creamy avocado macaroni and cheese

No one in my family likes avocado but me. This is tragic because avocados are everywhere and they are cheap. There are scruffy, scabby, circular avocados. There are giant, smooth, tear-shaped avocados. There are big avocados, medium avocados, small avocados.

Buying avocados can be tricky. Sometimes I end up with ones that look gorgeous on the outside only to discover, upon opening them, that their insides are all mushy brown. When I asked the toothless woman squatting behind her basket of avocados (actually, I’m not sure if the woman was either toothless or squatting, but so many of the women usually are, that I decided that, in this case, it wouldn’t hurt to make an assumption) (also, I’m not sure if the women are actually squatting—I think they actually perch on little stools, but it’s hard to tell with all that skirt fabric) to pick me out a couple good ones, she simply picked one up, squeezed its stem end until it cracked open a little, peered inside to make sure it was nice and green, and then handed it to me. Oh.

There’s a new cookbook out. It’s called Absolutely Avocados. The title pretty much sums the book up. I’ve been seeing it everywhere, and I’m a little lusty over it. I don’t buy avocados in the states much, but boy, that book would be appropriate right here, right now.

Except for the fact that the rest of the family doesn’t like avocados. Losers.

avocado carnage 

A week or so ago, I found a link for an avocado mac and cheese (which, incidentally, didn’t come from Absolutely Avocados). I made it for supper. Everyone ate it, but they were non too subte in making sure I knew they wished I had made the real deal instead. I, however, had no regrets.

I demonstrated my devotion by snapping photos of my beloved both on the washing machine and in the light of the setting sun with the dog watching on.

Creamy Avocado Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod, though it was Lori Lange (Recipe Girl) who first alerted me to it.

I made a scaled back version (naturally), using only a little “real” cheese and a nub of cream cheese, and while it was plenty good, I suggest you stick with the full-cheese version. Yum, cheese.

Also, I had one heck of a time blending up the veggies in my expensive blender (that we hesitated buying because we thought it might be too extravagant but then went ahead and did it anyway, no regrets). I had to add hot pasta water, olive oil, and regular oil (several times over) until it finally turned into a blendable consistency. But maybe my blender’s just wacko. Yours will probably work fine.

Not that it matters for this recipe, but here: how to cut an avocado.

10 ounces dry macaroni (why not a full 16? Beats me.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, roughly chopped (minus peels and pits, of course)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons each flour and butter
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, white cheddar, etc.)
more fresh avocado, optional

While the macaroni is cooking, put the garlic, avocados, lime, cilantro, and some salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until saucy smooth.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese.

Drain the pasta. Add the avocado and cheese sauces. Stir to combine. Check for seasonings. Serve, topping with chopped fresh avocado, if desired.

What are your favorite avocado recipes? Jennifer wants to know!


  • Anonymous

    This is from an old Martha Stewart ‘weeknight’ cooking cookbook. Which really was false advertising because there was no way I’d make most of the recipes on a weeknight – they always took longer than she claimed. Or maybe it was just me.
    Anyway, this is one that I DO use a lot and adore. You can adapt any way you want really:
    Avacado and Jicama Salad
    1 small jicama
    2 ripe avacados
    juice of a lemon (or lime)
    3 Tbs balsamic vinegar (I’ve used lots of other kinds)
    6 Tbs olive oil
    salt and pepper
    ½ small red onion minced up
    Peel jicama and cut into matchsticks or thin strips
    Cut avacados in half and peel and squeeze lemon over them.
    Whisk the oil, vinegar and salt and pepper together.
    Put jicama on plate, top w/ ½ of avacado, sprinkle with salt and pepper and onion and pour the dressing over it.
    It’s SOOO good.
    Alysha in Seattle

  • Mama Pea

    I love avocados! Husband's brother in California used to have a fabulous avocado tree in his yard (he's since moved, darn) and would send us boxes of them! (That's when postal rates were sensible.) They tasted nothing like the ones we can buy up here near the tundra in Minnie-soda. (So much better they were, needless to say.)

    Favorite way to use avocados? Guacamole. And more guacamole.

  • Zoë

    I tried this very recipe about a year ago. We did NOT enjoy it. I guess we don't love avocados enough? Well, I know the kids hate them but Brad and I enjoy them other ways.

    Our favorite is a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto, slices of avocado, and fresh tomato slices. Kate introduced us to this.

    Ooohh man, I'm getting hungry.

  • jenny_o

    I tried an avocado about twenty years ago (!) and didn't like the brown mushiness of it. Lately I've been reading about avocados and realize I probably got a bad one!! (they're expensive here most of the time, so I really didn't want to develop a liking for them anyway – but I'm thinking of trying again, especially when I see a recipe like this and read the comments)

  • Sally

    Chocolate pudding
    2 ripe medium avocados, peeled, preferably chilled
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
    1/2 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Throw it all in a blender, blend till smooth, enjoy.

  • Margo

    oh, we LOVE avocados! I thank my lucky trade routes and buy them for a buck at market.

    Favorite way is lightly fork-mashed on bagels with salt for breakfast. I slice them and put the juice and zest of a lemon or lime, plus salt and pepper and maybe some garlic or cilantro – we eat that salad-y thing with any meal that is vaguely Spanish.

    They are awesome with red pepper jam on toast. Awesome.

    I want to try blendering them with coconut milk for a smoothie or frozen as a popsicle. Oh! My sister had a sweet avocado drink at a Vietnamese restaurant recently – it was avocado, sweetened condensed milk, and milk? water? Something else. I need to ask her.

    If you loved this mac and cheese, I will try it, but I don't know how I feel about avocados mixed in with mac and cheese.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I didn't really notice the avocados, except for the added creaminess. It was the cilantro, lime, and garlic that gave the pasta its wonderful, addictive kick. Think a nacho plate (cheese, garlic, lime, avocado), but with pasta instead of chips. I even stirred a scoop of salsa into one of my helpings, and black olives and minced scallions would be great.

  • jillsifer

    So you don't bake this after everything is assembled? (Just checking; I've not seen a mac-and-cheese recipe that doesn't call for baking, so just wondering.)

    Thank you for posting this. I can't wait to try it.

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