It’s no secret that we South Africans love our avos. But, it would seem, we’re not the only ones. As the World Avocado Organisation (WAO), of which South Africa is a member, prepares to celebrate World Avocado Month this June, it has been revealed that we share the honour of devouring the most avos* with a host of other countries, including the USA, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, the UK and Mexico, which consumes a whopping 7kg per capita per year.
Just how are avos eaten in these diverse countries? Well, that’s what the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA) is exploring with local avo lovers this World Avocado Month – a month dedicated to the global adoration for avos in various custom and contemporary dishes.
Here at home, avos have long been our go-to ingredient to zhoosh up salads, sarmies and savoury favourites like burgers and pizzas. Going into winter, there are still tons of ways to add an avo to your dish of the day. Try warm salads like roasted veg, feta and avo; roast chicken, green leaves and avo; or grilled tomatoes, bacon and avo with salad greens and garlic croutons. Love your winter soups? Why not give warm avo soup (yes, it’s a thing) a bash? Just remember to add a dash of chipotle or chilli to bring out that avo deliciousness.
There’s a lot more to Mexican avo dishes than guacamole – although this staple of smashed avo, lime and salt has become an absolute culinary star in every avo-eating country around the world. Enchiladas, tacos and quesadillas, along with street food favourites – all are accompanied by some form of avocado.
It was America that took guacamole from zero to hero by making it the Super Bowl Sunday snack of choice in the 1990s (this year more than 3,6 million kg’s of guacamole were consumed on that day alone), and that helped breathe new life into avo toast through its legions of Instagram influencers. California Avocados currently lists avo hummus, avo salsa, fried avo dippers, avo breakfast burritos, and avo mousse, milkshakes and margaritas – called avoritas – as its most popular recipes.
Scandinavian countries have really embraced the avo. In both Norway and Denmark, avo is most popularly paired with salmon or shrimp, served with a zesty dill sauce, and has become a must-have in these countries’ traditional open sandwiches, called smørbrød and smørrebrød respectively. Surprisingly, Sweden’s most popular Friday night dish, now considered a Swedish tradition, is tacos…served with avos, of course!
It’s clear, no matter what you’re cooking up this World Avocado Month, you simply need to add an avo or two to bring global appeal to your winter meal.
Around the World Avocado Month recipes
Warm Winter Spinach Salad with Avo
My favourite time of year is winter, because avocado pears are in season and abundant and well-priced.
What if you are tired of heavy winter stews, but still want something warm and comforting? This dish is perfect for brunch or a Sunday night supper. Add chunky avo pieces to a spinach salad of baby leaves, quartered boiled eggs, sautéed asparagus, crispy bacon or pancetta and parmesan shavings. Finish it off with a delightful dressing of 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 4 tablespoons of avocado oil (or olive oil). Add all ingredients to a screw-top jar, shake and pour over.
Mash two avocados into a smooth consistency and add finely chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic. Mix gently together with low fat cream cheese and salt and pepper. If you’re feeling daring, add some chopped chilli.
Pasta with avocado & salmon
350g dried pasta
2 ripe avocados
Fresh dill or basil, chopped
400g smoked salmon ribbons
200g crème fraiche or reduced fat cream
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, toss with a few teaspoons of avo oil and set aside.
- Cut avocados into small cubes and toss gently in a bowl with lemon juice and chopped herbs.
- Cut the salmon into bite-sized cubes
- Gently stir the crème fraiche through the drained pasta, and carefully fold in the avocado mixture and the salmon.
- Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs.