Sometimes I think that snack foods and appetizers are the best of all the food courses, and among all the many options in this food category, guacamole consistently comes out on top. Maybe it’s because it can be eaten with a little less guilt. Avocados are notoriously known as a super healthy food, so the fact that they are the main ingredient in guacamole makes one feel less guilt as they dip chip after chip into it. Of course, the chips stray away from the goal of a healthy snack, but guacamole still remains a healthier option in comparison to a lot of appetizer choices.
Even though the salty nature of chips detracts a bit from the healthy theme that avocados bring to the table, I do try to keep my guacamole as heart-healthy as possible by limiting the sodium content. My recipe only contains ¼ tsp of salt, and I lean on other spices to bring in the flavors. I also recommend adding in the salt last. That way a taste test can be done before putting adding it. It’s very possible that you could be satisfied with the bold flavors brought in by the other ingredients without adding in the salt.
Two other steps that I take to separate my guacamole out from the rest are in the consistency of the dip and the amount of cilantro used. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of chunky guacamole. Some people put large pieces of tomato or a lot of onion into the dish. I choose to use dried onion flakes instead of fresh onion, and I opt to use canned fire roasted tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes. While I usually prefer to use pure ingredients that are fresh from the market, using the fire roasted tomatoes helps to smooth out the consistency of the guacamole, and they bring in extra flavor.
The other distinguishing factor in my guacamole is the small amount of cilantro used. Cilantro is considered a “key” ingredient in this dish, but it is also one of those ingredients that some people absolutely loath. It is either loved or hated, there is no in-between for this flavor profile. For this reason, I limit my cilantro usage to only 1 tsp, and choose to rely on spicier flavors to overwhelm the small taste brought in by the cilantro.
2 tbsp Lime Juice
3 tbsp Chopped Jalapeno Pepper
1/2 tsp Dried Onion Flakes
1 tsp Minced Garlic
½ cup Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes (strained)
¾ tsp Cumin
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cilantro
¼ tsp Salt
1. I like to start making my guacamole by prepping all of my fresh ingredients first. This means chopping up jalapeno. To get the smoothest consistency, I try to chop this up as small as possible. Some people like chunks in their guacamole, but if you are like me, and prefer a smooth and creamy chip dip, these small pieces will help to keep the smooth texture in the end. It is also important to chop the jalapeno up small because it is a very spicy pepper. If the pieces are too big it can lead to an offensive bite when someone gets a chip with a large chunk of pepper on it.
2. After the jalapeno has been chopped up it is time to tackle the avocados.
Kitchen Tip – Cutting Avocados: Avocados can be deconstructed and mashed down very easily if a certain process is followed when cutting them up. First, cut the avocado lengthwise until the knife meets the pit in the center. Once the knife has met the pit you can simply turn the avocado in a complete 360 degrees to finish cutting it in half. Remove the knife, and you should be able to twist the avocado in half to break it apart.
After the avocado has been split in half, the pit needs to be removed. This can be done by slapping the knife down directly into it as seen in the picture below. When the knife is embedded in the pit you can twist it clockwise and lift up. The pit should come up attached to the knife. You can remove the pit from the knife by hitting the pit against the side of the sink. As long as you haven’t gone overboard when slapping your knife down into the pit, it should remove itself easily from the tool.
When the pits have been removed you are going to take the knife and cut all the way down into the skin in a grid-like fashion as seen in the picture below. After the deep grid cuts have been made, a spoon can be used to scoop out the chunks of avocado into a bowl. By chopping the avocados up in this grid it makes the pieces of avocado small already, and then they are easier to mash up.
3. Once the avocados have been deconstructed you get to mash them. Before mashing them, add in your lime juice though. By adding in the juice it makes the avocado pieces softer to mash up. I like to completely mash up the avocado, leaving very little chunks in it, but if you prefer your guacamole to be less smooth and more textured, feel free to stop mashing sooner.
4. After the avocado and lime juice are mashed and combined, add in the jalapeno, dried onion flakes, and garlic. Stir until they are combined. Next, use a slotted spoon to scoop out ½ cup of fire roasted tomatoes. It is very important to use a slotted spoon for this job otherwise too much juice will be in the guacamole, and then it will get liquidy. A smooth texture is good, but guacamole should never be liquidy.
5. Once all of the vegetables have been combined, the last step is to add in the seasonings. As I mentioned before, I like to add in all of the other ingredients before adding in the salt. Sometimes if a jalapeno pepper is an especially strong one, or if the avocados are on the smaller side, the other flavors are sufficient without adding in the salt. However, if you are not satisfied after a quick taste test, add in the salt. Then your guacamole is complete!
Guacamole is best when given at least half an hour to set, and it is usually served on the cooler side. I highly recommend resisting the temptation to snack right away. The flavors will taste even better if you give your guacamole some time in the fridge before eating it.
Kitchen Tip – Storing Avocado Dishes: It’s possible that you’ve noticed in the past that when you store avocados, or dishes that have avocados as a main ingredient, it turns brown after a while. This brown tinting cannot be completely avoided, but can be lessened by taking care when storing it. Avocados do this when they meet oxygen, so the simplest solution is to avoid as much oxygen as possible. I do this by taking plastic wrap and pressing it directly into the guacamole instead of spreading it over the top of the bowl. The guacamole will still turn a little bit, but this process does help to give some relief. A quick stir covers up any tinting that may have occurred during storage.