I have a love-hate relationship with avocados.
Love, because they’re inexpensive and delicious and creamy and wonderful, and they go perfectly with just about anything.
Hate, because there’s a six-hour window of perfect ripeness that falls randomly and unpredictably somewhere between day one and day seven of purchase, after which they’re mushy and gross.
Listen, I know it shouldn’t be that difficult, but my closest grocery store only stocks them “ready five minutes ago” or “hard as a rock.”
It makes me wonder if there’s a job market for “avocado ripeness babysitter” — someone who stands in your kitchen poking your produce and sounds the alarm the second they feel that perfect soft-but-not-squishy tenderness that signals avocado perfection.
Not a real thing? Ah, but a girl can dream.
You’ve probably tossed more than a few avocados into the trash after missing that (very slim) window, because let’s face it: Avocados just aren’t as good when they start to go mushy. And with avocado prices rising over the last several months, that’s good money you’re throwing away.
The good news, however, is that as long as there’s vibrant green meat somewhere (just scrape away the brown spots), that brown avocado can still be seriously yummy.
Never again will I toss an avocado just because it’s past prime guacamole-making texture. In my never-ending quest to save money on groceries and reduce food waste, I’ve discovered a few overripe avocado recipes, and lemme tell ya’, they’re delicious.
Sauces and Dressings
The easiest way to fancy up any meal (and use up those avocados) is by making a simple sauce or dressing. Five minutes, a food processor and voila!
1. Magic Green Sauce
This sauce from Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum is made with all green foods — right down to the pistachios. It’s a delicious velvety sauce you can use in just about any way you like! Use it as a veggie dip, salad dressing or marinade (think creamy chimichurri), or spread it on a sandwich for an extra-fresh kick. Magic, I tell you.
2. Creamy Avocado Vinaigrette
Alright, this. I knew about yogurt-based avocado dressings, but they’re always a little overwhelming with nothing to cut the rich, yogurty, buttery taste. This recipe from Chef Emeril himself is my new thing. Like, my “people are going to start avoiding me in an effort to never hear my lengthy avocado vinaigrette soliloquy again” thing. It’s light and refreshing, and has worked on every salad I’ve put it on so far.
Appetizers and Snacks
Arguably the best types of foods. In fact, I’ve been known to order an all-appetizer dinner (because variety and a cheap alternative to that $20 entree).
3. Avocado Nut Bread
In the same way you would turn your brown bananas into moist (sorry), delicious banana bread, try making this avocado nut bread from Food with your overripe avocados. I love any version of veggie bread, but the added bonus here is that the bread turns out green. (I think maybe I never outgrew the whole funny-colored foods fascination — purple ketchup, where you at?)
4. Corn and Avocado Fritters
If you’re one of those people wrapped up in a sordid love affair with avocado, try dipping these corn and avocado fritters from Give Recipe into the magic green sauce for a seriously avocado-y snack. Snacks on snacks on snacks.
Lunch and Dinner
Even in a main dish, the diva avocado manages to take center stage.
5. Avocado Egg Salad
For this one from All Recipes, you want to let the avocado go an extra day or two past peak ripeness anyway (because it will be softer and creamier), so it’s perfect for those of us who aren’t able to time an avocado intentionally.
6. Avocado Pasta
I’m Italian. I should LOVE pasta, right? Oops.
The thing is, pasta is such a heavy meal — so it’s strictly a comfort food in my eyes. But this stuff? This glorious, light, refreshing dish from Damn Delicious puts pasta back in my regular dinner rotation.
7. Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce
This one from Womanista is a winner winner chicken dinner (um, yeah, I did have to say that). Again, that avocado cream sauce is the perfect place for a mushy avocado, because it all gets smoothed out in the food processor anyway.
I know, I know… Healthy foods and desserts shouldn’t mix. But just hear me out on this one: I promise only good things lie ahead with these dessert avocado recipes.
8. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Perhaps the most famous (infamous) hidden-avocado recipe is chocolate avocado pudding. This version, from the Mother Nature Network, tastes decadent without all the sugar and cream found in most desserts, and it’s pretty customizable as far as add-ins and texture.
Bonus: This one’s vegan.
9. Chocolate Caramel Avocado Brownies
Chocolate? Yes please. Caramel? Keep it coming. A healthier spin on my favorite food group? Done and done. (Wait — brownies are a food group, right?)
What’s next, an avocado cocktail?! Um, yes, actually.
10. Avocado Margarita
The thing is, I’ve never met a margarita I didn’t get along with — for the evening, anyway. But I think this light and creamy margarita from Bon Appetit is about to set the bar (pun intended) pretty high.
Smoothies might just be the easiest way to disguise the texture of a mushy brown avocado. And while there’s no wrong way to make a smoothie, this recipe from Real Simple has the added bonus of using up your not-so-perfect apples, too. But really, avocados go well with just about any smoothie ingredients given their buttery, almost nutty flavor.
Bonus Round: Avocado Face Mask
If you still can’t handle the thought of eating an avocado that’s past its prime, you could try a do-it-yourself avocado face mask. Over at Natural Beauty Tips, you’ll find a few different versions that all call for basic pantry ingredients, so you won’t have to make an extra trip to the store.
Consider this the beginning of the rest of your avocado-filled life — no more throwing your grocery budget in the trash.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite recipe for using up that overripe produce?
Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s currently accepting applications for that “avocado ripeness babysitter” gig.