Few snacks or appetizers make people happier than a bowl of guacamole. It’s the very definition of a crowd-pleaser, and it turns any gathering into a party!
You can stick to guacamole basics, or you can have some fun with it and play around with various add-ins. It’s still a fan favorite, but now a conversation starter as well.
Start With Ripe Avocados
A good guacamole can only come from nicely ripened avocados. Ripen them by leaving them on your counter.
If you need to speed things up, place unripe avocados in a paper bag with an apple or a banana and close the bag. The natural gases emitted by the fruits will make the avocados ripen more quickly.
If you have ripe avocados you are not ready to use, those can be stored in the fridge for a few days, but don’t store unripened avocados in the fridge as that might cause them to get brown or fibrous spots when they do ripen.
Now Make Some Guac!
Then you're ready to start playing with the add-ins!
1. Add Fruit to Your Guacamole
Avocados are a fruit so have some fun with the fruit concept by trying this unexpected but delicious Strawberry Guacamole filled with little sweet and tart flavor bursts from the berries.
The sweetness of fruit buddies up with the richness of the avocado. If the idea of adding berries to guacamole sounds strange, think of it like adding fruit to a salad. In both cases you’re adding interest, color, and pops of flavor.
Don’t stop with berries! Feel free to mix it up, and use chopped plums, peaches, or nectarines for another fruity take. Mangos, oranges of all types, pomegranate seeds, and pineapple also make fun guacamole flavors. Use about 1/2 cup fruit per avocado.
2. Peas Please!
The idea of adding peas to guac has caused a bit of a stir in the guacamole community, but it’s worth a try because they add sweetness and a nice chunky texture to the dip. And not only do they keep to the green color theme, but they can even brighten the hue. Peas also add additional nutrition to the guac, without adding fat.
Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas per avocado. To prep the peas, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and have a small bowl of ice water nearby. To blanch the peas, add them to the boiling water for just a minute or two. (Fresh will take two minutes, frozen just one). They should be just bright green and tender. Drain them and plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking and lock in their color. Mash or puree them with the avocados to your desired texture.
For another twist, try this recipe with edamame instead of peas! You’ll need to cook the edamame for probably about 5 minutes, to get them tender.
3. Bacon Makes Everything Better
Yes, adding bacon to just about anything makes it better, but just because that’s a known trick of the trade doesn’t make it less delicious.
Cook your bacon so it’s fairly crisp. Fold some of it into the guacamole itself just before serving, and save some for sprinkling on top. That way you’ll have maximum crispness to balance against the creaminess of the avocados.
Use about two strips of cooked bacon per avocado. Thick-cut bacon adds a chewy-crisp texture. You can cook your bacon in a skillet the traditional way or try baking your bacon for a hands-free way to get nice crispy bacon from the oven. Crumble it or use a knife to cut it into thin strips.
Try this version with both bacon and blue cheese!
4. Add Seafood!
Poached or grilled shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, are terrific folded into guacamole to make an already beloved appetizer into something special.
Leave the guacamole fairly chunky, as the velvety pieces of avocado are a nice matchup against the firm-but-tender pieces of seafood. For every 2 cups of guacamole use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup diced shrimp.
Not a fan of shrimp? Try crab!
5. Pesto Is a Perfect Match
A dollop of pesto swirled into guacamole gives it a fresh, bright flavor. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of pesto per avocado, and taste as you go. Some herbs and pestos are more pungent than others, so start with a smaller amount and increase the amount until you reach your perfect flavor profile.
A few pestos worth trying:
- Fresh Basil Pesto is a classic! Start with a smaller amount, as basil is a pretty powerful herb.
- Arugula Pesto adds a spicy kick.
- Kale Pesto adds a slightly bitter note but it’s balanced by the other ingredients in the dish!
- Cilantro Pesto for those who think guacamole isn’t guacamole without cilantro - this pesto is your dream come true!
6. Corn Is Cool
Little niblets of corn, especially grilled corn, is a lovely way to add color, sweetness, and texture to guacamole. You can use corn you’ve cooked any which way, but corn prepared in its husk on the grill will also add a nice smokiness. If you have leftover corn salsa, try adding that instead!
Use about 1/2 cup of corn per avocado.
Do you have any favorite mix-ins? Tell us all about it!