An a(vo)ffair of the heart!
South Africans love avocados. For most of us, it was love at first bite, often as babies, and they’re still desperately desired as adults. It’s a love affair for the ages.
Rather excitingly, June is World Avocado Month as decreed by the World Avocado Organization (WAO), and not only is South Africa a member, we are also a major global producer of the fruit, so there’s lots to celebrate.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or shake, avos are always on our minds. Research conducted last year across all provinces reveals that South Africans are avo purists, with most enjoying avocados in salads, on toast and on their own! We love an avo for what it is – no messing about needed for us to add an avo, although we’ll never say no to an avo on the side of a main meal, or on a pizza, burger or vetkoek either.
Great news is that South African avocados are in season right now, so we can have our avo toast and guacamole too! The creamy green-skinned avo varieties are available from March until October and the nutty dark-skinned avos from March until November.
Like bread and milk, avocados are a necessity in most mzansi shopping carts. Use your haul to salute World Avocado Month with local favourites like avo and atchar, curry and avo sambal or braai meat and mouth-watering Avocado Salad with Roast Tomatoes, Baby Corn and Spring Onions. At the very least, serve up a smile with our Deluxe Avocado BLT.
You can even let your tastebuds dance to some glorious new international avocado vibes. Maybe stay on the African continent for an Ethiopian spris, which is a refreshing layered drink of papaya blitzed with a little water to thin it out, followed by avocado puréed with fresh lime juice and salt, topped with mango pulp.
Go full Mexican fiesta, if you like, using guacamole seasoned with chilli, lime and cilantro to accompany everything from meat and fish dishes to soups. Or stuff avo halves with ceviche like the Peruvians; with chicken, tuna, crab or ham and mayo like the Chileans; and whipped it with lime juice and sugar like the Brazilians.
Whenever your tastebuds tempt you, add an avo, because their monounsaturated fat content may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when used to replace saturated and trans fats in a balanced diet. Avocados are also naturally cholesterol free, an added bonus in heart health.
Avocado salad with Roast Tomatoes, Baby Corn, & Spring Onions
- Serves 6 – 8
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: 10 minutes
For the roasted tomatoes
- 10 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 150 g cocktail tomatoes.
- 45 ml (3 tbsp) avocado or olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) crushed garlic
- Pinch of dried mixed herbs
For the salad
- Large handful rocket
- 3 avocados, peeled, stoned and cut into quarters
- 2 punnets baby corn, char grilled or roasted
For the dressing
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) avocado or olive oil
- 10 ml (2 tsp) balsamic vinegar
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 4 – 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Place the cocktail tomatoes on a baking tray. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until softened, but do not overcook, they should hold their shape and not be mushy.
- For the salad: place the avocado quarters on a flat platter, arrange the tomato halves and chargrilled corn on top and scatter over the rocket.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.