Avocado, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad with my Zesty Dressing

A few weeks ago, I posted about how much I love avocados, so much so that an avocado tree was my tree of choice when I was a kid. Well today you’re in for a treat, this recipe was made with avocados from that very tree.

This salad is one of my favorite summer dishes because it’s fresh and light. The ingredients are all in season, which makes them super flavorful. The avocados taste smooth, buttery, and rich with a subtle nuttiness; the tomatoes pop with a slight sweetness and acidity; the cucumbers add lightness and a crunch to the salad; and my zesty dressing adds the citrusy zing that brings this simple salad to the next level. Whenever I make this dish, I can’t help but go back for a giant scoop of seconds.

I love how fresh and delicious this is. And I love that it’s not your typical salad.

What you’ll need (makes 4 servings):

For the salad:

  • 2 large avocados
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes (or 4 plum tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber

For the dressing:

What you’ll need to do:

For any salad, as I’ve mentioned, I always start by making the salad dressing because it gives the flavors some time to marry. In whatever container is good for salad dressing, start by combining your zesty Italian salad dressing mix, lemon juice, and sherry. Shake or stir, and then set it aside until you’re done preparing your avocados, tomatoes, and cucumber.

As I wrote in my guacamole recipe, start with ripe avocados. You’ll know they’re the perfect ripeness if they’re about the same density as if you press on the pad of your hand. Use your knife to cut your avocado all the way around length-wise, dragging your knife tip around the pit and being careful not to puncture it. Twist your avocado like an Oreo to release it. Then, use your knife to chop into the pit to get a grip on it, then twist your knife to release the pit. Slice your avocado vertically while it’s still in the skin, but be careful to not puncture the skin, then slice horizontally to make perfect chunks. Use a spoon to scoop the chunks out of the skin into a medium bowl.

**Tip: I found this awesome diagram of how to cut an avocado, which I posted on my Facebook page here. Like my Facebook page while you’re there!

See those beauties? Those were grown on the tree I planted years ago at my parent’s house. Delicious. My pride and joy.

Chop your tomatoes into the same-sized chunks as your avocado. Then peel your cucumber and slice into similarly-sized chunks. Add the tomato and cucumber to the bowl with your avocado.

Go back to your salad dressing and add the oil, then shake or stir to combine. Toss your avocado, tomato, and cucumber with about 1/2 cup of your dressing (you’ll have leftover dressing, perfect for any regular salad). The lemon juice in the dressing will help the avocados stay green and not brown. Most importantly, it adds an extra zing to your delicious dish.

Enjoy!

Yum.

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Los Gol Inspired Guacamole

When I was about 12 years old, my brothers and I each got to pick a tree to plant in our backyard. Daniel, chose a peach tree, Kevin chose a apricot tree, and I chose an avocado tree. Sure, my mom told me that avocados probably wouldn’t grow on the tree until I left for college (it turned out to be grad school, by the way), but I was determined. I love, love, love avocados. I could eat them like apples. So it’s no surprise that guacamole is my all-time favorite snack food.

My favorite guacamole of all time comes from this little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in my hometown called Los Golondrinas (affectionately known by locals as “Los Gol”). After moving away from Southern California, I was left to my own devices to recreate this tasty guacamole (kind of like what I did for my SoCal Steak Tacos).

The trick is to get a nice, thick tortilla chip. Those flimsy, mass-produced chips just don’t cut it. Get the real deal from the Mexican section of your market.

What you’ll need:

4 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon salt

What you’ll need to do:

Start with ripe avocados. You’ll know they’re the perfect ripeness if they’re about the same density as if you press on the pad of your hand. Use your knife to cut your avocado all the way around length-wise, dragging your knife tip around the pit and being careful not to puncture it. Twist your avocado like an Oreo to release it. Then, use your knife to chop into the pit to get a grip on it, then twist your knife to release the pit (see picture). Don’t worry too much about it being perfect, your avocado will be mashed anyway!

You have to use a little force when bringing your knife down on the pit so that you can get a grip on it. Once the pit lifts out of the avocado, it’s easy enough to get off your knife and into the trash can.

Use a spoon to scoop out your avocado into a medium bowl. Mash your avocado with a fork, making sure to leave some bigger chunks of avocado still in there. Immediately mix in your lemon juice with the avocado to avoid it turning brown (lime juice would be better, but I always have lemon juice in my kitchen staples).

I could eat a giant spoonful of the avocado and lemon just like this!

Chop your onion and cilantro, then add to the bowl with the salt and garlic.

Some people like to put tomato in their guacamole, and honestly, Los Gol’s guac has it in theirs. However, I find tomatoes tedious to work with when adding your guacamole because it can make it too watery if you don’t do it right. And in keeping with the honesty, I don’t think it adds enough flavor to make the hassle worth it. But if you do want tomatoes, make sure to remove all seeds first and then slice thinly and add to your guacamole.

Make sure your guacamole is well combined, but still leave some big chunks of avocado if you can. I generally taste test along the way to make sure I don’t need to add more salt or lemon juice. If you’re a guac-lover like me, you’ll know if and how much of which you’ll need to add.

I added some of my guacamole to simple chicken tacos for a tasty, easy dinner. Just cook your basic chicken, and add some sliced tomato, lettuce, and guac to a warmed tortilla. Yum.

Guacamole can be healthy, too! Scoop a little on a chicken sandwich, add some to fish tacos, or even eat with veggies (avocados have healthy fats when eaten in reasonable portions). However, there’s nothing better than sitting down with a big bowl of guacamole, tortilla chips, and a beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And since it’s avocado season, I am frequently whipping up this treat.