Avocado equals guacamole. It is by far what most people do with their avocados. I want to challenge you to look beyond the dip that is guacamole and think more salad dressing. I know it’s too big of a jump to go from guac to dressing, but it’s a jump I think most of us can make. Avocados make for excellent salad dressings. They add creaminess as well as fats that are good for us – put down that bottle of high fat, low flavor ranch dressing you bought on the cheap and try your hand at making a flavorful and good for you avocado dressing.
Ingredients for Avocado Dressing
Here are the basic ingredients you need to make a good avocado dressing. This list can be changed to make different types of dressing.
Your avocado has got to be ripe. Don’t expect to go the grocery store today and find a ripe avocado. Most of the time they are picked through because people want the ripe ones, so you may have to wait or a day or two. Or you might get lucky and find a ripe one. Anyway it’s best to plan ahead and don’t expect to make the dressing the day you bring home your avocado. To know that it is ripe it should yield some to gentle pressure but not feel too soft or have huge indents on them – these are overripe.
To have a dressing you need to have liquid so that it’s pour-able otherwise you are just eating smashed avocado. You have a few choices here, each one will provide a different flavor or feel to the dressing. Vinegar brings a nice zing. Choose a mild vinegar, like a white vine or rice wine. Basic balsamic is too strong a flavor but a milder white balsamic would work. You could use lemon or lime juice but not as your only liquid as you would need too much to make a pour-able dressing. It would be way to tart. A little bit of lime juice along with the vinegar would work. You can also use dairy. Buttermilk is great for making ranch and it’s great for making an avocado dressing. It adds the zing like the vinegar but also a creamy dimension. Lastly you add some oil. Olive oil is a good choice here as the flavor would compliment the avocado. Use both oil and vinegar and you have an avocado vinaigrette – I have a recipe for one at at the end of this post.
Anything else you add is to put the flavor. Of course salt and pepper are stables and much have additions that I always recommend doing by slowly adding and tasting to meet your preferences. A good spice to add is cumin. Buy it whole and grind it yourself if you can. Or you can find roasted ground cumin that will add a nice flavor.
I already talked about citrus earlier but another way is to use the zest of a lemon or lime. You get the flavor from the oils in the skin, without getting that tart punch.
For me adding garlic is a must. I don’t mind using the garlic raw, but you can also roast the garlic in the oven for a more mallow, and sweet flavor.
Finally, in the end if you find your dressing is a little to tart or just needs some added sweetness, use honey. Any wildflower honey will do, but if you can find it avocado honey just seems appropriate. It doesn’t taste like avocado at all – but it is a darker, bold honey that tends not to crystallize.
- 1 whole Avocado
- ½ cup to ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon honey, avocado honey if you can find it
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the avocado and garlic cloves to your food processor. Process until smooth.
- Mix in the vinegar, cilantro, cumin, lime juice. Process to combine.
- While the machine is running, slowly pour in the olive oil, until the mixture is the right consistency you want for your dressing. If it is still too thick, you can also add in a little bit of water until you get it just right. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Please note : It will thicken when you refrigerate it, so you will need to add more water or oil to get it so that you can pour it again.