I am a huge fan of guacamole. If you have been to my house, chances are, I’ve probably made you some. I make it often. Year-round in fact, not just on Cinco de Mayo. I will search high and low in winter months to find a delicious, perfectly ripe avocado. Thankfully, living in California, I can almost always find some. Avocados are actually a fruit from the Persea Americana Tree, once referred to as “alligator pear“, due to its bumpy skins. Avocados began being cultivated in South Central Mexico beginning in the early 1900’s. Hass avocado, the most well-known American varietal, was named from Rudolph Hass, a postal worker who first purchased the seedling in 1926 from a California farmer. While avocados growing season in California is typically February through September, we import from Mexico and Peru who are (thankfully for us) able to grow them year-round. I justify eating guacamole because avocados are considered a “good fat“, somehow, this makes me feel better about enjoying it as much as I do. There is rarely a version of it I don’t like, but I like it made fresh and on the salty side.
In 2018 it was estimated the US is consuming a whopping 2.4 billion pounds of avocados a year. Avocados quickly become incredibly popular among the health conscious, often referred to as a “superfood,” which is not surprising due to their high nutrient value. Containing 20 different vitamins and minerals, potassium being one of the highest, even more than bananas. Avocados are considered one of the fattiest plant foods on the planet. The majority of fat found in avocados is from a monounsaturated fat or “heart healthy” fatty acid, a major component in olive oil as well. Avocados are also loaded with fiber which helps with weight loss (as you feel fuller longer when you eat them) and helps reduce blood sugar spikes.
All that said, like many things, it’s just about moderation. Avocados, are delicious, even in their natural form they compliment almost anything, but guacamole is even better in warmer months when served with a great tequila-based cocktail.
Bobby Flay (a chef I love) has one of my favorite traditional recipes for guacamole. He uses lots of fresh lime juice, which goes great with a margarita, and does not include tomatoes. If you have been to any of Flay’s restaurants, you will see he loves this dip and puts it on just about anything. He uses variations of guacamole in many of his dishes, furthering my belief that it can complement almost anything.
I have adapted my recipe many times over the years and no longer make it with lime juice, as that is what my family tends to prefer. I add both jalapeño and cayenne pepper allowing for a delicate balance of both heat and spice. When I first started giving my kids guacamole, I omitted all heat sources, but over the years, I have slowly added it back in to a level they can tolerate. I love cilantro and typically put it in my guacamole, but not everyone loves the stuff, so I listed it as optional in my recipe. I’m posting this in celebration of Cinco de Mayo today, it’s a simple recipe that’s almost foolproof if you have the perfect avocados on hand.
- 3 ripe Hass avocados, halved
- 1/4 cup red or yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Step 1 Remove the pit from the avocado halves. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the avocados and place in a small mixing bowl. Using a fork, gently mash the avocados.
- Step 2 Add the tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, and cilantro (if using). Mix well.
- Step 3 Add the salt and cayenne pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste as needed and serve.