If you’ve been following the blog or my Twitter for a while, you know that I hit a rough patch with anorexia and bulimia a couple of years ago. (I’ll try to talk about this more in the near future since National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is coming up.) Though I’m out of the woods now, I’ve been underweight ever since. So a while back, I asked the Happy Herbivore about foods that contribute to healthy weight gain. Her answer? More nuts and avocados!
I already eat nuts or nut butter pretty much every day, but avocados and I have a rocky history. The first one I ever tried was a massive Florida avocado that was not only underripe, but entirely the wrong kind of avocado for everything I wanted to use it in. Since then, I’ve been more apt to use avocado as a hair treatment than a food ingredient.
Winter and I have a similarly unstable relationship. There’s a lot to do in the winter when you live practically in the middle of nowhere, and most of it involves lifting a lot of heavy stuff while wearing an insane amount of layers to keep warm. Around the same time that I became underweight, I wound up taking on a lot of these heavy lifting chores. This results in, you guessed it, more weight loss. Every winter. And so I find myself having to eat even more than I already do, to the point where I sometimes feel like I’m going to pop. So this year, I decided to make peace with avocados and start incorporating them into my diet.
I turned to Veganomicon for inspiration since it tends to have recipes that are on the fancy side. It didn’t disappoint! Hiding midway through the book is a recipe for “Pasta Della California”–basically, the grown-up cousin of the Pasta Con Broccoli in Appetite for Reduction.
It has a lot of garlic…
Like, a lot of garlic. Enough that the recipe declares the quantity to not be a typo. To give you an idea, I was only making half a batch when I took this picture.
Just about everything else in the dish was green. Broccoli, arugula, avocado…it all made for an almost monochromatic meal. Which I usually don’t like, but somehow it worked here! Weird as it sounds, I honestly never thought to cook arugula before. I always used it raw in salads and sometimes on sandwiches or wraps, but never in a recipe. Along with some red pepper flakes and a lot of ground black pepper, it gave the whole dish a pleasant zing. And the avocado was awesome! It didn’t get added in until the very end, so it wasn’t “cooked” so much as warmed. (Which, I discovered when I popped my dinner in the microwave to warm it up, is a good thing. Hot avocado = a burned mouth. Don’t do it.) It added a creamy texture and subtle flavor that went very well with the spicy garlic flavor of everything else.
Veganomicon recommends serving this with the Smokey Grilled Tempeh from earlier on in the book, but I think I’d like it better with the tempeh from the spicy broccoli rabe recipe–also in the book! I can’t remember exactly what goes in that, but I remember the taste and tossing some cubes of it into this dish would definitely not go amiss. You could go with baked or roasted tempeh, too…any kind of tempeh, really!
Needless to say, I’ve made peace with avocados. I’ve already moved on to putting them on sandwiches and would love to try them in vegan sushi. Then there is, of course, the adventure that is homemade guac. I can’t wait!
Question for the comments: What’s your favorite thing to do with avocado?