Friday, March 11, 2011

Avocado and green tea: is there a healthier dressing than this?

Recently while watching the Doctor Oz Show on television, Joan found a unique way to consume green tea.

Avocado and green tea dressing does triple duty:
a sauce for fish and such vegetables as asparagus
and Brussel sprouts; a little thinner for a coleslaw
dressing; and thinner yet for other salads.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is the host of this popular health and nutrition show. His other jobs include vice chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, and director of the Cardiovascular Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

On this particular TV episode, Joan tells me, Dr. Oz ground up green tea leaves in a food processor, and added them to a salad dressing.

What a great idea! And I already had a very, healthy salad dressing recipe that just might be further boosted by the addition of ground tea leaves.

The result is an extra healthy salad dressing that can do double duty as a sauce for fish or such vegetables as asparagus and Brussel sprouts.

Dr. Oz says that to get the full health benefits of green tea you need to drink about six or more cups of the stuff every day. That’s a little more than many—perhaps most—people might enjoy. But Dr. Oz says you can consume the equivalent of eight cups a day as ground up green tea leaves in a salad dressing.

We’ve all heard about the great benefits of green tea. For many years I’ve even wondered whether this might be the secret of the apparent longevity of China’s communist leaders. They all seem to smoke like chimneys and live to about 97. Who knows? What we do know is that a study of 40,000 Japanese green tea drinkers over periods of seven to 11 years, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those who drank five or more cups of green tea per day had a 26 percent lower risk of premature death due to illness than those who drank less than one cup per day. And the Harvard Boston area Health Study claims that drinking green tea can cut the risk of heart attack by 44 percent, compared with those who drink no tea. Tea is also said to reduce the risk of high blood pressure by dilating arteries. It provides chlorine, helping to reduce tooth decay. Finally, it is said to yield the same level of energy and attentiveness as black tea, but with only one-third as much caffeine.
Plain and simple, easy-to-make, extra healthy, heart- and cancer disease-fighting food. We never (or as little as possible) eat these foods: trans fat); saturated fat; refined carbohydrates; egg yoke; high-cholesterol foods; red meat; potatoes. We eat every day: fruits and vegetables (7+ servings); canola and olive oil (for poly- and monounsaturated fats); either fish, poultry or soy-based simulated ground beef; ground flax seed; whole grains. We eat very often: Tomatoes, cooked with oil; legumes (including peanuts); skim milk; no-fat yogurt; seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower). That’s the basis for our recipes. Can this diet and exercise lower my LDL cholesterol without statins? We learn on April 26.
As it happened, it was time to make another batch of avocado dressing and I was about to make a double batch because we had four avocados in the refrigerator. We also happened to have, in a can labelled Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea, about half a cup of a green tea called Formosa Gunpowder. We bought it long ago in a little teashop in Petrolia, a little town in southwestern Ontario that was the oil capital of Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Petrolia sent more drillers around the globe to find and develop oil fields on every continent except Antarctica than any other town anywhere.

I could hardly believe it when we were told that the very tiny Formosa Gunpowder tea leaves were hand-rolled—until I saw how much they expand in hot water.

Americans may have their Tea Parties, but every Canadian knows—or supposes—that no American knows how to make tea.  It’s commonly understood that all Americans make tea with water that’s more or less hot. We know that the only way to make proper tea is with water that’s freshly boiling. It is then left to steep five minutes before pouring. Except for green tea. Americans probably make better green tea than we Canadians. The tea connoisseurs at the Petrolia teashop advised us that, to preserve its delicate aroma and flavour, green tea should always be made with water that is never quite as hot as boiling. But I digress.

In a food processor, the Formosa Gunpowder was quickly ground to tiny black specks, ready to add to what I now call Disgusting Healthy Avocado Green Tea Dressing.

Two days after I first added green tea leaves to the avocado dressing, our son and his wife, Gordon and Cheryl, were here for Sunday dinner. We served a large baked Atlantic salmon fillet. After my previous log about complaints that salmon “tastes too fishy” for many people, our friend Rick Carpenter emailed to advise that Atlantic salmon tastes less “gamey.” He’s right; the flavour is much milder.  We used our Avocado and Green Tea Dressing as a sauce on the fish. It passed the taste test with flying colours.

The recipe makes one Imperial quart of dressing, or about 1 quart and one pint U.S. measure. Feel free to vary the amount of tea leaves, lemon juice, or sweetener, according to taste. The dressing tends to thicken a bit after standing a day or two in the refrigerator. You can thin to a desired consistency by adding a little water and lemon juice. I like to keep this in a quart jar with a tight lid. If I need to thin it, I add a little water and lemon juice then shake the jar vigorously to mix.

2 avocados
3 heaping tbs green tea leaves
12 oz unflavoured, no-fat yogurt
6 oz canola oil
6 oz concentrated lemon juice
2 tbs. sucralose-based sweetener such as Splenda or Loblaw’s Sucrella.
2 tbs Joan’s salad herbs (see earlier blog for this easy recipe).

Grind the tea leaves in a food processor. Peel the avocados with a potato peeler, cut them open, and remove the stones. Your fingers will get a little messy from the avocados. Combine the avocados with the other ingredients and blend in a food processor until perfectly smooth. In about 15 minutes, you’ll have an Imperial quart of dressing which should be good to keep in the refrigerator for at least a week. If the dressing is a bit too thick, thin it with water or oil and lemon juice. I like to vary the viscosity: thick for a sauce, a little thinner for a coleslaw, and thinner yet for most other salads.

Nutrition.  We’ve already recapitulated the widely advertised health benefits of green tea. Avocados seem equally healthy. They are said to have more nutrition and dietary fibre than any other fruit. The canola oil and avocados load this dressing with heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats (MUFAS and PUFAS), perhaps the most widely recommended food to help maintain cardiovascular health. Avocados are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, a good source of fibre, and high in a wide range of vitamins and minerals. If you have a choice, pick California rather than Florida avocados for nearly twice as much MUFA: 9.8% by weight compared with 5.5%, according to the USDA Nutrition Data Laboratory. Both verities have less than 2% PUFAS.   But here in Ontario, the only avocados I find in the supermarket come from neither Florida nor California, but from Mexico. Saturated fat is 2% by weight.

The Loblaw’s Blue Menu no-fat yogurt we use has only 10 mg of dietary cholesterol per 175-g  serving, and is a good source of potassium, calcium, riboflavin, phosphorous, and vitamins B12 and D. Canola oil, at 7%, has less saturated fat than any other dietary fat, half as much as olive oil. It has 61% MUFA content, 11% Omega 3 fatty acids, and 21% Omega 6 (which we normally get lots of from a wide range of foods).

TAGS. Salad Dressing. Green tea. Avacados. Canola oil. Yogurt. Omega 3 fatty acids. 


  1. That's a lot of dressing for a person who cooks for one. But I like the idea of cooking in bulk and having it handy when I need it. Have you tried freezing it?

    1. avacado does not freeze well.

    2. T he lemon juice will keep it fresh in the fridge for well over a week. Also save your pits and put them in the dressing to prolong its life. And the top might start oxidizing but you cane scrape it off.

  2. It is so much easier to cut the avacado lendthwise then scoop the pulp out by rubbing a large spoon along the edge to pop it out.

    1. True that. You can also score the avacado in the pit then scoup for a certain size if its not going to be dressing. Might want to put a towel between your hand and the avacado for this to not slice through to your hand. Quick and clean.

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