Perfectly bright, with just a little bite! Avocado Salad will satisfy your guac cravings without the need for table-side service. Fresh, traditional flavors from ripe avocado, seasonal tomatoes, zesty red onion, herbacious cilantro, and fiery jalapeno are buoyed by tart lime juice and smoky cumin in this “deconstructed” Guacamole Salad. Trade the tortilla chips in for a fork and dig into your new go-to vegan, keto, and Whole30 salad.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve uttered the phrase “Don’t you just want to eat this with a spoon?!” Usually those foods suspended somewhere between a liquid and a solid that one traditionally should not eat with a spoon. Brownie batter. Any kind of drizzly caramel sauce. Homemade jam. And it’s not just reserved for sweets. I could eat my Sunday Sauce with a ladle. Pretty much any cheese sauce. And guacamole.
And apparently because it’s not good manners to just walk into a restaurant and just ask for a bowl of guacamole and a spoon (though I’m sure some brave hero somewhere has), we have to create edible “vehicles” for these soft delicacies in the name of propriety. As much as I love a food stuffed or wrapped in another food, sometimes you just want a spoonful of peanut butter and not a whole sandwich.
Which brings me to this Avocado Salad. Because one recent Taco Tuesday, one of the young ones lamented we never have guacamole and I countered with a devastating mom blow: “We have deconstructed guacamole.” And reader, I realized that’s pretty much what I’ve been putting on my tacos for years – a combination of diced tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and sliced avocado, with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. A chip (or taco) is good. Sometimes a spoon (or fork) is better.
So break out your forks and dig into this Guacamole Salad on its own, as a side, toss in a protein – grilled chicken or shrimp would be beautiful – or heck, serve it over greens and have an Avocado Salad Salad. Just get this into rotation before the season is out!
Avocado Salad Ingredients
- Avocados: picking the just the right avocado for a salad instead of guacamole is both important, and relatively easy. See the notes and tips below!
- Roma Tomato: the roma varietal works well here for its firm texture and lower water content compared with other tomatoes. Core and seed it for the least soupy avocado salad possible.
- Red Onion: whether thinly sliced or finely diced is totally your call, but do include just a little.
- Jalapeno: for a proper guacamole salad, you need a spicy kick! Thinly slice the avocados to bring real heat, or seed and mince for more flavor than spice.
- Cilantro: its fresh, almost citrusy flavor and aroma is a necessity for great guacamole, and so it’s a must in this avocado salad. Use a little more or a little less based on your preference.
- Lime Juice: plenty of it – fresh squeezed is best!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: use the good stuff in salads. We like California Olive Ranch – it’s relatively affordable and widely available.
- Cumin: the whole cumin-vs.-no-cumin in guacamole debate is one I won’t indulge here, but as an essential ingredient to the dressing for an avocado salad? We’re big fans.
- Salt and Pepper: adjust accordingly to taste.
How to make an avocado salad
Peak summer means peak veggie season, and Avocado Salad is all about peak veggies. Focus on touch and smell when picking out the avocado, roma tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro you’ll need for this recipe since your seasonings are going to enhance, not mask. With different textures and flavors, be prepared to give each vegetable separate attention in prep (ie. seeds and pulp should be removed from tomatoes; use extra care cutting your bolder flavors like onion and jalapeno). Gently toss everything together in a light dressing to bring this flavorful Deconstructed Guacamole Salad to life.
- Prep all the vegetables and place them into a large bowl: slice or dice the avocados, thinly slice the red onion, mince or slice the jalapeno, and seed and chop the tomatoes.
- Make the dressing: whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until well combined. It’s okay if some of the avocados are still sticking to each other – it’s more important to not mash them.
- Top with lots of fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
How to pick a ripe avocado
Any recipe calling for sliced or diced avocado needs a firm, just-ripe fruit. Softer avocados are great for, well, mashing into regular old guacamole, but this ain’t it. Remember to look for the right:
- Color: Find a deep green – almost forest, but not quite – and avoid anything skewing towards emerald (not ripe enough) or brown/black (overripe). If you see no flecks of green, it’s too far gone.
- Stem: Flick and pick! If there’s still a little nub of stem, it should pop right off. If not, the avocado still needs to ripen. Just make sure when it comes off the navel is still green. “If it’s brown, put it down.”
- Feel: You want your avocado firm and flexible, not easily mashable. Place your whole palm around the fruit and give it a tender squeeze. If you feel the skin give in ever so slightly to your hand, you’ve hit the sweet spot.
The key to this salad will be making sure the avocado isn’t soft enough to become incorporated into the dressing.
Is this salad keto?
Yes. Avocados are a great keto staple because they’re high in healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber. Plum tomatoes and red onion will add some carbs to this dish, but those are also mitigated by fiber. If you’re following the recipe, and monitoring your serving size, you definitely won’t be pushing your daily intake.
While we’re at it, Avocado Salad is also naturally vegan, Whole30, and entirely grain free. A winning dietary accommodations combination!
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Adjust the spice or heat by how you slice the jalapeños: thinly sliced for a spicier salad, seeded and minced to keep the flavor but reduce the heat.
- Use firm, but not overly soft avocados – save those for actual guacamole!
- Always core and seed tomatoes for an avocado salad – it will prevent the salad from getting soggy.
More recipes using avocados
- Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
- Bruschetta Stuffed Avocados
- Avocado Strawberry Chicken Salad
- Avocado Salsa over Grilled Chicken
- Strawberry Avocado Salsa
Did you make this avocado salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- Paring Knife
- Combine the avocado, red onion, tomatoes, and jalapeno in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper in a glass measuring cup until emulsified.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, then gently toss.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
- Whole, thinly sliced jalapeños will bring more heat; double it if you want more. Seeded and minced jalapeños will still be flavorful, with a much milder kick.
- Storage: this salad is best enjoyed immediately. The lime juice will prevent the avocados from browning immediately, but it's not an ideal recipe for meal prep. It will stay fresh in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for a day at best.