Avocado isn’t just for spreading on toast: embrace its creamy deliciousness with these fresh ideas from plant-based food blogger Bettina Campolucci Bordi
Blogger Bettina shares her colourful plant-based creations with 113k Instagram followers. “I’m always on the lookout for delicious solutions to special diets and food intolerances,” she says.
I’ve worked in food, as a chef and front of house, since I was 16. Six years ago I started co-running health retreats, where I’d cook healthy, plant-based, gluten-free food. When I started eating a plant-based diet, I noticed my digestion improving, and my energy levels going up. Since then, plant-based food has become my passion and my career. Now I work as a chef, run events and workshops, and have published a cookbook.
“I have a five-year-old daughter. She’s part of the new generation I hope will recognise the importance of healthy food. We cook together regularly: she loves pasta, pancakes and, believe it or not, her favourite food is avocado on toast.
“Avocados are versatile, rich in nutrients, and I believe it makes you happy to eat them! I love them on toast with olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper, though these recipes are a little more inventive.
In my grilled avocado salad, for example, cooking the fruit brings a wonderful charred flavour. This salad is a double whammy as avocados are used in the dressing, too, where they add a creamy richness. My avocado cake, meanwhile, is a take on a Swedish sandwich cake. It’s a showstopper, but it only takes a bit of assembly. Finally, my key lime pots make use of the high fat content and creamy texture of avocados. They are easy to put together and a great show-off dessert at a dinner party.
“I’m passionate about using the whole plant: roots, tops and all. Blend your avocado stones into smoothies and juices – a trend that’s been happening on social media for a while, because there’s goodness left in the stones – or, if your avocado is slightly brown, use it to make a velvety chocolate mousse.”
“This salad is easy, fresh and full of goodness. The over-the-top ingredient list means there’s something for everyone, and the charred avocados are the cherry on top”
200g purple sprouting broccoli
300g cherry tomatoes
½ baby watermelon
1 head little gem lettuce
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper
A handful of rocket
A handful of watercress
A handful of mixed salad leaves
300g marinated olives
6 baby cornichons
3 baby avocados
A handful of roasted, chopped walnuts and almonds, to serve
For the dressing
118ml of olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grainy English mustard
½ tsp fresh red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
Heat a medium saucepan full of water and bring to the boil. Blanch the purple sprouting broccoli for 1 minute, remove from the heat and plunge into cold water. Drain and set aside.
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and give them a good shake. Set aside.
Slice the remaining vegetables, apart from the avocado, and set aside, then arrange your salad on a platter. Start with the leaves, then layer up the other vegetables.
Slice the avocados into halves and deseed. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat, then grill the avocados, cut-side down, until charred. Place on top of the salad and finish with a drizzle of dressing and a scattering of nuts.
Swedish avocado sandwich cake
“This celebratory dish is my take on a Scandinavian sandwich cake. If you’re serving for a dinner party, you can make it ahead and it will keep in the fridge for a few hours”
2 loaves of gluten-free white bread
2 tubs of beetroot and mint dip
2 tubs of chunky guacamole dip
180g marinated grilled peppers
3 tubs of houmous
100g asparagus tips, blanched
2 heads baby gem lettuce
4 avocados, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
3 baby peppers, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
A handful of rocket
A small bunch of fresh dill
A small bunch of fresh basil leaves
Cut the crusts off the bread and arrange on a large plate in a rectangle shape. Cover with the beetroot dip, then another layer of bread. Cover with the guacamole,
then a layer of roasted peppers. Finish with a final layer of bread. Spread the plain houmous over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a spatula.
Now, get on with the decorating – the fun part! Stick the asparagus tips along the edges, and the baby gem lettuce leaves along the longer sides. Top with the avocado, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomatoes and lemons. Finish with the rocket, dill and basil, and garnish with edible flowers, if you like.
No-bake key lime pie pots
“The flavours in this dessert are really refreshing. Better yet, there’s no baking involved, so it’s really easy”
400g coconut yoghurt
60ml acacia honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 limes, zest and juice
For the crust
200g ground almonds
50g raw, shelled pistachios
50g desiccated coconut
60ml coconut oil
5 medjool dates, pitted
For the topping
4 passion fruits
Peel, deseed and chop the avocados and add to a blender. Add half of the coconut yoghurt, the honey, vanilla essence and lime zest and juice. Blitz until smooth and creamy, then set aside.
For the crust, add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it has a crumble-like texture.
To assemble, layer in six glasses, starting with the crumble then adding the avocado filing, raspberries, then crumble again. Finish with a dollop of the remaining yoghurt, the raspberries and the halved passion fruits.