This colorful and flavorful salad recipe comes from Ina Garden – is there anything she creates that isn’t wonderful? Honestly, I have yet to try a recipe from her that I didn’t love. And, nothing she makes seems to be overly complicated either, something else I appreciate.
Guacamole salad is great any time of the year, especially since the ingredients for it – avocados, yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, etc. – are all available year round now. While it’s obviously a perfect accompaniment for Mexican dishes, it goes equally as well with lots of other things, like grilled meats or sandwiches. The salad can be put together quickly, does not need to be chilled before serving, and is filled with healthy ingredients.
The secret to this salad is using perfectly ripe avocados, which can sometimes be a challenge. A ripe avocado will yield gently to pressure without feeling mushy. It will also be darker than an unripe avocado, but since color can be misleading, it’s best to use both to make sure your avocado is perfect. If it passes both tests, use it that day – it can become overripe very quickly!
Guacamole salad could easily become a main dish salad with the addition of chicken (shredded or cubed) or shrimp before the avocado is added. The lime juice will keep the avocados from turning brown, but only for a day or so if there are leftovers. I’ve substituted green onion for the red and that worked well, but the red onion is a little spicier and adds another lovely bit of color to the salad. The jalapeño pepper in the salad and the cayenne in the dressing can be optional depending on how spicy or not you’d like your salad.
- 1 1/2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1/2″ squares
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
- 2 TBSP finely minced jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 2 ripe Hass avocados
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together the halved tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, jalapeño (if using), and the cilantro.
In a separate small bowl, blend together the dressing ingredients.
Add the dressing to the tomato mixture and stir to coat. Peel and cut the avocados into 1-inch cubes, and gently toss into the salad. Serve immediately at room temperature.