Six ways to use avocados beyond toast

The Citrus Avocado Martini from Boardroom Spirits gets a touch of healthy creaminess from the addition of mashed avocado.

It may finally be time to say goodbye, at least on social-media platform Instagram, to $10 avocado toast.

“I promise to love you as much as I love avocados, each and every day, for the rest of our lives,” the twentysomething says, sweating profusely as he drops to one knee with a ring and avocado in hand. “Will you marry me?”

Yes, thanks to millennials thinking outside the (ring) box, avocado marriage proposals are taking  over as the next big — and equally photogenic — avocado trend.

The idea is this: Simply remove the pit of a perfectly ripe avocado, and you’re left with a natural spot to place a sparkling engagement band. Whether you think this is clever depends on your level of obsession with avocados; whether your partner would find it cute is your call.

Either way, the new trend emphasizes that there are many ingenious ways beyond plain old toast to use the gloriously creamy and dreamy fruit.

(Yes, avocados are a fruit.)

We asked chefs around the city to weigh in with some of their favorite non-toast — but nearly as simple to execute — ideas for using avocados.

From Popsicles to a chilled soup to citrus martinis and more, here’s an array of out-of-the-box avocado creations that’ll help you take it to the next level, no ring required.

Rich Landau, co-owner and chef at Vedge, often looks to Middle Eastern cuisine for inspiration in using avocados, such as his avocado fattoush salad.

When it comes to avocados, chef Rich Landau of Vedge likes to find  inspiration beyond Mexican food and standard guacamole recipes.

“Many of the spices and seasonings used in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine — think cumin, thyme, chilies, citrus, coriander, sesame, and dill — pair so well with the flavor and texture of avocado,” Landau says. “The avocado is like a canvas to paint these flavors on.”

Drawing upon that concept, Landau’s avocado fattoush salad pairs the natural richness of avocado with the light and fresh flavors of fattoush salad, a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. The avocado is presented simply, served as-is with a sprinkling of za’taar and placed alongside the cucumber-and-tomato salad. Each bite of avocado with the citrus-and-herb-dressed salad provides a perfect buttery, crunchy forkful.

“Avocado is one of those ingredients that I feel could go with anything,” says Vernick owner and chef Greg Vernick, who often enjoys eating the fruit by the spoonful with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt.

Vernick’s  chilled avocado soup contains whole milk for an extra boost of creaminess and cumin seeds for a touch of toasty flavor. The soup is topped with a light crab salad tossed with a simple lemon-oil dressing and a handful of minced chives.

“To me, fresh crab meat and avocado is the perfect combo,” Vernick says.

Looking ahead to warmer temps, chef Brian Sanders of Bar Bombon has created a Popsicle that combines avocado with grilled mango for a tropical-inspired treat.

“The avocado is rich and fatty, binding the Popsicle and giving it a texture almost like that of a Creamsicle,” Sanders says. “I love avocado as an ingredient in desserts because it’s satisfying and acts as a great substitute for things like overly rich chocolate cake.”

You can find Popsicle molds at any basic kitchen store, and online through retailers such as Amazon and Target.

The citrus avocado martini from Boardroom Spirits gets a touch of healthy creaminess from the addition of mashed avocado. Just in time for the start of spring, this refreshing, slightly tart martini takes on a whole new element of intrigue with its secret ingredient, the avocado.

“The mashed avocado adds a layer of creaminess without the guilt to this al fresco sipper,” says Marat Mamedov, founder of Boardroom Spirits. Mamedov notes that avocado can add richness like heavy cream, but in a healthier way. Made in  five minutes or less, it can be on your cocktail table in no time.

Like many other fruits, avocados grill well. Chef Todd Lean of Pod  says it helps  intensify their flavor.

“When the teriyaki hits the avocado on the grill, it gives it this beautiful, smoky flavor,” says Lean. “The salad is a nice healthy addition that completes the dish.”

When grilling, Lean recommends using a ripe but still slightly firm avocado, and says a stovetop grill pan could work to add char if your outdoor BBQ game is not yet in action.

Avocado Fattoush Salad

Serves 4

Rich Landau, co-owner and chef at Vedge, often looks to Middle Eastern cuisine to draw inspiration for utilizing avocados, as he does here with this recipe for Avocado Fattoush Salad.


3 Persian cucumbers, diced into ¼-inch pieces
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup fine-diced red onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon  pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon  cumin
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups torn toasted baguette
2 ripe avocados, pits removed
Za’atar, to sprinkle


  1. Mix all the ingredients, excluding the avocados and za’atar, in a bowl.
  2. Set each avocado half on a plate and sprinkle with za’atar and olive oil. Set a pile of the fattoush salad next to each avocado half, and serve.

-- Chef Rich Landau of Vedge

Chilled Avocado Soup

Serves 3-4


5 ripe avocados, pits removed
3 cups ice-cold water
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 Meyer lemon, zested and cut in half
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
¼ teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon chopped aleppo pepper
1 cup fresh jumbo lump crab meat
1-2 teaspoons  minced chives

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt


  1. Excluding the crab, chives, and dressing, mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. If too thick, add a little more water.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Gently mix the crab meat with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and the chives. Adjust seasoning, adding more dressing only if needed.
  3. Place a large spoonful of the crab mix in a bowl. Pour the soup around the crab, and drizzle with a little olive oil to garnish.

-- Greg Vernick

Grilled Mango, Basil, and Avocado Popsicle

Yields 12 popsicles


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 mango, skin and core removed
5 avocados, pits removed
3/4 cup basil
3/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, fire up the grill. While the grill is heat, cut the mango into ½-inch slices and brush each slice lightly with olive oil. Place on the grill for 45-60 seconds on each side. Remove the mango, and allow the slices to cool. Then, dice the slices into smaller, bite-size pieces.
  3. Place 1 cup of the simple syrup into a blender with the avocado, basil, lime juice, and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Fold in the diced grilled mango.
  4. Pour the mixture into 12 (3-ounce) Popsicle molds and freeze.

-- Brian Sanders of Bar Bombon

Boardroom Citrus Avocado Martini

The Citrus Avocado Martini from Boardroom Spirits gets a touch of healthy creaminess from the addition of mashed avocado.


2 oz. Boardroom Spirits Citrus Vodka
1/3 oz. (2 tsp.) lemon juice
1/3 oz. (2 tsp.) agave nectar
2 cucumber slices, cut in half, plus more to garnish
¼ avocado, mashed


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, lemon juice, agave nectar, cucumber slices, and mashed avocado.
  2. Shake for 10 seconds; strain through a fine mesh strainer into a martini glass. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

-- Boardroom Spirits

Grilled Avocado  

Makes 1 serving


½ avocado, seasoned with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and paprika
1 baby carrot, thinly shaved
1 cup baby arugula
1 teaspoon shallots, diced
1 tablespoon store-bought teriyaki sauce
Pinch of sesame seeds, to finish
1 teaspoon  sliced almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon  extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon  fresh lemon juice
1 oz. crumbled feta cheese


  1. Spray the seasoned avocado with a non-stick pan spray. Place on 400-degree grill. Cook for two minutes on each side, brushing both sides with the teriyaki sauce as it cooks.
  2. Once the avocado is nicely charred, remove from grill and place it on a paper towel. Let rest for one minute.
  3. Meanwhile, place the arugula, shallots, sesame seeds, carrot, almonds, and feta cheese in a mixing bowl. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cut the grilled avocado into four pieces. Place on a plate and garnish with the arugula salad on top.

-- Chef Todd Lean of Pod