Home Cooking: Ina Garten’s Guacamole Salad

I love, love, love this salad from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten! It’s easy to put together, it’s colorful, it’s made from easy-to-find ingredients, and it tastes fantastic. Although not authentically Mexican in any way, it’s a perfect accompaniment to Mexican dishes but also to lots of other dishes, from hamburgers to grilled chicken to . . . chicken-less nuggets, which is what we had this with the other night. It also can work on its own as a main dish.

I’ve made only one change to the original recipe: I had about a quarter cup of roughly chopped cilantro. We love cilantro in our household, and I think it adds that little something special to the salad. However, if you don’t like cilantro, it’s very good without it. I often leave out the jalapeños (because I forget to buy them), but I do like the spice they bring to the salad. The amount of jalapeno added can be adjusted according to preference. The cayenne pepper can also be option, in my opinion.

The salad should be prepared right before dining, and served at room temperature. The dressing can be made ahead though to save time.


  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
  • 2 TBSP minced jalapeno peppers (about two peppers)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 medium, ripe avocados


  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Blend the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

In a large salad bowl gently toss together the tomatoes, diced bell pepper, beans, diced onion, and jalapeños (if using). Mix together with the salad dressing and cilantro, if using.

Just before serving, peel and cut the avocados into 1/2″ pieces. Gently toss into the salad and serve immediately.


4 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Ina Garten’s Guacamole Salad

  1. My niece makes this, with the pieces cut very small, and uses it for a sort of dip or condiment- like pico de gallo. Great flavor. Definitely cilantro! Kind of a funny thing- you know how some people complain about a bad, soapy taste from cilantro? I was at a party and helped the hostess make pico de gallo. One batch with cilantro, and 1 batch with finely chopped parsley for those who don’t like cilantro. Several people thought the parsley was cilantro and commented that they could taste the soapy taste. Some thought the cilantro was the parsley one and were glad that they had this option so they didn’t have to endure the soapy taste WHILE THEY WERE EATING the thing they supposedly didn’t like!


    1. Cilantro really is one of those things that people either like or they don’t like; there’s no half way. The first time I tried it (at age 28) I was smitten. The soapy taste is real for some – they have a special gene or something that causes it. It was the only food Julia Child said she couldn’t eat. But the experience you relate shows, to me anyway, that some people just think they don’t like it, or have never actually tried it.


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