I've lived in California nearly a year, and one of the best things about it is affordable avocados. They've become a fixture of my diet, and I use them in all sorts of dishes. Creamy and buttery, there are few things that avocado doesn't make better. Often, I'll use it as a garnish, but avocado can also be a star. From an avocado-stuffed grilled cheese, to fried avocado tacos and vegan ice cream, we've rounded up 16 of our favorite recipes to show you just how versatile the fruit can be.
The Best Basic Guacamole
We can't talk avocado recipes without mentioning guacamole. Our basic version is made with yellow onion, serrano chili, cilantro, lime juice, and salt, which we grind into a paste with a mortar and pestle for deeper flavor. Mix the paste with mashed avocado, stir in some more cilantro and lime juice, and serve immediately.
Guacamole With Roasted Tomatillos
Purists might think that even our basic guacamole is pushing the limits of the dish, but we love mixing in other ingredients. This variation combines guacamole with salsa verde—you could use store-bought salsa, but it's super easy to make it from scratch with tomatillos, garlic, onion, and serrano.
Avocado Toast With Radishes, Baby Peas, and Fresh Herbs
While I'm perfectly happy to spread avocado onto a slice of good bread and call it breakfast, there's way more that you can do with avocado toast. This version is spring on a plate thanks to sweet baby peas, peppery radishes, and fresh basil (or whatever herbs you have on hand).
Avocado Toast With Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, and Capers
For something a little heartier, try this avocado toast recipe. In a nod to New York delis we serve the avocado with fatty smoked salmon, briny capers, juicy tomatoes, and pungent red onion. Instead of cream cheese we spread tangy goat cheese under the avocado.
Corn, Avocado, and Radish Tartine
We haven't quite made it to the season for local corn, but it's starting to pop up in supermarkets around these parts. Charring early-season corn in a skillet helps bring out its sweetness. Here we mix caramelized corn with garlicky mayo, cilantro, and scallions and pile it all onto avocado toast.
Grilled Cheese With Tomato, Bacon, and Avocado
Let's avoid the argument about what constitutes a grilled cheese—whatever you call it, this sandwich is delicious. Bacon and tomato are standard fillings for a grilled cheese, but the avocado might give some of you pause. If you can cast aside your preconceptions about warm avocado, though, you'll realize that its creamy texture is perfectly at home in a grilled cheese.
Vegan "B.L.A.T."s: Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, and Crispy Smoked Mushroom Sandwiches
We've gone on record stating that you shouldn't mess with a BLT, but once you've replaced the pork bacon with our smoked mushroom bacon then adding avocado to the mix doesn't sound so crazy. We keep this sandwich 100% vegan by using vegan mayo—either our homemade tofu-based version or a store-bought variety will work.
Black Bean, Corn, and Red Pepper Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
This summery black bean salad is perfect for picnics—it's served at room temperature and actually gets better if you make it ahead of time and let it sit for a few hours. Along with the beans we make the salad with corn, red bell pepper, garlic, shallots, and cilantro and dress it with olive oil and lime juice.
Chicken Salad With Avocado, Corn, and Miso Dressing
If you want a change from classic mayo-based chicken salad, try this version made with a miso and mirin dressing. We fold in sweet corn and cubes of avocado and season the salad with Japanese dried mustard and shichimi togarashi. Cooking the chicken sous vide ensures that it comes out extra juicy.
Tofu and Kale Salad With Avocado, Grapefruit, and Miso-Tahini Dressing
This light yet satisfying salad is made with tofu, avocado, and grapefruit; seasoned with za'atar; and dressed with a mixture of grapefruit juice, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, and honey. Slowly cooking the tofu in olive oil gives it a super crispy texture that pairs well with the creamy avocado.
Cold Soba Noodles With Kale, Avocado, and Miso-Sesame Dressing
We often tenderize raw kale for salads by massaging it with olive oil, but here we take a different approach and and simply chop it very finely to quickly tenderize it. Then we toss the chopped kale with a sesame-miso dressing and top it with soba noodles, wakame, bean sprouts, and avocado.
Fruity Black Rice Salad With Cilantro, Avocado, and Pepitas in Chili-Orange Vinaigrette
Grain bowls are all the rage these days, but we've been cooking grains since before they were quite so hip. Case in point: this black rice salad made with mango, orange, avocado, red onion, and pepitas. Be careful not to overcook the rice—you want it to be slightly al dente so it can stand up to the chili- and cumin-spiked orange vinaigrette.
Fried-Avocado Tacos With Chipotle Cream, Cabbage, and Pickled Red Onions
These vegetarian tacos are stuffed with beer-battered avocado slices that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. We serve them with cabbage (the soft avocados need the crunch), salsa verde, pickled red onions, and a creamy chipotle sauce. Make sure to have your tortillas warmed and your toppings prepped, because the avocados are best eaten as soon as possible after they come out of the oil.
Baked Eggs in Avocado Cups With Feta and Mint
Once you remove the pit, avocados become natural cups—here we take advantage of the shape to bake eggs. We bake the egg-filled avocados on naan, which catches the yolk once you break into it, and top the whole thing with briny feta, crunchy pepitas, and fresh mint.
Avocado, Mango, and Pineapple Smoothie
Avocado is a common smoothie ingredient in Southeast Asia—it adds a rich, creamy texture without adding too much flavor. That means that instead of guacamole this smoothie tastes like mango and pineapple. We also blend in coconut water, which plays on the tropical theme and thins the drink out slightly.
Vegan Avocado Lime Ice Cream
Thanks to their high fat content, avocados can be made into wonderfully creamy vegan ice cream. Unlike ice cream made with more neutral bases, this will taste distinctly like avocado. That's not a bad thing, but it means you should skip the chocolate or vanilla and flavor the ice cream with a little bit of lime.