Avocados are regularly referred to as an ecological disaster. Many people therefore no longer dare to buy avocados and are increasingly asking us about alternatives to avocados. Are there alternatives to avocados?
Alternatives to avocados: creamy, neutral, filling, healthy
Avocados are usually used to make guacamole, a delicious dip with lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and some chili. Also, dressings, sauces, spreads, cold soups, smoothies, or dessert creams can be conjured up from the avocado. Of course, you can also simply halve the high-fat fruit, sprinkle with lemon juice, add a little salt and spoon it out of the bowl as a snack.
So if you are looking for an alternative to avocados, you are generally looking for a food that you can use for the recipes mentioned – in such a way that these recipes taste at least as if there was avocado in them.
You are therefore looking for food with a creamy consistency, a fairly neutral taste, and a filling character. You are looking for food that can also be prepared quickly and is also healthy. And it must have a snow-white life cycle assessment.
Alternatives to the avocado that are not alternatives at all
However, if you search the web for avocado alternatives, walnuts, linseed, linseed oil, chestnuts, and olives, for example, are suggested. These are all really great and healthy foods. But none of these foods can be made anywhere near the texture or flavor of a typical avocado recipe.
The authors of the respective recommendations do not even assume that you are looking for an avocado alternative for the preparation of guacamole or a spread. No, they believe they are looking for other sources of avocado ingredients.
So anyone who has eaten avocados up to now – so they apparently think – did not do so because they found the avocado so delicious, but because they wanted to get certain fatty acids or wanted to get full quickly in a healthy way.
So you looked for foods that also contain certain fatty acids and lots of them. These foods should also fill you up, and they had to have a flawless eco-balance.
That’s a bit like advising a passionate steak eater to simply eat two spoonfuls of soy protein powder every day instead of the steak (made of European soybeans, of course) because it provides the necessary amino acids just as well and saves enormous resources in the process.
In the following, we will explain why the commonly recommended avocado alternatives are not suitable as avocado alternatives and why they are by no means as ecologically sound as we are led to believe. But if you just want to know what actual avocado alternatives are, then keep scrolling down.
No avocado alternative: walnuts
Walnuts are recommended as an avocado alternative because they contain even more unsaturated fatty acids than avocados, according to Focus online. Well, that’s no wonder, because the avocado is a fruit and therefore has a high water content (77%), while the walnut as a nut and seed naturally has a very low water content (4.4%) and therefore contains all the more fat.
The walnut is also recommended because you can plant a walnut tree in the garden, which of course makes the avocado look ancient in terms of ecological balance.
But what does that eco-philistine do who can’t yet harvest their own walnut tree? He has to buy his nuts at the store. Do the walnuts then at least come from Germany?
Walnuts are also native to Germany, but walnut cultivation is of little importance here. Because most walnuts are imported – more than 42,000 tons (without shell) in 2019 alone, from distant countries such as the USA, Chile, or China, in the best case from other European countries such as France. Even walnuts from well-known organic producers (e.g. Alnatura, Rapunzel) do not come from Germany but from Moldova.
So just because a food COULD ALSO thrive in Germany does not mean that this food actually comes from Germany in any case – which apparently the consumer center does not know either, because they also warmly recommend the “local” walnut as an avocado -Alternative.
Check out a walnut plantation! It doesn’t look much different than an avocado plantation. Monoculture – as far as the eye can see. And as for the much-cited water use of the avocado, according to The Value of Water Research Report Series (published by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education), it needs 1,000 liters per kilogram of fruit, while walnuts need 4,000 liters per kilogram with shell, just under 8,000 liters per kilogram without a shell.
With the avocado, only a third of the required amount of water comes from artificial irrigation (blue water), with the walnut it is even half.
Apart from that: You cannot make guacamole from walnuts. Although there are great recipes with dressings, creams, and spreads made from walnuts, they don’t have much to do with avocados in terms of taste.
No avocado alternative: flaxseed
Flaxseeds are also sometimes listed as an avocado alternative because they are both high in omega-3 fatty acids (a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids) and high in fiber.
Well, avocados provide a pitiful 111mg of omega-3s per 100g, which is why they’ll never appear on any list of omega-3-rich foods, and why it’s going to remain a mystery as to why they’re an omega-3-poor alternative Avocados of all things call flaxseed the omega-3 king, which contains 16,600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per 10-gram serving, which is still 15 times that of the avocado.
Avocados, on the other hand, are a good source of the monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid (6,900 mg), which is also found in abundance in olives (9,940 mg) and almonds. Olives also have an overall fatty acid profile very similar to that of avocado (in contrast to flaxseed also in terms of the omega-6/omega-3 ratio), so people who eat avocados for the fatty acid composition (if such people exist) might advise eating a handful of olives instead.
If you could at least conjure up avocado-like recipes from flaxseed, we wouldn’t bother with the fatty acids for long. But even that is not the case. Flaxseed can be used to make amazing crackers, delicious buns, and refreshing fruit puddings, but nothing reminiscent of an avocado recipe.
Incidentally, linseed is also one of those foods that are hardly ever grown in Germany. Linseed is therefore imported from abroad, preferably from Canada, Argentina, India, Russia, or the Congo. After all, organic linseed comes from Italy or the Czech Republic. But even here there are companies that bring it from Kazakhstan, 5000 km away.
If you live near an oil mill, you are lucky and may also get local linseed and of course the oil from it. However, since the demand for linseed oil is so high, the amount of linseed harvested in domestic countries is often not sufficient and the mills have to buy it from abroad.
No avocado alternative: linseed oil
Of course, linseed oil is not suitable as an avocado alternative either, since its fatty acid composition is completely different from that of avocado oil. In addition, you cannot conjure up guacamole or any other delicious creamy dish from linseed oil.
Linseed oil, on the other hand, is an oil that can be used sparingly in dressings for raw vegetables and is also part of the recipe for the famous Budwig quark dish.
However, in healthy cooking you will usually use high-quality olive oil anyway, and eat olives or almonds and almond butter from time to time, so that as a vegetarian or vegan you will certainly not have a lack of monounsaturated fatty acids, especially since these fatty acids are found in all nuts and seeds and oilseeds are included.
Omnivores also do not have a lack of monounsaturated fatty acids, because meat, fish, sausage, mayonnaise, tartar sauce, and also margarine are full of monounsaturated fatty acids.
It is therefore extremely nonsensical to call avocados a superfood because of their monounsaturated fatty acid content – as one reads again and again. Hardly anyone will therefore buy avocados of all things in order to consume monounsaturated fatty acids.
Needless to say, olives are not at all suitable for avocado-typical recipes. Because their taste is way too intense.
No avocado alternative: chestnuts
If you eat avocados to get full quickly in a healthy way, then you can of course recommend chestnuts as an alternative, as the Focus author also does. However, you can eat a lot of food for this purpose, it doesn’t have to be chestnuts or avocados.
In order to get full quickly and healthily (and of course ecologically correct), you can also eat high-quality bread (whether with or without gluten), legumes, nuts, nut cheese, potatoes, and much more.
Sweet chestnuts rarely come from Germany. They too have to be imported, for example from Spain, France, Italy or Portugal. So the chestnut is not native, as it likes a rather mild climate.
Of course, guacamole cannot be made from sweet chestnuts, nor can dressing or similar creamy recipes. Because chestnuts are carbohydrate-rich foods that contain only 2 percent fat, they have almost nothing in common with avocados.
Real avocado alternatives for guacamole
What criteria does a real avocado alternative have to meet? It does not have to contain certain fatty acids, as we have already clarified above since monounsaturated fatty acids are also contained in so many other foods.
The following should apply to a real avocado alternative:
- It should be healthy, so as not to burden the body.
- It should taste as neutral as possible and have a creamy consistency.
- You should be able to make guacamole out of it.
- It should have the best possible ecological balance.
- And it should be green 😉
Since avocado is a unique fruit in terms of consistency and taste that cannot be replaced, we have created a combination of a vegetable and a homemade almond mayonnaise as an alternative. The result comes very close to guacamole in all respects – also in terms of the fatty acid composition if you value it.
However, our guacamole recipes take a little more time, about half an hour. An avocado is prepared much faster here.
Avocado alternative green pea
Pureed peas are a very good avocado alternative when combined with homemade mayonnaise. The color and consistency are right and the fatty acid pattern is avocado-like thanks to the mayonnaise made from almond butter and rapeseed oil. If you also pay attention to local peas when buying, then the ecological balance will also be right. However, most conventional frozen peas come from England (e.g. Iglo), France, Belgium, or the Netherlands. Only some organic frozen peas come from Germany (e.g. from Alnatura). It is best to ask the manufacturer directly if the country of cultivation is not specified on the packaging. Here you will find the recipe for our pea guacamole.
Avocado alternative to broccoli
Avocado-free guacamole can also be conjured up very well with broccoli. The broccoli is easy to obtain from local cultivation in summer and autumn (preferably in organic supermarkets or directly from the farm shop). Frozen broccoli, on the other hand, can have an unfavorable ecological balance, especially if it comes from Ecuador, as is the case with iglo broccoli.
In combination with the creamy almond mayonnaise, delicious guacamole is created, which at the same time provides you with the healing substances of broccoli. Enjoy our broccoli guacamole, best with corn chips, baked potatoes, wholemeal bread, or as a dressing for tomatoes.
And if you want to eat a real avocado every once in a while, then you can do that too. Because the avocado is by no means an ecological catastrophe.