As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados
With strong evidence supporting the Mediterranean-style Diet’s health benefits, this eating pattern is now recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and by the American Heart Association. It’s easy to understand why. The scientific support for eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, seafood, olives and nuts is robust and the heart-healthy avocado, which contributes naturally good fats, fits perfectly into the Mediterranean style of eating.
As a co-author of the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies ®, 1st and 2nd Editions, I’ve gone to great lengths in studying and understanding the research and lifestyle involving the Mediterranean Diet.
Did you know that only a handful of locations around the globe mimic the Mediterranean climate and California is one of them! I count my blessings daily to live in SoCal and in a climate similar to much of the Mediterranean region. California Avocado growers benefit from the coastal climate and ideal growing conditions of the region, including rich soil, warm sunshine and cool coastal breezes. Although we can’t all live in California, most anyone in the US can shift daily habits and meal focuses to blend our convenience-driven society with the slow and mindful ways of the Mediterranean.
As a dietitian, I prefer a shift away from saying Mediterranean “Diet” and choose to look at it as a lifestyle, a way of living each day. From walking more, to mindful eating and boosting our daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, dried beans, nuts and fish. The Mediterranean lifestyle is a plant-based way of eating that’s high in healthy fats, much like the avocado, which is a whole food source of naturally good fats.
California Avocados are a heart-healthy superfood. The Mediterranean Diet is one that is proportionately high in healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats, making avocados a perfect fit.
Consuming foods rich in fiber also is part of the Med lifestyle. High fiber foods may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Avocados are a good source of fiber. Avocados contain 3 g of fiber per serving. From fiber to good fats, eating a serving of 1/3 of an avocado a day is definitely part of the Mediterranean way.
EATING THE MEDITERRANEAN WAY WITH CALIFORNIA AVOCADOS
Sliced avocado on pita with a boiled egg is a delicious and easy on-the-go breakfast.
Treat yourself to this refreshing and simple-to-make Pesto Shrimp and Avocado Salad.
Try my Avocado & Lentil Fritters with Lemon Avocado Yogurt Sauce (also below).
Bruschetta with California Avocado and Basil is a quick and healthy snack or perfect as an appetizer.
Who can resist dark chocolate and avocados? Not me! These ingredients are very traditional additions, from dark chocolate to cashews to oats and walnuts. Try these California Avocado and Chocolate Bars.
But before you buy…
Be sure when selecting an avocado, look for California on the label, the symbol of premium quality. California Avocados are locally and responsibly grown by California farmers who nurture the avocados and the land every step of the way.
If you’re looking for a simple way to serve up a taste of the Mediterranean, try my new refreshing and zesty fritter recipe, Avocado & Lentil Fritters with Lemon Avocado Yogurt Sauce. I serve this as a Meatless Monday dinner or for a fun after-school snack. While I was visiting the Mediterranean, lentils, lemon, and olive oil were main components of meals served. Here I pair them with creamy California Avocados to elevate the flavor and balance out the tartness of the lemon. It’s a winning combo in our home, and I hope it is in yours, too!
AVOCADO & LENTIL FRITTERS WITH LEMON AVOCADO YOGURT SAUCE RECIPE
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 27 minutes
This recipe is jam-packed with 57% DV dietary fiber from favorites like lentils and avocados. Make these fritters into a sandwich, stuff into your favorite pita or serve as an appetizer at your next party. Additionally, this dish provides a good source or excellent source of 11 of the 13 essential nutrients: vitamins A (15% DV), C (35% DV), E (45% DV), K (160% DV; high potency), B1 (60% DV), B2 (30% DV), B3 (60% DV), B5 (40% DV), B6 (30% DV), folate (90% DV), along with copper (60% DV), an antioxidant helpful to the immune system. Enjoy!
- 1 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, peeled and seeded
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 cup cooked brown lentils
- 1 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, peeled and seeded
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/2 tsp. za’atar or ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. finely ground sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 4 cups arugula or shredded Tuscan kale
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 ripe, Fresh California Avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds, optional
- Add yogurt, lemon juice, avocado, parsley and sea salt to food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. Test for flavor and add salt as needed.
- Rinse food processor to make the fritters. Add lentils, avocado, lemon juice, chopped onions, garlic and parsley to the food processor. Blend ingredients for 1 minute, frequently scraping down sides. Add za’atar, sea salt, flour and bread crumbs; pulse for 30 seconds to incorporate the bread crumbs.
- Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, form 2 tablespoon patties. Patties will be about 2 1/2 inch circles and 1/2 inch in thickness.
- In a heavy cast iron skillet or heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Pan fry the fritters for 2 minutes on one side and 1 to 2 minutes on the other or until lightly golden brown in color. Transfer cooked fritters to plate and cover with paper towels. Cook fritters in 3 to 4 batches.
- In a separate mixing bowl, toss greens with lemon juice and massage in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
- To plate, place 1 cup greens on each plate. Place 4 fritters around the bed of greens and drizzle or dollop with the lemon and avocado yogurt sauce.
- Add chopped avocado, and for optional garnish sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serving Suggestion: If you can’t find za’atar, no worries! Opt for cumin or coriander instead. If you don’t have sesame seeds on hand try chopped walnuts.
Beverage Pairing: Cucumber and lemon infused sparkling water would make for a refreshing beverage, but if you’re craving a crisp glass of wine opt for a Sauvignon Blanc that highlights citrus notes.