For people who love avocado, there’s no debating one fact: Add it to any meal, and it makes it at least 10 times better. This happy green fruit (yes, it’s actually a fruit, not a vegetable!) is versatile, delicious, and good for you, too.
Aside from being yummy, avocados are loaded with health benefits. For one, they’re a great source of fiber (which can help you feel fuller). They’re also an excellent source of B vitamins. And yes, they’re high in fat—but it’s the good kind (monounsaturated fat), which helps lower cholesterol.
The natural thick creaminess of avo makes it a natural replacement for butter in all sorts of recipes, especially if you’re trying to limit dairy. Avocados do have a fairly high calorie content, though, so the suggested serving size is about half.
Alicia Kennedy, a vegan writer and recipe developer, says: “While you shouldn’t get carried away and put them on everything you eat, their versatility makes them an easy staple. From your morning toast to a lunch salad to even the frosting on a chocolate cake, avocados are the perfect way to add good fat and fill up when you’re cutting down on meat and dairy.”
Here are five creative ways you can use avocado in place of butter:
Mashing and spreading avocado on toast (and then decorating it with anything from hemp seeds to cilantro) is easy, tasty, and healthy, too. Says Kennedy: “My absolute favorite way to eat avocado is the most ubiquitous way: toast. Mashed avocado on a thick slice of toasted sourdough, with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt and crushed red pepper, then a squeeze of lemon (add lemon zest, too, for extra pop), is a perfect quick breakfast. Depending on how spicy you like it, also add some hot sauce. “
2. Baked Goods
Avocado’s creaminess and fat content makes it a perfect stand-in for butter in baked goods like muffins, brownies, and cakes. The rule of thumb is to use a 1:1 ratio of avocado for butter, which is about a cup of pureed avocado for every cup of butter in the recipe. It might turn your cake or muffins green, of course, but you won’t be able to taste the avocado flavor—we promise.
Buttercream frosting is incredibly tasty—too bad the nutritional content isn’t quite as appealing! If you’re looking for a healthier way to make a rich frosting, pureed avocado is a good substitute (just be sure to mix it with cocoa, sugar, honey, or other flavors). You can also go the natural sweetener route, which is appropriate for those eating a paleo diet.
What’s better than a baked potato doused in butter and sour cream? A baked potato with avocado, of course. Whether it’s chopped or mashed, avocado adds a lot of flavor and moisture to a baked potato. It can also be used to add some creamy flavor to soups, savory breads, tortillas, or crackers. Oh, and tacos!
Mix avocado with your favorite flavors (like lemon, garlic, Parmesan, and basil) to make an amazing and very green version of Alfredo sauce. Avocado’s versatility makes it easy to use as a base for all kinds of sauces, including those for meat dishes.