Bowtie pasta with avocado citrus dressing

By Wendy Monro

Daphne and I have become a little obsessed with avocados lately. When I buy a bag of avocados at the market, we have to eat them pretty quickly. There is a small window between ripe and gross. So, we keep coming up with a creative variety of recipes.

Sometimes, we will cut one in half and split it. We pour balsamic vinegar into the cavity after we remove the pit. We sprinkle on a little bit of salt and pepper. Then, we just dig in with a spoon. I also make a few different versions of guacamole. I like a simple recipe with onion, lemon and cilantro. However, other times, I start with this type and then I load it up with sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, and tomatoes. It depends on the time I have and the mood I’m in. We spread guacamole on toast and eat it for breakfast. That is actually one of my favorite breakfast ideas. We put guacamole in egg burritos, regular bean burritos, sandwiches, quesadillas, and wraps. Sometimes, we eat it with chips. I add diced avocado to salads. Sometimes, I spread plain avocado on my bread instead of mayonnaise for the beginning of a delicious sandwich. Diced avocado is great on top of chili with some onions and cheese. The list can go on and on. Avocados are so versatile.

Daphne came to me the other day with an avocado concern. She said that she read that avocados have a lot of fat. She knows it is a healthy fat but wondered if she should limit how many she eats. I told her that if she chooses an avocado over chips or fries, she’s good. If she eats avocados instead of a big juicy burger, she should be fine. I explained that her healthy choices all together outweigh any need to be concerned about the fat in avocados. She only eats fruits, vegetables and grains. She never drinks soda. She rarely eats anything processed. I don’t think she needs to worry. Besides, avocados are high in fiber and have more potassium than a banana. I think an avocado every few days wouldn’t hurt anyone, especially with such a healthy diet. That’s just my humble opinion. I am not a nutritionist. I am just a mom. I think I assuaged her fears because she continues to eat them.

In my quest to expand my avocado recipe list, I decided to make an avocado citrus dressing. I thought it would taste delicious over pasta. I have made an avocado pasta sauce before. This was going to be a little different because I wanted it to be less thick and more of a pasta salad type dressing. So, I grabbed some avocados and a few lemons. I was making it up as I went. I got the olive oil and the vinegar because that is how I usually start my dressings. Then, I thought about seasonings. I figured a little cumin would go nicely. Next, I added onion powder and, of course, salt and pepper too. Once I blended this all together, it was still a little thick. I decided to add in a little bit of hot water and that really did the trick. I was pleased with the consistency.

I poured this dressing all over my cooked bowtie pasta and wanted to spruce it up with some garnish. Since I wanted it to be more of a pasta salad, I added tomato, cilantro, scallions, cucumber and olives. I could have added some more diced avocado. You could add some cooked chicken or salmon. Chunks of feta cheese would be delicious. Any vegetable would be a great addition. I am thinking caramelized onions, sauted mushrooms, or steamed broccoli would go well. The possibilities are endless.

The dressing could go well over a green salad or rice too. I would even drizzle it over some sliced tomatoes for a super simple side salad. I think it would go well with any fish or chicken meal. Go crazy and be creative. This creamy and tangy dressing will perk up many dishes.

Bowtie Pasta With Avocado Citrus Dressing:

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

6 cups cooked bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 cups avocado citrus dressing (recipe follows)

Cook pasta and drain. While pasta is boiling, prepare the avocado citrus dressing. Pour dressing over the pasta. Divide into individual bowls and garnish.

avocado citrus dressing:

2 avocados

4 lemons

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 cup olive oil

teaspoon cumin

teaspoon paprika

teaspoon onion powder

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon hot water

In a food processor, combine all ingredients, except salt and pepper and water. Blend well in the food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the consistency of the dressing is too thick, add the water and blend again. Pour this over the pasta and garnish.

garnish (optional):

2 tablespoons tomato, diced

2 tablespoons scallions, diced

2 tablespoons, cucumber, diced

2 tablespoons olives, cut in half

sprigs of cilantro