A Berry Delightful Avocado Salad

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 15, 2008
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One of Honolulu’s most dapper young men has been making the rounds alone, recently. James Berger, head of Saab Hawaii, and wife Helen made a tremendous business decision that the former beauty queen would take their three children and return for a year to Thailand, where she’s a huge star. “Her endorsement opportunities were just too enormous to pass up, and the kids love it there, so we’ve become a commuter family, but on airplanes instead of Kalanianaole Highway,” says James.

He’s keeping active not only at his car dealership and at Army Community Theatre, where he’s the season sponsor, but also taking adult education classes in basic Thai, and “for Helen,” fundamental massage. He’s also studying voice with Larry Paxton at the University of Hawaii.

So here’s a simple recipe dedicated James, who is cooking for himself for a while.

The avocado is a pear-shaped fruit from a tree that is native to Central and South America. The avocado tree thrives in tropical and subtropical climates and can reach up to 65 feet in height. It has oval shaped and waxy evergreen leaves.

Avocados are often served by themselves, cut in half, with different toppings and are frequently served raw since they don’t hold up well to extended cooking. They also go quite well with sandwiches and salads, and can be added to hot or cold soups. They are particularly delicious stuffed with seafood or chicken. Guacamole, one of the most popular dishes in Mexico, is made by pureeing avocados with chilies, onions, spices and lime juice and is usually served with tortillas.

Once you buy them, avocados can be left to ripen at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process, you can place them in a paper bag. Once refrigerated, avocados will no longer continue to ripen. Whole ripe avocados will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator, while cut avocados will only keep for a day or two. One final tip: Frozen pureed avocado with lemon juice will actually keep for about a year!


* 4 large leaves red leaf lettuce

* 2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

* 1 large ripe avocado, peel, seed and slice thinly

* 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and drained

* 1 cup sliced strawberries

* fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing, or dressing of choice

* 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans

Arrange large lettuce leaves on four plates. Divide chopped lettuce into four portions and arrange on top of leaves. Arrange avocado slices evenly around the lettuce. Top with blueberries and strawberry slices. Pour vinaigrette over salads and sprinkle with nuts.

Makes four servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 220
Fat: 8 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 20 milligrams (will vary according to dressing selected)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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