Guacamole is the king of Mexican meals. It sits on its throne of dishes most sought after. I’ve never had too much guacamole, but I’ve been annoyed when it’s run out. And it always runs out. The creamy, veggie-studded dip goes well with most proteins or simply scooped up with chips.
What is Guacamole?
The literal translation of guacamole is “avocado sauce”, which, essentially, is all that it is. Guac, in its purest form, is just mashed avocado, stirred together with salt and lime juice, so, it is a fitting name. I make my recipe with a bit more oomph, in true Marta fashion. Many versions of this dish include diced veggies and herbs. The most common ingredients used to add flavor are chopped cilantro and red onions.
Guacamole is commonly served as a dip alongside warm tortilla chips. Restaurants are charging upwards of $10 for a small bowl of the stuff! Because it’s such a versatile condiment, many people are finding new uses for it. The avocado in my Avocado-Chicken Salad Sandwiches can be swapped out for this guac, instead. Your imagination is the only barrier on how to eat/use this. When in doubt, however, just scoop it with a chip!
Allow me to teach you my ways.
What You’ll Need to Make this Chunky Guacamole
Use only fresh ingredients in this recipe. Tomatoes that are slightly under ripe are best here; they won’t release too much juice. Avocados that are perfectly ripe are also key. I’ll give you tips on how to find them later on. Lime juice- freshly squeezed, por favor- is what prevents the avocados from browning. The juice also provides a tangy flavor to the otherwise mellow dip. Cilantro, red onion, garlic, and jalapeños finish the ingredients list.
How to Avoid Runny Guacamole
Unless you are shooting for a saucy sauce, runny guac is a sin. Because a runny membrane surrounds the tomato seeds, anything they’re added to is bound to become runny, as well. To avoid the embarrassment of a sloppy dip, you need to remove the seeds from the tomatoes.
Grab a large cutting board and use your chef’s knife to cut the Roma (or vine-ripened) tomato into quarters, lengthwise. Cut the stem away from the top of the tomato wedges and pinch to pull it away from the rest of the fruit. The white, flavorless core and membrane, filled with the liquidy seeds, should come away with that core. Over a trash bowl, use the fleshy part of your thumb to press out any remaining seeds. Because it lacks flavor and does nothing for our guacamole, discard the core as well.
Slice each tomato wedge into 1/4″ thick strips once you have rendered them seedless. Turn the knife 45° and cut across the tomato strips to create a 1/4″ dice. Now you can scrape your diced tomatoes off to the side. Don’t place them into a mixing bowl just yet (this is why that large cutting board comes in handy).
The Right Cut of Veggies
Since we want this dip to be scoopable, we need to remember to cut our veggies to facilitate that. The bigger the cut on your veggies, the more chip breakage we will experience when scooping it. Chip breakage is whack.
After cutting your red (or purple) onion in half, peel it. Slice the onion into 1/4″ thick strips, perpendicular to the root, without cutting through the root. The root holds the onion together so that’s why we need it to stay intact. Turn your knife and cut the onion across the strips into 1/4″ dice. Scrape the diced onion off to the side next to the tomatoes.
Peel and finely mince your garlic cloves before scraping these to the side, as well.
How to Control the Spice of Your Guacamole
Spice is relative. If you absolutely hate spicy guacamole, leave the jalapeños out altogether. For a milder spice level, add a small amount of minced pepper. Want to feel the burn? Add the entire pepper and its seeds. You do you.
If you choose to use the pepper, begin by lopping off the stem end. Cut the jalapeño in half down its length, then again into quarters. Use the tip of your knife to cut away the white membrane and seeds. Scrape any lingering seeds with the back of your knife. Some of the seeds can be reserved to increase the spice level of your guacamole. Discard any seeds you don’t plan to use, as well as the white membrane.
Thinly slice your jalapeño quarters into strips. Cut across those strips to create a fine mince of peppers. You know the drill, scrape to the side!
My Tips for Selecting the Perfect Avocados
Since avocados are the backbone of this recipe, I want to show you my foolproof strategy for picking the perfect one. Rather than playing Russian roulette with your avocados, use this series of checks:
First, look for avocados that still have their stem intact. Avocados that are missing their stem are older, and therefore more likely to be overly ripe. On the other hand, if you see an avocado that’s missing the nub of a stem and the space underneath looks bright green (see the fruit on the left), but meets the following criteria, you can scoop it up. No pun intended.
Second, gently press the avocado with your thumb. Is it really soft and pliable, like a marshmallow? It’s too ripe. Leave it. Does it not yield at all and feel rock hard? Leave it. It’ll take too long to ripen. The avocado, when gently pressed, should yield only slightly. It should feel like you’re pressing a yellow banana or an orange. If you find one with the nub and the proper firmness, grab it.
Above, you see two ends of the acceptable spectrum. Both avocados pass the “feel test”. However, the one on the right, after removing its stem had a darker green appearance. I knew, even before cutting that it was on the verge of being too ripe to use.
And I was right. I’m telling you, these tips work like a charm. Once you’ve found your avocados, slice them in half lengthwise.
Be Careful to Avoid “Avocado Hand”
There’s a phenomenon among ER docs known as “avocado hand”. I heard about it through my buddies, but, essentially, it’s an injury that is the result of people holding avocados in their hands while cutting them. If you’re not proficient with knives, cut your avocados on the board and not whilst holding them.
After you’ve cut your avocado in half, whack the heel of your knife into the pit to grip it. Rotate the avocado to loosen the pit, then pull back your knife to remove it. The pit should stay attached to the knife and pop right out. If it doesn’t, you can jimmy a spoon underneath it to pry it out.
Use a large spoon (or a fork) to scoop the flesh from the avocado peel. Reserve one whole avocado for cutting into chunks and adding it later, but for now, use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash the rest of the avocado.
Cut the avocado into small cubes, carefully, while it’s still in the peel. You’ll notice that the meaty part of my hand is out of the way of my knife’s blade. You’ll also notice how weird my thumb goes when I’m holding stuff. No avocado hand here, knock wood. After you’ve diced the reserved avocado, scoop it into the bowl with the mashed avocado.
Due to the way God made them, the avocados are going to start oxidizing the minute you cut it in half. Therefore, we need to add something that’s going to delay that process. Before we do so, however, we may as well mix in the rest of the ingredients, so they can also receive the same amount of flavor and our guacamole can start developing its amazing taste.
Add the diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, minced jalapeño, and a handful of chopped cilantro to the mashed avocado. Season with a generous pinch of salt and give everything a good stir.
Another level of flavor comes from the lime juice we’ve extracted with our citrus juicer. Pour that into the bowl and give the guac another stir.
Serve the Guacamole in Style
Because lime juice would’ve reacted with my metal bowl, I decided to transfer my prepared guacamole to a molcajete (mole-CAH-heh-tay). Molcajetes are a mortar and pestle that Aztecs and Mayans used to use to prepare sauces and pastes prior to the advent of food processors and whatnot. So, why not serve yours in one?
A regular bowl is also fine to serve from, as well.
How to Store Your Guacamole
When storing the guacamole, be sure to prevent more oxidation. Press a sheet of plastic wrap right up against the surface of the guacamole. You can also squirt a layer of lime juice right on top of the guacamole. Air is the enemy, so you want to mitigate any exposure to it. Ultimately, and over time, the guacamole may turn a brownish-grey on the surface. Scrape away that very top layer and I promise you’ll find bright green dip underneath. Just discard the discolored portion and scoop away.
Serve it as you please. This guacamole is best enjoyed within 24 hours of making it, if it sticks around that long, that is.
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Chunky Guacamole Dip
- 5 medium haas avocados
- 1 medium (1/2 cup) Roma tomato seeds removed, small diced
- 1/2 medium (3/4 cup) red onion small diced
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 medium (about 1-2 tablespoons) jalapeño pepper (optional) minced
- 1/2 bunch (1 cup) cilantro leaves chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 medium (about 1/4 cup) lime juice freshly squeezed
- Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, then remove the pit from each fruit. Reserving one avocado, use a large spoon (or a fork) to scoop the remaining avocados out of their peels and into a large mixing bowl. Mash the avocado in the bowl with a fork or a potato masher.
- Cut the reserved avocado into small cubes while still in the peel. Scoop it into the bowl with the mashed avocado.
- Add the diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro to the mashed avocado. Season with salt and give everything a good stir.
- Pour the lime juice into the bowl and give the guac another stir. Taste the dip and adjust the salt to your preference if necessary.Transfer the guacamole to serving bowl (this is essential if you've mixed in a metal bowl as the lime juice will react with the metal).
- Press a sheet of plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve the guacamole as desired. It is best enjoyed within 24 hours of preparation.
Here are more dips with a Mexican flair