Try one of these methods if there’s no ice cream maker handy.
An almond and coconut crust give these single-serve cheesecakes some crunch and natural sweetness, while the maple-vanilla avocado filling lends the texture of traditional cheesecake without any of the dairy.
We’re big fans of chia around here. So a recipe that joins chocolate, chia, and avocado is a winner in our book!
Snacks, Sides, and Extras
Greek yogurt and avocado health-ify the filling for these deviled eggs (making them not so so devilish after all). This recipe still uses the yolks but ups the nutritional value by adding yogurt and avocado instead of mayo.
This traditional Naan recipe goes dairy-free by using mashed avocado instead of yogurt.
Creamy dressings: We want to put them on everything but wish they were healthier. This recipe solves both of those problems. Red wine vinegar, lemon, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil give it flavor, while avocado supplies the texture typically achieved by adding mayonnaise.
This recipe would make the perfect base for a burrito bowl or side for chili. It’s simple too: brown rice, mashed avocado, some lime, salt, and cilantro.
Avocados and bananas have very similar textures, meaning they work similarly in baked goods. Instead of making yet another loaf of banana bread, try this very similar avocado loaf using whole-wheat flour.
Filled with avocado, onion, and tomato, these egg rolls may be a bit healthier, but they're still fried, so take it easy on the portions! They’re basically egg rolls filled with guacamole. And anything stuffed with guacamole is gold.
Avocado. Cheese. Lime. Tabasco sauce. Three minutes to prepare, four minutes to cook—if our math is correct, that's seven minutes until happiness and healthy fat.
Avocado and tequila go together like peanut butter and jelly. This slightly savory, slightly sweet drink is a fun way to indulge in an adult beverage while getting at least some nutritional value from the green fruit (and cilantro)!
This simple smoothie is perfect for satisfying that sugar craving without actually overdoing it on the sweet stuff. The recipe calls for 2 and a 1/2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, but you can always go unsweetened. You can also use a tablespoon of honey instead of the teaspoon of sugar.
This is a great avocado-focused take on the green juice trend. Simply blend the juice of 1 lemon, some water, cucumber, celery, greens (spinach would work well), avocado, and ginger until smooth.
The avocado-banana combo in this recipe makes for an extra-creamy and decadent smoothie appropriate for breakfast or dessert. Chia seeds and almond butter add even more essential nutrients like magnesium and iron (hey chia!), plus fiber and vitamin E from the almond butter.
Thanks to the pineapple and honey, you'll be hard-pressed to notice the generous helping of spinach in this creamy sweet treat. Always find that a third of the smoothie refuses to blend? Try adding the frozen stuff last—it'll incorporate more easily.
While we love a good banana/avocado smoothie situation, sometimes that banana taste can be a bit overpowering. Which is when we turn to this guy: With a citrus focus (hello, kiwi, green apples, and pear) balanced by avocado, almond milk, and kale, it's a tasty way to pack in your nutrients for the day.
French toast in a glass—and vegan to boot. The ingredients are a bit unconventional (nutritional yeast and maple syrup, meet avocado), but it's a leap of faith, a trust fall worth taking. The end result: a breakfast smoothie done differently.
Originally published March 2013. Updated November 2015.