The first time that I ever tasted a creamy avocado dressing (at a local restaurant), I was hooked. The funny thing is... I really don't care that much for avocados. I know. You're probably saying to yourself, "How can anyone not love guacamole?" Well, they can. Or, can not... Oh, you know what I mean.
I don't hate the stuff. I'm not repulsed by it or anything. I actually make it pretty often for parties, or if my husband or our daughter requests it. I've just never felt that avocados had much flavor to them. Plus, I do believe there's a "texture thing" going on as well. They're, well... kind of slippery, if that makes any sense.
Anyway... I only tried the dressing because everyone in my dining party absolutely raved about it. They all said that it was the best dressing they'd ever had, yadda, yadda, yadda. So, I thought 'what the hey' and ordered it on my salad. Wow! Was I surprised! I could have seriously just ordered about three more bowls of salad with that dressing on it and called it a meal. (No, I didn't. But I sure thought about it.)
I looked around in the grocery stores and Walmart and even a couple of prissy little gourmet markets and some health food stores, but couldn't find a decent prepared avocado dressing, so I did what any desperate, food lovin', wannabe chef would do in those situations and set out to formulate one of my own. That was well over 20 years ago, when I really hadn't ventured that far into making my own salad dressings, so it was a bit like a chemistry experiment. It took a couple of tries, but I finally came up with the right mix and I've been making it ever since!
So, since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and since this dressing makes a fantastic substitute for sour cream with all kinds of Mexican dishes, I figured it would be the perfect time to share it with you!
Creamy Avocado Dressing
(approx 6 servings - it can easily be doubled)
- 1 Large Ripe Avocado
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 Cup Real Mayonnaise (no salad dressing style, please)
- 1/2 Cup Buttermilk (you can substitute with half & half or milk)
- 1 Lg Shallot, quartered (or 1/4 of a red/purple onion)
- 1 Tbls White Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Chives
- Salt & Pepper
Cut the avocado in half (lengthwise) with a sharp knife. Twist it to pull it away from the pit. Carefully remove the pit with a spoon or with the blade of a large chef's knife, scoop out the flesh and cut it into large pieces. (if you've never done this before, I've included a short video with a quick demonstration, at the end of this post)
Place the chunks of avocado and the shallot quarters into the bowl of a small food processor or blender and pulse several times, until the ingredients are loosely mixed and are in relatively equal sized pieces. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender as you pulse.
You could do this dressing in a bowl, by hand... but it would take a very sturdy fork and/or a heavy duty whisk to get it as smooth as it should be. It would also take a whole lot of good old fashioned elbow grease! My shoulders are starting to ache just thinking about it!
Add the vinegar, sour cream, mayo and salt & pepper and process or blend until you have a thick paste.
It will be slightly lumpy at this point and that's fine.
Pour in the about half of the buttermilk, to start and process for a few minutes longer. (If you don't care for the tanginess of buttermilk, or if you don't have it on hand, you can use half & half or milk.)
I forgot to take a picture after I added the chopped parsley and chives, but I did add them here.
I tasted the dressing at this point and felt that it needed about a teaspoon more of the vinegar and another hefty pinch of salt.
Remember... Always taste the food that you're preparing. Our taste buds (and meticulously clean hands) are the best tools that we have in the kitchen!
Continue to process until the dressing is smooth and pourable. This is where you would add the rest of the buttermilk or milk, if needed. I used all of it, but if the sour cream you are using isn't very thick or the avocado is more ripe, you might not need to.
The dressing doesn't have to be runny, but you want it to be thin enough to lightly coat the lettuce and other salad ingredients and not run immediately to the bottom of the salad bowl when you pour it on.
Pour the dressing into a bowl or pitcher and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least one hour before serving. It will keep, covered tightly in the fridge, for up to a week. Serve this over your favorite salad mix, or use it in place of sour cream. Tip: It's incredible on a baked potato! Of course, you can also use it in place of sour cream with your favorite Mexican dishes, like tacos and quesadillas and... well, the list is endless!
I wish that I'd had some darker greens, so the dressing would have shown up better in my photos. But, all I had on hand was iceberg.
And for all of you "lettuce snobs" out there... you know who you are. Yes, I like iceberg lettuce! Don't get me wrong. I love all kinds of leafy greens, but iceberg absolutely has it's place in the mix. I mean, what would the classic "wedge salad" be, without iceberg lettuce??
Hmmm.... a wedge salad sounds pretty tasty, right now. Let's see. I have bacon. I have enough bleu cheese to make dressing and to use as crumbles. I have tomatoes and green onions and... Well, I'll just leave that for a future post. (um... based on how much my tummy is rumbling and my mouth is watering just from thinking about it, I'd say that it might not be too long before you see that post!)
How To Cut, Pit and Peel an Avocado
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
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