Mashed avocado makes a dreamy, creamy, delicious dressing for this vegetable-studded chicken salad that you can stuff back into avocado shells or use to make hearty sandwiches and convenient wraps.
Avocado’s fat is mostly beneficial monounsaturated fat. Nature has its purpose in packing avocado with fat that helps us absorb health-protective, fat-soluble compounds including carotenoids and vitamins A, D, E and K. That’s why it’s a good idea to add avocado to salads to enhance the absorption of beta-carotene (a plant form of vitamin A) in carrots, lycopene into tomatoes and lutein in dark greens, for example. Avocados also contain the B vitamin folate, vitamins C, E and K, potassium (much more than bananas) and fiber.
When buying avocados, feel for those that yield to gentle pressure, but are not too soft. Don’t hesitate to buy firmer avocados if you don’t plan to use them right away. Simply store them at room temperature. They will ripen within three to five days as their skin darkens from green to purple-black. Ripe avocados may be stored in the refrigerator for one week. To cut avocado, cut in half around the seed. Then twist two sides in opposite directions to release halves from the seed. Scoop out the seed with a spoon or spear with a knife and remove. Once cut, sprinkle pulp with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.
This recipe works well with any variety of avocado. The Hass avocado, typically from California, has a pebbly skin and is smaller than the larger Florida smooth-skinned avocado. The Hass is richer and creamier than the Florida variety that has more water and less fat per serving.
Although this recipe features carrots, red cabbage and radishes, you can use an equal amount of any combination of colorful vegetables you have on hand by cutting them about the same size. The spicy brown mustard and touch of extra virgin olive oil give the salad mixture the just-right consistency and great healthy taste.
Avocado skins stuffed with this veggie-packed chicken salad make for a “wow” luncheon or dinner plate centerpiece. Though you and your guests won’t mind getting stuffed on this delicious, healthier chicken salad, you’ll want to enjoy just enough, like with all food, to be comfortably full.
Stuffed Avocado Chicken Salad
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 290 calories, 16 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrate, 29 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 146 mg sodium.
- 2 medium avocados
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 Tbsp. chopped red cabbage
- 2 Tbsp. diced carrots
- 2 Tbsp. diced radish
- 4 tsp. spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Carefully cut avocados in half lengthwise. Remove pits. Scoop out pulp into mixing bowl and set avocado shells aside. Add lime juice and mash avocado. Add chicken, cabbage, carrots, radish, mustard, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix gently to combine.
- Spoon mixture into avocado shells, mounding in the center and serve immediately with lime wedges. Or serve immediately on whole-grain bread for sandwiches or whole-wheat tortilla for wraps.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. www.aicr.org.