Avocados are on the short list of foods I can’t live without. We love them every way. Blended into smoothies, chopped into a salad, topped with a poached egg, in guacamole, of course, I’ve even blended avocados into brownies. Ok – truth – those didn’t go over well. I’m still working on that one. In this week’s Heinen’s 4PM Panic recipe we elevate the every day pasta sauce to a chorus of “Wow, this is good Mom, what did you do to this, can I have more!?!”


This dish is perfect for those times when you need to make dinner in pinch because it has so few ingredients and they are items I usually have on hand.  The hero in this dish is, you guessed it, the Avocado.


I don’t know about you but I hate when I buy one and get it home only to find out its spotted and brown inside.  I know I’m always singing the praises of Heinen’s produce department, but it’s summer and this is the best time to enjoy the abundance.  When I buy avocados at Heinen’s I can pretty much count on slicing into my avocado and finding a perfect ripe and ready fruit.

This smooth creamy sauce is packed with flavor. The hint of lemon, scallions and fresh parsley brighten the flavor making it fresh and zingy. Is that a word?  It is now!


Here in Barrington we live a long way from the land of fresh picked avocados. When I buy avocados it’s very frustrating to pay the high price only to get it home to find it bruised and black inside.

If you are wondering how to pick a perfect avocado, this tip comes from Erica, a Seattle-based food and gardening blogger will help. Her website, Northwest Edible Life, is a popular food and urban homesteading hub and worth checking out for helpful information on growing, cooking, and preserving food.

To make sure you’re taking home an avocado that’s perfectly green and creamy on the inside, and free from ugly brown spots, the key is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peak for what’s going on under the skin.

Peel back the small stem or cap at the top of the avocado. If it comes away easily and you find green underneath, you’ve got a good avocado that’s ripe and ready to eat. That’s the kind of fruit you want to take home with you.

On the other hand, if you pull back the stem and find brown underneath, the avocado is overripe, and you’re likely to find brown spots inside the fruit. And, if the stem doesn’t come off, the fruit is not yet ripe enough to eat.

Read Erica’s post: Never Buy a Rotten Avocado Again at Northwest Edible Life.


Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Start to Finish: 30 minutes


  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 avocados–halved,pitted and peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 bunch scallions,
  • roughly chopped Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped parsley, for garnish


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In the bowl of a food processor or vita mix, pulse the avocados, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and olive oil until smooth.
  • When the pasta is tender, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the reserved water to the avocado mixture and process until smooth.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, portion the pasta onto plates and garnish with parsley.



By the way, have you heard about Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ program?  Sign up for free to receive exclusive weekly specials via email and earn Heinen’s rewards.  As a Tasteful Rewards™ membership benefit, Heinen’s will donate up to 1% of your qualified purchases made between September and April to a local school of your choice through their Teaming Up for Education Program. CLICK HERE to sign up for Heinen’s Tasteful Rewards™ and, trust me, this is one email that will always please your palate!

Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography.  She regularly shops at Heinen’s for the family dishes she features via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at  TableAndDish.com.

Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meathead’s) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.

Heinen's Grocery Store in Barrington, Illinois

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