Avocado and Watermelon Salad

I grew up in the same house from the time I was six until I was 19. It was a great house in Thousand Oaks, California.

One summer my mom painted it light grey with blue shutters. It wasn’t very big. It was a single story and seemed to be the perfect size for our little family. We lived on the corner of Camino Manzanas and Calle Yucca.

If my mom was outside, people stopped to compliment her on her garden. Her garden was that beautiful. She always had the loveliest flowers out front. She changed the colors of the flowers with the seasons.

In the backyard, we had three lemon trees, four tangerine trees, a pomegranate tree and an avocado tree. I didn’t know how lucky I was to have all of that fresh fruit. I would give anything for those trees to be in my yard now.

My friends and I ate so many fresh tangerines growing up. These tangerines were the sweetest. The peels would just slide off. We used to bag up the tangerines and lemons to share with neighbors. Even then, we couldn’t keep up with all of the fruit. Our two yellow Labradors used lemons as balls. We’d throw them for the dogs to fetch. Often times, they would eat lemons whole. Believe it or not, I didn’t like avocados back then. I can’t believe I let all of those years pass me by without eating one avocado from that big tree in our yard. I really missed out.

It seems so strange to me now because I absolutely adore avocados. I can’t get enough of them now. They are my favorite fruit. Sometimes, I crave them. I like to cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, fill the crater with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle it with salt. Then, I just spoon out the avocado from the skin and eat it just like that. It’s so simple but incredibly delicious.

I love to make guacamole. My version of guacamole is very simple: avocados, cilantro, lemon juice, chopped onions, and salt. That’s all I put into it.

Sometimes, I spread this mixture onto toast and heat it under the broiler. Often times, I make this toast for breakfast. I add tomato slices and cheese if I feel like it. I add avocados to salads and sandwiches. I mix them into sauces to make them creamier. I have added avocados to pasta and hummus. I discovered that I can skip cheese on things if I use creamy avocado instead.

I was intrigued to read that the early European sailors used avocado instead of butter when they sailed to the New World. That makes sense to me because they are so creamy and delicious.

Avocados are a higher calorie fruit. However, this should not keep you from eating them on a regular basis. Avocados have good fats in them, which promote heart health and blood sugar regulation.

A few nights ago, a good friend of ours came over for snacks and wine. She brought avocados and watermelon with her. She told me she read about this recipe in a magazine and that it is called a vegan pizza. It didn’t look too pizza like to me. I thought it seemed to be more of a salad.

We cut the watermelon into triangles and sliced the avocados to place on top. Maybe to make it seem more pizza like, we could have sliced the triangles thinner like a pizza crust. Then, we added basil, salt and olive oil. We used basil infused olive oil and this was incredibly delicious. I think any olive oil would taste good but this basil infused version was very flavorful.

This entire recipe reminded me of a salad I made for this column a while back. It was a watermelon, feta and Serrano pepper salad. This version is similar. Instead of feta cheese, we used avocados. Also, we only drizzled olive oil on this salad and the feta watermelon salad had homemade vinaigrette.

We placed this salad on the table along with some homemade hummus, pita chips, smoked salmon and some sushi rolls. Everyone dove in and filled their plates with snacks. I started with the avocado and watermelon salad. It seems like an odd combination, but I thought the same thing with watermelon and feta and that was delicious.

I took a big bite of watermelon and avocado. The sweetness of the watermelon combined with the sea salt and olive oil tasted heavenly. Then, it was topped off with the creamy avocado and the freshness of the basil. This blending of flavors and textures was so very good.

I loved it.

As a matter of fact, everyone loved it and the plate full disappeared before anything else on the table. If only I realized how delicious and versatile avocados could be back when I had them literally falling in my back yard, who knows what other avocado wonders I could have run across by now.

Oh well, I am making good use of them and discovering new ways to eat them all of the time. I’ll keep you posted.

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