Greek Salad Stuffed Avocados with fresh veggies and a choice of chicken or chickpeas make the perfect springtime lunch! Stacie Hassing, Registered Dietician from The Real Food Dietitians shares the recipe below.
Spring is here! And with this fresh new season, beautiful changes abound! Mother nature ensures that our senses pop with new surroundings, we dress differently and we put different things on our plate. We begin to crave fresh veggies and fruits, delicious smoothies, and crisp salads. Our menus become filled with foods that are light, fresh and cool instead of warm wintery soups and stews and hearty meals.
My Greek Salad Stuffed Avocado recipe is perfect for spring and summer.
It combines fresh veggies, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta cheese (omit for vegan or dairy-free) and your choice of garbanzo beans or chicken. It’s tossed in a lemony Greek dressing and then stuffed into a perfectly ripe avocado for a tasty meal that’s filled with healthy fats, fiber, and good source of protein. I love serving salads in avocados for a unique and fun twist, but it’s totally optional.
Speaking of avocados! Let’s take a moment to talk about this “superfood.” An avocado a day keeps the doctor away. Okay…maybe not 100% true, but in addition to avocados being quite delicious, they also provide a host of nutritional benefits.
- Abundant in heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat with about 80% of the calories coming from fat. These healthy fats can help to lower inflammation in the body, improve cholesterol and are also great for stabilizing blood sugars and crushing cravings for sweets and carbs.
- High in oh-so-satisfying fiber with 9 grams in one medium avocado.
- Antioxidant-rich and contain nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals. Some of the most abundant nutrients include:
- Vitamin K – a vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting and maintaining strong bones.
- Folate – a B vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells. A nutrient especially important during pregnancy and preventing anemia.
- Vitamin C – a vitamin that’s also a powerful antioxidant and is needed to build and maintain bones, blood vessels and skin. It also helps to support healthy immune function.
- Potassium – a mineral that is needed to support healthy blood pressure levels.
- The healthy fats in avocado help to enhance absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) and antioxidants (carotenoids).
Fun fact: Did you know that avocados are a fruit?! Yes…a fruit that’s also known as an “alligator pear.”
Avocados seem to find their way into almost every salad that I make. You can’t go wrong with the addition of creamy, nutrient-dense avocado.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients for the Salad
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed and chilled (OR 1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas for vegan-friendly)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup sliced cucumbers
1/3 cup diced sweet bell pepper
1/3 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (omit for dairy-free and vegan-friendly)
4-6 avocados (choose avocados that are slightly soft to touch)
Optional: chopped green onions and dairy-free tzatziki
Ingredients for the Greek Dressing
2 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Sea salt and pepper to taste
**May also use 1/3 – 1/2 cup of your favorite Greek dressing (Stacie likes Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette)
1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken (or garbanzo beans), tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, artichoke hearts, onion, olives and feta. Set aside.
2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Add dressing to salad ingredients and gently toss.
4. Cut avocados in half, lengthwise (only as many as you plan to serve). Remove pit. If the pit is on the smaller side, you may need to scoop out part of the avocado to make a big enough space for the salad. Feel free to mix the extra avocado into the salad.
5. Score the avocado (run a knife through the meat of the avocado 3-4 times spaced evenly both direction forming small cubes – try not to cut through the skin). Doing this step will allow for the avocado to come out more easily when eating.
6. Stuff each avocado with the salad and feel free to serve extra salad on the side. Leftovers taste great on top of a bed of greens or tucked into a lettuce leaf.
7. If desired, top with green onions, additional feta and/or dairy-free tzatziki.
This recipe is gluten-free and can be made vegan-friendly by using garbanzo beans in place of the chicken and omitting the feta.
For more healthy and simple recipes, lifestyle and nutrition tips head on over to The Real Food Dietitians blog where Stacie and fellow dietitian, Jessica Beacom, share all of that and more.