How to make Guacamole

I was surprised when I walked in to my local supermarket to see laid out before me all the ingredients for guacamole: avocados, garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes and onions, all on sale. Further inspection of the weekly sales bulletin revealed not only these ingredients grouped together but also a recipe for guacamole. I later found that Trader Joe’s takes this concept even further by selling ‘guacamole kits’ which consist of two avocados, a tomato, a small onion, a jalapeño, a lime and some garlic, all neatly packaged together in plenty of plastic with a recipe for guacamole. Amused as I was by the idea that it is someone’s job to spend an hour or two putting together guacamole kits, I was also somewhat disturbed that such a product exists.

I have a few problems with these ready-made guacamole solutions (not to be confused with pre-made guacamole, which I believe is mostly mayonnaise), among them the idea of buying fresh tomatoes in March in Minnesota and one’s ability to select ripe avocados when they are inside plastic (I suppose you have to put your faith in Trader Jose). But my real problem with all this is the idea that tomatoes, onions or jalapeños (and even the occasional cilantro) go in guacamole! Save those vegetables for the pico de gallo; when I want guacamole I want avocado, garlic, salt and maybe a little lime to keep things greener longer.

Inevitably someone will try to argue that truly authentic guacamole does in fact contain tomatoes et. al., and that may be. I certainly would be interested in a history of guacamole that explores its development and regional variations. Etymologically speaking the only essential ingredient would seem to be mashed avocados. But right now I am not after a history lesson I am after delicious chip dip. So, authenticity aside, I make guacamole the way my aunt taught me with only garlic, salt and avocado (the lime came later). I have reason to believe this is in fact an ‘authentic’ recipe, but on the basis of its superior flavor alone you owe it to yourself to try making guacamole without all that extra filler.

Start with some garlic. I usually allow at least one big garlic clover per avocado because I love extremely garlicky food, but if you are averse you can certainly adjust the amount. You are the boss of your guacamole (just please, no tomatoes)! With your garlic cloves in the bottom of a bowl with a decently large flat area at its base sprinkle on a healthy (or actually, unhealthy) amount of salt. Use a fork to mash this all together until you have a paste.

Now for the avocados. You selected avocadoes which were firm but slightly yielding in their flesh, with no extremely soft spots. Maybe you were really smart and bought hard avocadoes a few days beforehand and allowed them to ripen at home. But probably not. Take each avocado and slice it in half vertically, moving your knife around the pit. Extract the pit in the way you feel most comfortable: I have been known to chop with a large knife at the pit as the avocado half is held in my outstretched hand, but if you don’t have the stomach for this you can always dig at it with a spoon or your fingers. Once the pit is removed, there is simply the matter of extracting all the flesh with a large spoon into the waiting bowl of garlic paste (to make future mashing easier you can score the flesh of the avocado into more manageable chunks). Repeat as necessary with all remaining avocado halves.

Now take your fork (the one from the garlic paste) and mash the avocado flesh, making sure to stir up from the bottom in order to mix in the garlic-salt paste. And you’re done! You can leave the fork in there for serving purposes. You’ll want it when a tortilla chip just can’t get those last bits out of the bowl without breaking.


Delicious guacamole, and all green! If you want to preserve that beautiful green for a while you will need to add a squirt of lime juice and mix it up well. I will add superfluously that this goes great with tortilla chips as a dip, on any kind of mexican food, and, as the ‘southwestern burger’ at any number of restaurants can testify, on a hamburger.

Follow up: A quick search using Google (why don’t I search before I post?) suggests that the tomato/no-tomato debate is alive and well on the Internet with pro-tomato people having a numerical edge.  This might explain why my supermarket and Trader Joe’s want you to put tomatoes in your guacamole; they’ve got to market to the masses.  I suggest this solution: make this guacamole and also make pico de gallo.  If anybody feels the guacamole is ruined for its lack of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and jalapeños, they can mix them together themselves.  Guaranteed to please all of the people all of the time.


7 Responses to “How to make Guacamole”

  1. MARTHAANDTOM » Make Some Tarator Says:

    […] far as dips go, if it has raw garlic you can count me in. This started with guacamole and continued right on through to hummus and beyond. My most recent discovery is the Turkish dip […]

  2. Samantha Mathews Says:

    I am going to try this recipe for sure!!! Thank you for this wonderful dish I have a cooking recipe site as well and Id like to exchange links with you. Let me know if this is possible. Thanks.

  3. Susan Says:

    I’m with you on the NO TOMATO guacamole. I don’t know why they put them in there. It’s hard to find a recipe without them, so thank you.

  4. Meg Kapla Oursler Says:

    I can’t have tomatoes, so this is perfect for me, Thanks!

  5. Tara Says:

    I’m so glad to find this today, thanks!

  6. Jim Says:

    Great blog entry + Great Recipe. No tomatoes in my guacamole either. Thanks.

  7. Liz Says:

    Thank you God! For whomever wrote this recipe!! There is no tomato in true,authentic guacamole.I can’t tell you how many times i have seen people add mayo(yuck!),tomato(save for tacos or pico de gallo),cilantro(top tacos).The whole idea to making a pure tasting guac is to keep the recipe as close to the actual ingredient itself without bombarding it extra mess.Garlic and lime only enhance the flavor.
    This is exactly the way i makemine,avacado,garlic,lime,s/p.Sometimes,if i feel i want a bit extra hotness,i may add a small tbsp. of crushed red pepper flakes.Relatively simple.Thank you for setting the records straight on the no tomato zone! 🙂

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