Guacamole is, at its basest and purest form, simply an avocado sauce. Nothing more than a deliciously ripe avocado and a few seasonings are needed to perfect the beloved side dish. Here’s how to make guacamole, plus 5 easy variations to spice things up—both sweet and savory style—in your from-scratch recipes this season.
Guacamole got its start in history with the Aztecs, who called this now-worldwide treat huacatl molli, translating to “avocado sauce.” At the basest level, guacamole is just that, a mash-up of avocados used as a dip tasting treat (read: chips, veggies) or for plopping atop other tasty treats (read: tacos, nachos, sandwiches, steak chimichurri).
Most would agree that guacamole requires at least avocados and a healthy pinch of sea salt. From there, the rest is up to regional variation and personal preference. The typical ingredients added to traditional guacamole include any or all of the following:
- Chopped onions (red are best)
- Chopped tomatoes
- Minced chili peppers and/or ground cumin and cayenne
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice
To make guacamole, choose which of the ingredients above you want in your recipe. Prep each ingredient individually (chop a few tomatoes, mince a handful of cilantro, and so on) and place each in small bowls or ramekins to be ready for mixing and mashing. This is going to be all done to your taste, so don’t worry about specific measurements.
Place a few peeled, pitted, chopped avocados in a large bowl (traditionally this is done with a mortar and pestle). Mash gently with a fork or potato masher until smooth-but-chunky. Fold in remaining ingredients of choice and mash gently until just mixed. You can make a totally smooth guacamole by mashing away, or leave it chunky so that you still get the texture of the crunchy onions and tomatoes. It’s all preference.
Finally, season well enough to taste with salt that the dish says to you, “Ahh. Perfect.” It’s usually just a matter of that final pinch of salt before you get there and know that it’s done.
Once you’ve mastered basic guacamole, you’re ready to get creative with some unusual add-in ingredients. Here are 5 variations on guacamole to try when you’re feeling adventurous:
- Strawberry-basil guacamole: Chopped avocado, chopped strawberries, minced fresh basil, sea salt, splash balsamic vinegar
- Coconut-curry guacamole: Chopped avocado, minced fresh cilantro, curry powder, ground coriander, sea salt, minced chili peppers, lime zest, squeeze lime juice, splash coconut milk
- Sauerkraut-caraway guacamole: Chopped avocado, chopped fresh parsley, chopped prepared sauerkraut, pinch caraway seeds, dash smoky or spicy paprika, sea salt
- Feta- black olive guacamole: Chopped avocado, chopped black olives (use good ones), chopped fresh parsley and basil, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, squeeze lemon juice
- Wannabe egg-salad guacamole: Chopped avocado, chopped medium-boiled eggs, chopped celery, chopped tomato, finely chopped cucumber, chopped fresh parsley, basil, and/or dill, squeeze lemon juice, sea salt
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