Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for: Avocado Fries {Baked} with Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce

If you spend a lot of time on Pinterest (and let's be honest, how can you not?) you've no doubt seen some version of these avocado fries floating around.

Since avocados have started appearing in my CSA bags recently, I decided to get on board and see what all the fuss was about.

Oh dear.

Now I understand the genius that is the avocado fries.

First of all...you had me at avocado. I love anything with avocado.

Secondly, they're fries. Done.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, these are baked and much healthier than their potato cousins. (Avocado is the "good" kind of fat y'all).

Sign. Me. Up.


Let's talk about the star of the show for a moment. Normally if you were making guacamole or slicing them up for a sandwich, you would want a fairly ripe avocado. For these, I think it works better to have slightly firm avocados as they will hold up better during the breading and baking process.

Also...if you don't know this little trick already, the easiest way to remove the pit is to gently take your knife and tap the seed so that the blade lodges into it. Then give it a slight twist of the wrist and the seed should easily pop out. I like to just slice them with the skins still on and peel off after to keep the pieces from getting mangled.


My plan was to use some flour. But when I was at the store, I got distracted by the gigantic strawberries. (Did you notice how big those things were in the photo?!?!) I mean, they are colossal. So needless to say, I did not buy flour. Truth be told, you probably don't need any flour at all, but I found this multigrain pancake mix in the cupboard and it actually worked quite well. So...long story short...use flour...or pancake mix...or nothing at all.


Now for the breading. Most recipes I've seen were just a basic panko breading. I'm not a basic girl. We've established that by now. I decided to combine panko, Parmesan, pine nuts, and some Cajun seasoning to give them a little kick. Grind them all up in a food processor (or chopper attachment of your immersion blender).


For the egg wash, I added a little more of the Cajun seasoning, along with the eggs and a little olive oil. I think the oil helps brown them a little better in the oven while baking. (If you were frying them, you wouldn't need to do that). It's similar to the process for the pecan crusted chicken fingers I did awhile back.


From here, go through the little assembly line...flour, egg wash, breading and onto a baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pop them into a 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until evenly browned.


While avocados are baking, you can whip up the dipping sauce. I wanted a ranch sauce, but I didn't want it to be all ranch. I took a little non-fat Greek yogurt (sour cream would work too), mixed it with some lemon juice, cilantro, and about a tablespoon of your favorite ranch dressing. This way, you get a hint of the ranch taste along with the bright flavors of lemon and cilantro and a little tartness from the yogurt. (Plus, the yogurt cuts down on the fat as well).



Serve hot with ranch dipping sauce.


Hello lover.



Side note...I ate these with a homemade black bean burger I made the other night with the leftover Mexican filling from the zucchini cups. Not to pat myself on the back, but they turned out really yummy. I hadn't even thought to make them for the blog with B week coming up, but I just might have to recreate that magic. A perfectly healthy, vegetarian compliment to the yummy avo fries. (And don't forget the colossal strawberries!)

{UPDATE:} To get the black bean & veggie burger recipe, click here.

Baked Avocado Fries with Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: bake condiment appetizer side snack vegetarian avocado pine nuts parmesan cheese yogurt

Ingredients
    For the fries
    • 2-3 slightly firm avocados
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided use (or your favorite seasoning blend)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup flour or pancake mix (optional)
    For the cilantro ranch dipping sauce
    • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
    • pinch of sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
    • 1 tablespoon ranch dressing
    Instructions
    1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
    2. Remove pit from avocados. Slice and peel. Each avocado should yield 8 pieces.
    3. Combine panko, Parmesan, pine nuts and 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning in food processor and pulse until combined. Pour into a shallow dish.
    4. Whisk the egg, remaining teaspoon Cajun seasoning and olive oil in a shallow dish. Pour flour or dry pancake mix in third dish.
    5. To bread the avocado slices, dip each piece first in flour, then egg wash, then breading. Place on baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until evenly browned.
    6. While fries are baking, combine yogurt, salt, lemon juice, cilantro, and ranch dressing in a bowl. Serve fries hot with dipping sauce!
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    8 comments:

    1. This looks like a fantastic meal (burger plus these delicious looking fries!) Delish!

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    2. What a clever and delicious looking dinner! I can't wait to try it!

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    4. I'm planning to make avocado fries next weekend and I'm looking around for different recipes, thanks for sharing yours!

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      1. You're welcome! I hope they turned out!

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    5. I attempted to make avocado fries for the first time tonight and I used this recipe. I'll have to admit that I was not a fan. I'm sure the recipe itself was great, but I've never had cooked avocados before and they get a very strange flavor when cooked I guess...the sauce was excellent, though. Maybe I did something wrong??

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      Replies
      1. So sorry to hear that! I will admit, the warm avocado might not be for everyone. I definitely don't recommend using a ripe avocado for these. I found the more firm ones held up much better. What kind did you use?

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