This post is sponsored by the Hass Avocado Board for the American Heart Association through Kitchen PLAY.
The first time I tasted an avocado, I was in my early twenties.
It’s still hard for me to come to terms with that fact. That I spent just over twenty years of my life never having enjoyed the smooth, creamy, perfect flavor and texture of my beloved avocados!
I’ve certainly made up for lost time. Hass avocados are one of the few things I don’t bother adding to my grocery list because I always buy some. On any given day, you’ll find at least three of them on my counter, usually at varying degrees of ripeness. One large Hass avocado is quite often my entire lunch on a busy work day…it’s perfect with a dose of hot sauce!
Fresh avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. They provide naturally good fats, are low in saturated fat and are cholesterol and sodium-free, which is just one of the reasons I’ve made them a big part of my diet. Flavor, for me, is the top reason, but I feel even better about my choice because of their health benefits! Avocados, which are a fruit although most people think of them as a vegetable, contain less than one gram of sugar per 1-ounce, the least amount of sugar per serving of any other fresh fruit. AND avocado contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds to my diet.
This past October, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) and the American Heart Association (AHA) announced its four-year strategic alliance to encourage Americans to eat the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, an endeavor that has the potential to limit deaths from cardiovascular diseases, stroke and diabetes. My mom has diabetes, as did my grandmother and every one of her siblings, so I feel strongly about this important initiative.
This month (February, which also happens to be American Heart Month), HAB and AHA are teaming up to host a recipe contest called Take Avocado to Heart! YOU can enter recipes in the categories of appetizer, entree and dessert. Recipe entries must adhere to the AHA nutrition criteria. The contest will run from February 9-27, 2017. And if you’d like to tweet about it, be sure to use the hashtag #addavocado!
This delicious recipe for Spicy Avocado Pasta isn’t a contest entry, but I assure you it’s a winner! If you love avocados like I do, you MUST give this easy, quick and so tasty avocado recipe a try. You can have the “sauce” ready by the time the pasta is done cooking, then just toss it all together and your dinner is done. Just be sure to pick up some extra fresh Hass avocados so you can snack on one for lunch the next day!
Spicy Avocado Pasta
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 2 fresh Hass avocados* halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeño minced
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or to taste
- 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 green onions sliced
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving one cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, mash ripe avocados in a bowl until smooth (a fork works great or you can also do this step in a food processor).
- Add cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and lemon juice; stir until smooth. Season with pepper.
- Toss hot pasta with sauce, adding a small amount of reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached (usually a few tablespoons).
- Top with cherry tomatoes, green onions and queso fresco. Serve immediately.
Heart-Check Recipe Certification does not apply to serving suggestions unless expressly stated.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 320; Total Fat 10 g (Sat 2 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 1 g, Mono 6 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 65 mg; Potassium 450 mg; Total Carbohydrate 45 g; Dietary Fiber 6 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 10 g; Vitamin A 465 IU; Vitamin C 12 mg; Calcium 65 mg; Iron 2 mg; Vitamin D 8 IU; Folate 180 mcg.
% Daily Value: Vitamin A 10%; Vitamin C 20%; Calcium 6%; Iron 2%
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.