What’s in Season Now: Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

This time of year, my family has a plethora of ripe, delicious avocados falling off the trees in the backyard. I’m not sure exactly what variety of avocado these are, but they are significantly larger than Haas avocados (the avocados from California that you typically see in the grocery store) and don’t turn brown as they ripen. They have a sweet flavor and a buttery, silky texture. We returned home from our Winter Haven Christmas with two large, almost ripe avocados. Inspired by a recipe in the latest edition of Everyday Food, I whipped up this smoothie for breakfast one day last week.

Avocado Smoothie (1 serving)

In a blender combine one small banana, 2-1/2 ounces avocado (about 1/4 of a Florida avocado), 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%), 2 teaspoons almond butter, 1/8 cup rolled oats, 3 ounces fat-free plain Greek yogurt, and 5 – 6 ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Sweeten to taste (I added a drizzle of honey). Serve immediately.

The color of the smoothie left something to be desired (berry smoothies are much prettier in the glass) but the texture and subtle avocado flavor was excellent. I don’t typically like smoothies for breakfast, but his recipe was creamy and satisfying. The almond butter and Greek yogurt provided satieting protein while the oats served as a thickening agent. Overall this is a breakfast I really enjoyed and would definitely make again.

Healthier Spinach Dip

In the spirit of the New Year and healthy resolutions all around, I wanted to start the year out with a healthier take on one of my favorite snacks.  I love spinach dip, but it is typically prepared with mayonnaise which is full of fat (plus I’m not really a fan of mayonnaise).  When I was in college, I lightened up spinach dip with a secret ingredient or two and some extra veggies.  This dish was often requested by my friends.

Healthier Spinach Dip

10 ounce package of frozen, chopped spinach

1 cup 2% small curd cottage cheese (secret ingredient #1)

8 ounces Greek yogurt (secret ingredient #2)

8 ounces sour cream

package of spinach dip mix

red bell pepper, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

pita chips, carrot sticks, broccoli florets, and pepper strips, for serving

bread round, for serving (optional)

Defrost spinach according to package directions.  Allow spinach to cool and squeeze dry.  Place defrosted, drained spinach in a medium bowl.  Add the cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, and spinach dip mix.  Use a fork to combine.  Add the diced veggies and mix to combine.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.  Serve in a large glass bowl or a hollowed out bread round with pita chips and carrot sticks, broccoli florets, and pepper strips.

This is a quick and easy recipe that has all the creaminess of mayonnaise-based spinach dip but without all the fat.  The cottage cheese is full of protein and the dip gets a great tanginess from the combination of Greek yogurt and sour cream.  The extra veggies give the dip a healthy crunch and a dose of vitamins.  I confess that the spinach dip mix packet is a total shortcut and I could probably cut down on the salt and improve the flavor of this recipe by adding my own combination of spices, but this is still a quick and tasty party favorite.

Happy New Year!