Unlock the secret of the avocado

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am


Avocados, sometimes known as an alligator pears because of their shape and texture of the skin, are a good source of fibre, vitamins K, C, B4, B6, folate and potassium.

They're also particularly rich in carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein, alpha and beta carotene, zeaxanthin and beta cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants are concentrated just underneath the avocado's skin in the dark green flesh, so peel off the skin carefully.

To eat, slice the fruit lengthways, twist the two halves in opposite directions, remove the stone with a spoon, cut in half, then peel.

Avocado, papaya and walnut salad

You can make this into a more substantial main course salad by adding grilled chicken or prawns and serving with crusty bread.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

2 tbsp walnuts, toasted

2 medium ripe papayas, peeled, deseeded, thinly sliced

2 small ripe avocados, peeled, stone removed, thinly sliced

250g salad leaves

handful of fresh mint, chopped

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1 Place the salad leaves on a large serving plate, top with the slices of papaya and avocado. Sprinkle the walnuts and mint leaves on top.

2 Make the dressing by shaking the lime juice and olive oil together in a screwtop jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3 Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Nutritional information per serving: 246kcal, 1018kJ, 4.8g protein, 20.3g fat, 5.0g fibre

Avocado smoothie

Avocado gives the smoothie an extra creaminess and a vibrant green hue.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 small ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed, chopped

1 banana, peeled, chopped

350ml skimmed milk

1 tbsp maple syrup or honey to taste

2 tbsp natural Greek yogurt

Mint leaves to garnish


Blitz the avocado, banana, milk, maple syrup and yogurt in a blender until smooth. Serve with ice cubes and decorate with mint leaves.

Nutritional information per serving: 283kcal, 1187kJ, 10g protein, 14.8g fat, 29.3g carbohydrates, 2.1g fibre

Avocado, grapefruit and red onion salad

This brightly coloured, intensely refreshing salad is perfect summer fodder - take it to a BBQ to serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Ingredients (Serves 3)

3 large grapefruits, peeled and sectioned

2 small ripe avocadoes, peeled, stone removed, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

75ml orange juice

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 garlic clove, minced

fresh coriander leaves to garnish


1 Arrange the grapefruit, avocado and onion on a large serving plate.

2 Put the orange juice, oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard and garlic in a screwtop jar and shake to blend.

3 Just before serving, garnish with coriander leaves and drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Nutritional information per serving: 242kcal, 1006kJ, 3.2g protein, 17.0g fat, 20.3g carbohydrates, 4.7g fibre

Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. If you've got a question for her or would like to be featured in this column, e-mail nutrition@scmp.com