Embrace the Sweet Side of Avocados

The creamy, mild flavor of this super food adds a great twist to Tropical Avocado Brownies plus try more recipes for avocado’s savory side
Tropical Avocado Brownies

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

Avocados are a great combination of taste, texture and healthfulness. They are always great for the ever-popular guacamole or sliced and used in tacos or salads. But there is a sweet side of avocados to consider. Their creamy, mild flavor makes them perfect to give a nutritious boost to sweet treats.

Keep in mind that avocados are fruit when you use them in this rich, sweet dessert. Chances are your family or friends will only notice the creamy chocolate and never realize there is a super food hiding in these brownies. Add some spice and top with coconut for a tropical vibe or just stick with pure chocolate, says Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created this recipe for Real Food. With National Avocado Day upon us on July 31, the time is ripe to celebrate this super food.

So how good are they for us? Avocados are a heart-healthy, nutrient-dense food: One-third of a medium avocado has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. They are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytosterols, a wide array of carotenoids, and oleic acid, which aids in nutrient absorption. That means they are good for your heart, your joints and even your brain.

Avocado Tips

Easily cut, peel and slice your avocados with these tips from the California Avocado Commission:

  • Safely and easily cut an avocado without cutting your hand! Check out this video.
  • Peel an Avocado Easily: Many of the avocado’s healthy compounds are right next to the skin, so scoop all the way to the shell. Using this “nick and peel” technique allows you to make the most of your avocado while maximizing the nutritional benefits.

So crank up your air conditioning and whip up a batch of treats that you can feel better about, knowing there is a super food along with that chocolaty goodness. And if you’re looking for savory ideas to celebrate this “holiday,” scroll down and find links to more recipes.

Tropical Avocado Brownies

Makes 16 servings

For the Brownies
¾ cup unbleached flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 cup mashed avocado
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs

For the Frosting
½ cup mashed avocado
1½ cups powdered sugar
¾ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons milk
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)

  1. For the brownies: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Stir in cloves and cinnamon (if using).
  3. In a double boiler or bowl in microwave, melt together butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth.
  4. Using a food processor, purée avocado until smooth. Add brown sugar and process. Add eggs and chocolate mixture and process until smooth. Scrape wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine. Spread in pan.
  5. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until top looks dry and a toothpick inserted in middle comes out with big, wet crumbs. Don’t overbake. Cool in pan on a cooling rack. If you prefer a moist brownie, remove from oven while a little wet in middle as brownies will set while cooling.
  6. For the frosting: Using a food processor, purée avocado. Add powdered sugar and cocoa, and process until smooth. Scrape down sides and pulse to mix well. Add vanilla and milk, and process until thick. Using a spatula, spread frosting on cooled brownies and sprinkle over coconut (if using).
  7. Slice into 16 servings. Brownies will keep in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days.

Nutrition info Tropical Avocado Brownies (Per Serving): Calories 215 (91 From Fat); Fat 11g (Sat. 5g); Chol 47mg; Sodium 114mg; Carb 31g; Fiber 4g; Protein 4g


Green Goddess Salad with Avocado

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

Hungry for More?

Look to the savory side of avocados in these recipes I have featured:

Green Goddess Salad with Avocado
This fresh and healthy salad with nutrient-dense avocados is a study in green from its crispy leaves and easy-to-make homemade dressing to its crunchy pistachio topping.

Fried Avocado Tacos with Shredded Vegetables and Crema
Never thought of frying avocados? Once you try it, you might want to eat them all the time.

Try this Butter Lettuce, Avocado and Shrimp Salad + More Salad Recipes
Nothing beats a cool, whole-meal salad when the temperature soars—they’re easy and satisfying

Avocado Hummus
Guacamole and hummus team up to make one creamy, healthy dip

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.